Teagarden gets rare nod behind dish

Teagarden gets rare nod behind dish

ARLINGTON -- Catcher Taylor Teagarden will make just his third start of the season on Sunday against the Royals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Teagarden, who is 1-for-8 at the plate, started in the Rangers' 12-8 victory over the Indians on April 9 and in a 10-9 loss to the Orioles on Monday.

Teagarden has been starting behind the plate in roughly one out of four games, and that's the way Rangers manager Ron Washington intends to keep the arrangement, even though Jarrod Saltalamacchia is off to a slow start with the bat.

"Salty has been doing a great job," Washington said. "I've seen great improvement in Salty in his game calling, the way he's blocking balls, how he's handling the pitching, the way he's throwing. His energy is high."

Saltalamacchia is hitting .176 after going 1-for-3 on Saturday night against the Royals. His home run on Friday night off Royals left-hander Horacio Ramirez was his first as a right-handed hitter since being acquired by the Rangers on July 31, 2007.

"Those numbers will pick up," Washington said. "I want him to concentrate on working with the pitchers and getting them through ballgames. That's important to me and the pitching staff, and he's on top of it. We thought there might be some struggles offensively, but that will work itself out."

Teagarden hasn't started off hot either in his limited playing time but apparently has made an impression with his defense, particularly how he receives a pitch and "frames it" for the umpire.

"Every umpire he's caught for has made the comment that the kid gives you a real good look," Washington said. "He's a great receiver, he handles pitchers well and he's been handling the backup role well. He's been doing his running, getting his work in, keeping in shape. I'm very comfortable with him."

Washington said he expects to put Andruw Jones in the lineup somewhere on Sunday as well.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Vicente Padilla (1-1, 10.00 ERA)
Padilla allowed seven runs on 11 hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings on Monday. Right now, left-handed hitters are hurting him, with 12 hits in 27 at-bats (.444). Right-handed hitters are just 3-for-16 (.188) against him. Padilla is now 16-14 with a 4.63 ERA in 41 starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He is 2-1 with a 4.79 ERA in four career starts against the Royals.

KC: RHP Kyle Davies (1-0, 2.13 ERA)
Coming into the season, the Royals needed a solid third starter behind Gil Meche and Zack Greinke, and thus far, Davies has delivered. Davies, who has a 2.13 ERA with 13 strikeouts after two outings, battled through 5 2/3 chilly innings in his last start, giving up three runs on seven hits to the Indians. He earned his first win, struck out five and avoided surrendering a big inning to the Tribe. His best effort of the season came in his first start on April 13, when he went seven scoreless innings and struck out eight White Sox.

Tidbits
Royals outfielder Coco Crisp is 6-for-12 against Padilla in his career. ... Michael Young became the fourth player in Rangers history with 5,000 career at-bats on Saturday. Rafael Palmeiro (5,830), Ivan Rodriguez (5,656) and Juan Gonzalez (5,435) were the first three.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSSW HD

On radio
• KRLD 1080, KFLC 1270 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Rangers (Brandon McCarthy, 1-0, 4.91) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 3-0, 3.00), 6:07 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Rangers (Kris Benson, 1-1, 9.00) at Blue Jays (David Purcey, 0-1, 6.46), 6:07 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.