Hunter's performance to impact roster

Hunter's performance to impact roster

OAKLAND -- Tommy Hunter starts for the Rangers on Thursday, and a good outing could allow them to go back to a seven-man bullpen for their weekend series against the Angels.

They have been going with an eight-man bullpen and a three-man bench for much of the past month because their starters have not been going as long in games as they had before. Rangers starters averaged 6.04 innings per start in their first 81 games but just 5.44 in their next 24 games beginning on July 7.

If the Rangers add an extra player and drop a reliever, it would most likely be outfielder Julio Borbon.

"By the time we get to Anaheim, I'd like to have the extra player," manager Ron Washington. "I'd like to have a full roster. But if we've got to win by using [extra relievers], then we've got to win."

Borbon could join the Rangers if they decide to put Nelson Cruz on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle. He was out of the lineup for the second straight game on Wednesday. But the Rangers have seen enough improvement that they are holding off making a move.

Hunter is coming off his first rough outing of the season. He allowed five runs in five innings in a 7-2 loss to the Mariners on Saturday. He was 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his six previous starts.

"The thing about Hunter is he had a rocky start, but he hung out there and gave us some innings," Washington said. "He battled. That's why the kid can be a pretty good pitcher. He shows he'll stay out there."

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Tommy Hunter (3-2, 2.63 ERA)
Hunter allowed five runs over five innings against the Mariners on Saturday. It was the most runs he allowed this season. He had allowed five runs in his previous five starts. Over his last five games, Hunter is 3-1. He has made one career start against the Athletics, allowing three earned runs over 5 1/3 innings (5.06 ERA) and receiving the no-decision. On the road in his career, Hunter is 0-1 with a 10.57 ERA over 7 2/3 innings in two starts.

OAK: RHP Trevor Cahill (6-10, 5.01 ERA)
Cahill's struggles continued on Saturday night. He surrendered six runs on eight hits (two home runs) and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. Cahill is 1-5 with an 8.31 ERA in his past seven starts. The rookie had a 2.51 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in his seven starts prior. He's given up at least one home run in his last eight starts, pushing his season total to 23. Cahill held Texas to one run in seven innings on May 7.

Tidbits
Michael Young has a 12-game hitting streak. ... Pitcher Clayton Hamilton has been activated off the disabled list at Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... The Rangers have nominated relief pitcher C.J. Wilson and third baseman Michael Young for the national Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Athlete, presented by All Stars Helping Kids, a national nonprofit founded by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. Fans can help Wilson and Young win by voting on the All Stars Helping Kids website (www.allstarshelpingkids.org) and via text message beginning in August and running through Nov. 15.

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

On television
• FSSW HD

On radio
• 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Rangers (Scott Feldman, 10-4, 3.91) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 9-6, 5.07), 9:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 9-7, 3.39) at Angels (Jered Weaver, 11-3, 3.79), 3:10 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Derek Holland, 4-7, 5.60) at Angels (John Lackey, 7-4, 3.96), 2:35 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.