Nippert swings back as starter

Nippert swings back as starter

ARLINGTON -- Every manager looks for a "sixth starter," a guy who pitches out of the bullpen but can step into the rotation when the need arises.

Dustin Nippert has been that guy for the Rangers over the second half of the season and is being called upon again Wednesday night. Nippert pitched in relief on Saturday against the Mariners, but with the Rangers' rotation backed up by Friday's rainout and Sunday's doubleheader, he starts on Wednesday against the Athletics.

"It has been great knowing we can run him out there on the spur of the moment and get quality innings from him," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Nippert is 5-2 with a 3.95 ERA on the season. Nippert was 3-2 with a 4.43 ERA in nine starts before being replaced by Brandon McCarthy in the rotation and is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in six relief appearances.

His 3.95 ERA is the fifth lowest among "swing" pitchers in the American League. Those are guys who have made at least five starts and at least five relief appearances this season.

Phil Hughes has a 3.18 ERA in seven starts and 36 relief appearances for the Yankees, Brian Duensing has a 3.53 ERA in six starts and 14 relief appearances for the Twins, Brett Tomko has a 3.77 ERA in six starts and 15 relief appearances for the Athletics and Aaron Laffey has a 3.79 ERA in 15 starts and six relief appearances for the Indians.

"I take a little pride in that when they need a starter, they believe in me and give me the ball," Nippert said. "Going back and forth doesn't really affect me at all."

The Rangers will follow Nippert with Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman and Derek Holland in their three-game series against the Angels that begins on Friday at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Dustin Nippert (5-2, 3.95 ERA)
Nippert was 3-2 with a 4.43 ERA in nine starts before being replaced by McCarthy in the rotation. He is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in relief. His last start was against the Blue Jays on Sept. 1, when he allowed two runs in six innings in a 5-2 victory. He is 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in six games, including three starts, at Rangers Ballpark. He made one start against the Athletics this year and pitched five scoreless innings on Aug. 3 in Oakland. He left with a 1-0 lead, but the Athletics rallied for three runs in the ninth for a 3-2 victory.

OAK: RHP Trevor Cahill (8-12, 4.74 ERA)
Heavily reliant on his sinking two-seam fastball, Cahill has struggled to keep his money pitch down in the strike zone, leaving him vulnerable to the long ball. His 26 homers allowed are an Oakland rookie record. On Aug. 6 in Oakland, the Rangers tagged the former second-round pick for two homers on the way to scoring five runs on eight hits and two walks over six innings to pin Cahill with a loss.

Elvis Andrus has played in 127 games for the Rangers this season. In the past 30 years, he is only the sixth player to play 125 games in a season in which he didn't turn 21 until after June 30. Andrus turned 21 on Aug. 26. The other players to do so in the past 30 years were Roberto Alomar, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Adrian Beltre. ... Washington said Taylor Teagarden will likely start behind the plate on Wednesday with Nippert on the mound. ... The Rangers have been shut out five times at home this season, the most since being blanked eight times in 1992 at Arlington Stadium.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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On radio
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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Rangers (Tommy Hunter, 8-3, 3.23) vs. Angels (Scott Kazmir, 8-8, 5.32), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Rangers (Scott Feldman, 16-5, 3.65) vs. Angels (Jered Weaver, 15-6, 3.85), 6:05 p.m. CT

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