Rangers encouraged by Mikolas' first start

Rangers encouraged by Mikolas' first start

BALTIMORE -- The Rangers may have uncovered a serious long-term candidate for their rotation in converted reliever Miles Mikolas. They can thank Mike Anderson, Brad Holman and Scott Richmond for that.

Anderson is the scout who recommended Mikolas this offseason and the Rangers acquired him from the Padres for first baseman Chris McGuinness. Holman is the highly regarded pitching coach at Triple-A Round Rock who helped Mikolas with the transition from reliever to starter.

Richmond? He was the Round Rock starter who got scratched from a start because of a sore arm on May 30, forcing the Express to bring in a spot starter from their bullpen. That was Mikolas and he pitched five scoreless innings in his first start against New Orleans.

It was his first start since 2009 at Class A Eugene, shortly after the Padres had drafted him in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft out of Nova Southeastern University. He had been strictly a reliever the past four years. But the Rangers liked what they saw and kept him in the rotation.

"It is something that has always been on my mind," Mikolas said. "I started in college and everybody thinks they have the stuff to be a starter in the big leagues. I was joking with some of my buddies, every year I was asking the pitching coaches in the Padres organization, half-jokingly and half-seriously when I would get a chance to start. I didn't get it in four years there. It took three months here, It's funny how it turned out."

Mikolas allowed just one run in five innings against the Orioles on Tuesday night. The Rangers led 4-1 going into the sixth and Mikolas left after allowing a pair of one-out walks. The Orioles eventually rallied for a 6-4 victory.

"I thought he did a great job," manager Ron Washington said. "He mixed his pitches well, threw inside pretty good and threw strikes. The first five innings he pitched a whale of a game. I tried to get him out of there with a good taste in his mouth but it fell apart after that."

The Rangers have made it clear that this was not just a spot start, but Mikolas will get an extended look as a starter.

"It has been really exciting," Mikolas said. "It is an opportunity I'm going to try and take full advantage of and leave everything out there and try to make as good of an impression as I possibly can on these guys."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.