ST. PETERSBURG -- Righty Mike Adams was unavailable to the Ranges on Friday and fellow reliever Alexi Ogando continues to be day to day.
Those absences have helped open the door for Tanner Scheppers to come out of the bullpen, including for one-third of an inning against Tampa Bay on Friday, when he retired the only batter he faced.
"Because he throws 97, 98 miles an hour, if he can get his changeup and breaking ball over, it makes him quite effective," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Scheppers' recent outings have given Washington more confidence in the righty, but the skipper maintained that he'll stay with his more trusted relievers in key situations if possible.
"When Ogando and Adams are available, he won't see those situations," Washington said. "When they're not available, that's when he'll see those situations. The improvement is the secondary stuff."
Scheppers did see some more time in clutch situations in June when Ogando, Mark Lowe and Koji Uehara all saw time on the disabled list, but pitching down the stretch is a completely different story.
"You don't know how anybody's gonna react when things get huge," Washington said. "One day he's gonna have to be in that position. He'll get that opportunity as it presents itself."
Washington said that "opportunity" could be next year and added that Scheppers "is our future."
Scheppers has one save and 26 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings with a 4.13 ERA.