Washington calls one of his 'horses'

Washington calls one of his 'horses'

ANAHEIM -- Manager Ron Washington was talking before Tuesday's game about players who are crucial for the Rangers being as good or better in the second half of the season than they have been to this point.

Vicente Padilla was one of those at the top of the list.

"Without a doubt," Washington said. "He's one of our horses."

Padilla, through 81 games, is 6-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 14 starts. He missed a couple of weeks in May because of his strained right shoulder, and his latest start has been pushed back because of a similar problem. But he returns to the mound on Wednesday when he pitches against the Angels.

"Everything is good right now," Padilla said. "I'll stick with what I've said before: It doesn't matter if it's the first half, the middle of the season or the second half, I'm going to do everything I can to help this team win."

Padilla was 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in four starts before he strained his shoulder. Padilla thinks the injury occurred swinging a bat in his start against the D-backs on June 24. He won that game, 2-1, but lost his next start against the Angels, 5-2, when he allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings of work.

His velocity was down in that game, and the shoulder was bothering him. That's when the Rangers decided to give him a few extra days of rest. He threw in the bullpen on Monday, and everything went well.

"It's tough to duplicate what you were doing previously," Padilla said. "I'll do the best I can. My arm feels good, but in terms of results, all I can do is the best I can."

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Vicente Padilla (6-4, 4.75 ERA)
Padilla last pitched on June 30 against the Angels and allowed five runs in five-plus innings in a 5-2 loss. He gave up 10 hits. Prior to that, he was 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in four starts. He was pushed back four days in the rotation because of some inflammation in his right shoulder but threw in the bullpen on Monday without any problems. He is 6-4 with a 4.98 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts, in his career against the Angels. That's his most victories against any American League team. He is 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA in six starts this season on the road.

LAA: RHP Ervin Santana (1-4, 7.43 ERA)
The numbers weren't impressive, but Santana made strides in his return to the mound on Friday at home against the Orioles. He yielded six runs (four earned) in five innings, but there was more life on his fastball than in previous returns from issues involving his right elbow, forearm and triceps. He was in the 93-94-mph range, closer to the 94-96 range he held during his 2008 All-Star season. Now it's a matter of finding his rhythm and command and sustaining his stamina deeper in games. Facing the Rangers for the first time this season, he's 7-5 with a 6.46 ERA in 14 career starts against Texas.

With Julio Borbon being sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Washington said the Rangers will go with an eight-man bullpen to the All-Star break. ... Washington said Taylor Teagarden will start on Wednesday at catcher. ... Ian Kinsler is only the second Rangers leadoff hitter to hit at least 20 home runs in a season. David Delucci hit 23 in 2005.

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Up next
• Thursday: Rangers (Tommy Hunter, 1-1, 3.18) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 8-3, 2.62), 9:10 p.m. CT
• Friday: Rangers (Scott Feldman, 7-2, 3.91) at Mariners (Garrett Olson, 3-2, 4.58), 9:10 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 8-6, 3.34) at Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 5-6, 3.08), 9:10 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.