Left-hander Matt Harrison won't make his next start until Tuesday as the Rangers move him back two days to get him some rest for the stretch run while also getting everyone else a blow. Right-hander Roy Oswalt will make a spot start in a move that gives the five-man rotation six days' rest.
But the decision to alter the rotation, a day after manager Ron Washington said nothing was planned, was made primarily to rest Harrison. He has been the Rangers' best starter this season, but has been roughed up his last to starts. The move indirectly has other benefits: Harrison won't make a start against Tampa Bay, which has beaten him thoroughly twice this season; Harrison will face a Cleveland lineup full of left-handed hitters; and Harrison will also face a Seattle team Sept. 16 that he has beaten three times this season.
Harrison is OK with the move, though he'd like to pitch every fifth day.
"I see the point," he said. "I've been going for five months without one [a break]. It's good to have the extra couple days. It can't hurt."
Manager Ron Washington said that the artificial surface won't have much of an effect this weekend at Tropicana Field, but it could lead to Mike Napoli not making much progress in his rehab from a strained right quad.
Even though the infield is cut out of the turf, Washington said that the Rangers will be hesitant to let Napoli run on the field, which he did all four days in Kansas City. The all-dirt infield will make for an easier weekend on the infielders, but Washington is planning to give Elvis Andrus a day at designated hitter and will ask Adrian Beltre if he wants one. If Beltre declines, right fielder Nelson Cruz will get the DH day.
The Rangers aren't the only team pushing back starting pitchers. Tampa Bay has scratched David Price from his Saturday start with left shoulder soreness and will pitch prospect Chris Archer, a hard-throwing right-hander from Triple A who has made two starts this season.
-- Jeff Wilson