Vizquel eyes Venezuelan hits mark

Vizquel eyes Venezuelan hits mark

PHOENIX -- Omar Vizquel is ready to make history. More than ready. He has been ready for a while.

He'll get another chance on Thursday night because manager Ron Washington is planning on starting him at shortstop in the finale of a three-game series against the D-backs at Chase Field.

Vizquel goes into the game needing one hit to become the all-time Major League leader in hits for a native of Venezuela. He and Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio are tied with 2,677 hits.

The record means much to Vizquel because it's a major offensive accomplishment on a career built around defense. But now it's time to get it.

"I just want to get it out of the way," Vizquel said. "I have to be patient at the plate so I can get my pitch and hit it. I've been focused on too many other things rather than my at-bats."

Vizquel pulled within one of Aparicio with a two-hit game on June 7 in Boston. He was hoping get past Aparicio on the Rangers' most recent homestand but was just 1-for-7 in his two starts. He tied the record against the Astros on June 17 but was 0-for-4 against the Giants on Saturday in his one start in San Francisco.

"It looks like it is taking forever, but when you're sitting on the bench on not playing, it seems even longer," Vizquel said.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Scott Feldman (5-2, 4.02 ERA)
Feldman lost, 6-4, to the Giants on Friday while giving up five runs in six innings, snapping his four-game road winning streak. He is now 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in his past three starts. He has a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts this season and in 35 starts over the past two years, he is 11-10 with a 4.56 ERA. Opponents are hitting .230 off him this year but they are hitting .300 with runners in scoring position and .360 in those situations with two outs. He has made just one relief appearance in his career against the D-backs.

ARI: RHP Jon Garland (4-7, 4.99 ERA)
The good news for Garland is that he pitched better in his last outing. The bad news is that this start comes at Chase Field, where he has certainly not had a home-field advantage. This year on the road Garland has a 2.60 ERA in seven starts. At home, his ERA is 7.82. His last start was against the Mariners at Safeco Field and he tossed seven shutout innings. He pitched in and out of trouble as he allowed eight baserunners on the night. Garland did not get a decision as the bullpen gave up his 3-0 lead. Seattle rallied for four runs in the eighth, including two on a pinch-hit homer by Ken Griffey Jr.

Tidbits
The Rangers have scored two or fewer runs in four consecutive games. The last time that happened was July 14-17, 2006. ... The Rangers have a 3.27 ERA in Interleague Play. ... Marlon Byrd is hitting .338 with two outs this season.

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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
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On radio
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Up next
• Friday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 7-5, 2.62) vs. Padres (Walter Silva, 0-0, 6.00), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Derek Holland, 1-4, 5.77) vs. Padres (Kevin Correia, 4-5, 4.26), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Matt Harrison, 4-5, 6.11) vs. Padres (Chad Gaudin, 3-6, 5.60), 7:05 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.