Injuries could impact Rangers for series vs. Angels (Jul 07, 2017)

BY AP • July 7, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels won't know who he will have behind him Friday night until he shows up to Globe Life Park.

It's really anyone's guess.

The Rangers and Los Angeles Angels kick off a three-game set with Hamels (3-0, 4.12 ERA) facing Ricky Nolasco (4-9, 4.42).

Texas avoided getting swept by the Boston Red Sox, winning 8-2 on Wednesday, but the Rangers finished the game without some key pieces. Before the game, shortstop Elvis Andrus was placed on the paternity list, and his wife gave birth to a son Thursday morning. And during the game, both Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo left with injuries.

Odor was hit in the left hand by a pitch, and Gallo had a hamstring issue. Their status for the opener against the Angels is unknown. The club will also have to make a roster move after sending right-hander Nick Martinez to Triple-A Round Rock on their off day Thursday.

While there is a lot in flux with the Rangers, at least they are coming off a win, and they have Hamels on the mound after ending a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. They should be refreshed for the Angels.

"Little spots you can tell," Texas manager Jeff Banister said of the 20-in-20 stretch. "There are certain parts you can see some of it has taken its toll. It's tough on a bullpen. It's tough on your regular players. There are those challenges throughout stretches like that. The longer these guys are out on the field on their legs, it all has an impact."

Hamels hasn't had quite the grind, as this will be only his eighth start of the season because of a disabled-list stint caused by a right oblique strain. He was sharp in his last outing, allowing two runs on two hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also has been sharp in his career against the Angels, with five of his six starts being quality starts, leading to a career 2.93 ERA vs. Los Angeles.

A good outing for him would give the Rangers a chance to move past the Angels in the American League wild-card pecking order. It won't be easy against Nolasco, who has been dominant in his past two starts. He is coming off a three-hit shutout at Seattle. In his most recent two outings, he has allowed no runs on eight hits in 15 1/3 innings and has lowered his ERA by more than a run.

Nolasco is 1-2 in his career against Texas, with the lone win coming in Arlington.

One player who likely won't be hurting the Rangers on Friday is the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Mike Trout. The star center fielder, who has been on the disabled list for more than a month because of a thumb injury, made his second rehab start Thursday for the Class A Inland Empire. He went 0-for-2, leaving him 0-for-5 on the rehab assignment.

While it is expected that Trout will continue to rehab in the minors and then join the Angels after the All-Star break, he sounded like someone who is ready to go.

"I feel great mentally and there was no problem physically," he told after playing for Inland Empire on Wednesday.

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