ARLINGTON -- When this season began, outfielder David Murphy came to the ballpark knowing that he would not be in the lineup if the Rangers were facing a team that featured a left-handed starting pitcher.Now that Murphy is an everyday player, he starts against right-handers and left-handers alike. Despite being a left-handed batter, he is batting .408 with four doubles and five RBIs against southpaws entering Thursday's series opener with the Twins, who sent lefty Scott Diamond to the mound. Murphy's .408 mark against lefties is the fifth-best in the Majors among players with at least 49 at-bats against southpaws and the best among left-handed batters. "I'm definitely content with the performance and the results right now," Murphy said. "If I want to play every day, I need to show some results. I think it's all about the approach. Right now, it's been pretty consistent. Mechanically, everything is good." Murphy went 3-for-3 with a walk in a 12-3 win over the Orioles Wednesday, his third three-hit effort in his past seven games. His .387 batting average this month is the second-best in the American League, and his .315 batting average this season would be the fifth-best in the AL if he qualified, his .394 on-base percentage would be the fourth-highest in the AL.
Rangers prospect West has Tommy John surgery
ARLINGTON -- High-A Myrtle Beach pitcher Matt West, ranked by MLB.com as the Rangers' 15th best prospect, had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the season.The right-hander went 0-3 with a 6.64 ERA in 17 appearances this season, striking out 14 and walking 16 in 20 1/3 innings. He was drafted by the Rangers in the second round in 2007 as a shortstop before being converted to a pitcher last spring. West suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in March but returned midseason for Myrtle Beach. West, 23, was moved to the Rangers 40-man roster last November and was optioned to Myrtle Beach on March 13. He batted .241 with 22 homers and 150 RBIs in 370 Minor League games while posting a 4.51 ERA in 46 appearances. West remains on the Rangers' 40-man roster, which currently has 39 players.
Rangers prospect Skole returns from suspension
ARLINGTON -- Rangers prospect Jake Skole on Wednesday played his first game since being suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for an amphetamine, going 3-for-3 for short-season Class A Spokane.The Rangers selected Skole with the No. 15 pick in the 2010 Draft. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder hit just .185 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 68 games with High-A Myrtle Beach before his suspension began nearly two months ago. But he singled three times out of the leadoff spot in his first game with Spokane this season. Skole, 20, batted .254 with two home runs, 27 RBIs and six stolen bases in 58 games for Spokane last year.
Young exits game to attend birth of third son
ARLINGTON -- Rangers designated hitter Michael Young left Thursday's series opener against the Twins in the bottom of the fifth inning to be with his wife, Cristina, who gave birth the couple's third child, a boy, shortly after he arrived at the hospital.
Mitch Moreland took over DH duties in the bottom of the sixth.
The Rangers made a late change to their lineup before the game, moving Elvis Andrus from designated hitter to shortstop and moving Young from shortstop to DH.Young was moved from shortstop because the Rangers did not have any other middle infielders to use should Young leave the game. Moving Andrus from DH to shortstop would forfeit the DH, forcing Texas to bat its pitcher. Alberto Gonzalez, who made two starts at second base this season and five others at shortstop, was designated for assignment Aug. 10 before being assigned to Triple-A Round Rock two days later. Before the change, Andrus was on track to make his second start of the season at designated hitter. "I'm great," Andrus said. "I tell [manager Ron Washington] all the time, 'If you don't want to give me a day off, I'll be ready to play every day.'" His only other start at designated hitter this season came in a loss to the Blue Jays on May 2, when he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. All of the other 117 games he's started this season have been at shortstop. The last time he did not start was Saturday against the Blue Jays but he came in for Young at shortstop in the ninth inning. "I tried to get him a whole [day off] in Toronto, but we were playing a 2-1 ballgame and I needed him out there on defense," Washington said. "I can't afford to sit him right now. I'll put up with his loud mouth in the dugout tonight." Mike Olt made his fifth start of the year at first base while Young, who won a Gold Glove as a shortstop in 2008, started at designated hitter for the 56th time this year. Young has also made 34 starts at first base, 11 at second base, and 16 at third base this year.
Rangers bullpen hitting stride
ARLINGTON -- It's been a week since a Rangers reliever has allowed a run. And it's been more than four years since the Rangers bullpen has gone longer than its current streak of 15 1/3 innings without letting anyone cross the plate.Seven relievers have combined on the streak since Tanner Scheppers allowed a run in the sixth inning of Thursday's win over the Yankees, none of them throwing more than the three innings closer Joe Nathan has pitched over that stretch. "We're doing a great job," Mike Adams said. "The guys have been going out there and doing their job, one after another. I think, from a pitching standpoint, we've really hit our stride. August is usually a tough month for everybody, especially the pitchers, but the guys have done what they've needed to do to stay fresh and keep throwing zeros up." Over its last eight innings, the Rangers bullpen has surrendered only two hits while striking out eight. After picking up just two wins over a 27-game stretch, it has been credited with a victory in five of the team's past eight games. The Rangers' bullpen has posted a 1.04 ERA in its last 12 games and leads the Major Leagues with a 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio while walking 97, the fewest in baseball. "There was a point where it didn't matter who I brought in, I always had to go to Mike Adams and I had to go to Joe Nathan," manager Ron Washington said. "Finally things started clicking for them. ... I think you've got to give credit to [bullpen coach Andy] Hawkins and [pitching coach] Mike [Maddux]."
With three home runs in Wednesday's win over the Orioles, Adrian Beltre became the first third baseman in team history with three homers in one game and the fourth infielder, joining Brad Wilkerson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Mitch Moreland went 1-for-3 with five RBIs on Wednesday, becoming the second player in Rangers history to drive in that many runs in a game on only one hit. Ricky Ledee did it in 2000. Short-season Class A Spokane outfielder Royce Bolinger singled in his first at-bat of Wednesday's loss, extending his hitting streak to a Northwest League-best 23 games.
ChristianCorona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.