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Rain changes Rangers' pitching plans

Rain changes Rangers' pitching plans

CLEVELAND -- The Rangers were hoping to give Derek Holland an extra day of rest this week before his next start.

That plan was scratched when Monday's game with the Indians was postponed by rain and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday. The first game will start at 4:05 p.m. CT.

The Rangers, who have swept both doubleheaders they've played this year, against the Athletics and Blue Jays, are 13-4-6 in doubleheaders over the past 15 years.

Tommy Hunter, who was scheduled for Monday, will start in Game 1 on Tuesday. Brandon McCarthy will take the ball in Game 2, and he will be making his second start since missing three months because of a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. He officially replaces Dustin Nippert, who was 3-2 with a 4.43 ERA in nine games as a starter while going 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in five games as a reliever.

"We think Nippert gives us a better chance out of the bullpen," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We also don't know if it's for the best for 'Mac' to come out of the bullpen -- getting up and down all the time -- with everything that's gone on this year with him."

Scott Feldman will pitch on Wednesday, and the Rangers are off on Thursday. When they return home Friday, they will pitch Kevin Millwood, Holland and Hunter in their three-game series with the Mariners.

Texas wanted to move Holland back to Sunday and give him two days of extra rest. That would have allowed Hunter to pitch on Saturday on his normal four days of rest.

"We wanted to keep Hunter on schedule," Washington said.

The rainout changed that. But Holland will get extra rest on the upcoming homestand.

The Rangers open a three-game series with the A's on Monday. In that series, they are planning to pitch Feldman, McCarthy and Millwood, in that order. Feldman will jump ahead of McCarthy to stay on his regular schedule.

Then, the Rangers are off on Thursday, Sept. 17, before opening a three-game series against the Angels. In that series, the Rangers are pitching Hunter, Feldman and then Holland. Having Holland take the mound in the series finale on Sunday will give him seven days of rest between starts.

Holland is 0-3 with a 16.05 ERA over his past three starts, including a 7-0 loss to Baltimore on Sunday. He has allowed 16 runs in 6 1/3 innings in his past two outings. Washington said the Rangers have not talked about shutting Holland down, but they did want to give him some extra rest in the next two weeks.

"There is nothing wrong with his stuff," Washington said. "He threw the ball well [on Sunday]; he just didn't make any adjustments."

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

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