ARLINGTON (AP) – Travis Blackley has half of his eight major league wins against the Texas Rangers.
On Tuesday night, he’ll be pitching for the AL West leaders against the Houston Astros, the team that traded the left-hander to Texas just last week.
“Obviously a great opportunity here. I’m excited to be starting again, it’s what I’ve wanted to do all year,” said Blackley, who made 42 relief appearances for Houston before being designated for assignment and clearing waivers. “I wouldn’t get an opportunity over there. Hoping to show them what they missed.”
The Rangers will purchase Blackley’s contract from Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday for him to start the second game of the three-game set against Houston. He was already with the Rangers on Monday, but the team will have to make a corresponding move before Tuesday’s game to officially add him to its 25-man roster.
“`He’s got experience. He’s certainly pitched well against us,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said Monday, before the series opener. “I think his experience played into it more than anything else. We’re not looking for him to give us six, seven innings. Just looking for him to give us what he can give us, and then we’ll go to the bullpen from there.”
Long reliever Ross Wolf, who has started three games for Texas this season, was an option. Washington said Wolf will pitch Tuesday night.
Blackley will fill in for Alexi Ogando, who has an inflamed nerve in his right shoulder and got an injection Saturday. Matt Garza was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but moved up a day and pitched on regular rest Monday night.
Washington said there hasn’t been a decision on whether Ogando will be put on the disabled list.
“He’s feeling better,” Washington said. “So we’re going to go through the process and see what it is before we jump the gun and put him on the DL.”
Blackley was 1-1 with a 4.89 ERA in those 42 games for Houston before being designated for assignment Aug. 8. He cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City before being traded.
“Our guys don’t need a scouting report on him,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He was good at some points, and not so good at other points. … The quality of his pitching was not where we wanted it. He’s a veteran who knows how to pitch. We had some young guys we wanted to bring up, and he was expendable.”
The 30-year-old Australian is 8-8 in 78 major league games (23 starts), going 4-2 with a 5.40 ERA in nine games (six starts) vs. the Rangers. Blackley made 15 starts last season for the Oakland, and won against the Rangers the final series of the regular season when the A’s overtook Texas for the AL West title.
Texas expects Blackley to throw about 65 pitches Tuesday night, a number the pitcher said he can easily handle.
“Honestly, I could probably go out there and throw 100. I don’t know how I’d feel the next day,” he said. “I’ll go with whatever they have planned and take it from there. Try to keep throwing up zeroes until I’m taken out.”
It has been quite a year for Blackley, who went from a team with 12 rookies and twice as many losses as wins to the minors and now to the top of the AL West race.
“I went from couldn’t wait until the season to be over to don’t want it to end,” he said. “Felt like that was really a long spring training or something like that.”
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