From the Clubhouse: Hunter adjusting

From the Clubhouse: Hunter adjusting

Credit: AP

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Tommy Hunter delivers to the Florida Marlins in the first inning of an interleague baseball game on Saturday, July 2, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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by Josh Davis

wfaa.com

Posted on July 9, 2011 at 5:58 PM

ARLINGTON -- Tommy Hunter returned to the Texas Rangers this season on July 2 with a new occupation.

After appearing in only one game he did not start for the first three years of his career, the 25-year-old became a relief pitcher this year. The adjustment hasn't been as simple, but the righty has been successful.

"I'm getting it done," Hunter said. "It's a lot more difficult than what you'd think to go from starter to reliever. It's not the same pitching."

It is a different type of pressure entering in relief situations.

"You've got to come in and throw strikes," Hunter said. "You come in to situations where you have to get outs, to where you have to make the pitch right then. Being a starter, you can kind of develop as the game goes on."

The difference is not only coming into games with runners potentially on base. Starters generally pitch more to the inside of the plate while relievers place the ball down and away from the batter.

Rangers skipper Ron Washington said Hunter's prior experience as a starter has made him an effective reliever.

"I think he's fitting well because he has multiple weapons," Washington said. "Usually when a guy is coming out of the bullpen, he comes out the bullpen and he's got two pitches. Tommy has got maybe four."

Hunter throws a cutter, a fastball, a curve and a changeup effectively. He used everything effectively in his one-inning appearance Friday, in which he issued one walk but three strikeouts.

"That makes him very, very tough," Washington said. "I think in his [three] outings, he showed that. We'll keep giving him the ball and hope he keeps rolling."

Hunter has pitched six and two-thirds innings this year, allowing four hits, two runs (one earned), and two walks while striking out five.

Beltre resting up before All-Star start:

The Rangers found out Friday they would have another All-Star game starter besides 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton, who will be starting in the outfield Tuesday.

Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter were voted as All-Star starters by fans, but neither will play in the game. Jhonny Peralta and Kevin Youkilis were named as their replacements, but American League All-Star manager Ron Washington named Beltre and Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as starters.

Beltre and Cabrera were the highest-ranking available players on the player ballot.

However with the All-Star start, Washington decided to give Beltre a second day in a row off his feet as the Texas designated hitter tonight.

"[Beltre] and Michael [Young] are the two guys that have been grinding it since we came out of spring training," Washington said. "We'll get him a chance to get him a back-to-back day off his feet, because we need just as much out of [Beltre] going into the second half as we got out of him in the first."

The third baseman has appeared in all 90 games the Rangers have played in 2011. He leads the team in RBIs (68) and is second in home runs (17) and hits (95).

Washington said Beltre was okay with taking a couple days as DH.

"We're on the same page," Washington said. "When I told him, he didn't fight me. He said, 'I like that.'"

Michael Young will start in Beltre's place for the second straight night at third.

Young happy for Jeter:

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter made history Saturday, becoming the 28th player in Major League Baseball history with 3,000 hits. Jeter hit home run in the third inning to reach 3,000 as part of a 5-for-5 day at the plate.

Rangers designated hitter and utility infielder Michael Young said he has come to know Jeter personally over the years, playing in All-Star games and the World Baseball Classic with the Yankees slugger, and was happy for him in the clubhouse Saturday.

"When it comes to this kind of thing right here, you just send your congratulations and just hope he enjoys it and takes it in," Young said. "I hope that he takes some time to hang out with his family tonight and really soak this thing in and enjoy it, because knowing him he's going to be focused on his next game."

Young said Jeter has moved into elite company.

"28 guys in the history of the game have accomplished this, and now he's one of them," Young said.

Jeter will not play in the All-Star game this week, as he wants to rest his recently injured calf. But Young said he hopes he gets a chance to see Jeter at the event this week in Phoenix, Ariz.

"I would like to see him in Arizona, shake his hand and congratulate him in person," Young said.

For those counting, Young has 1,963 hits himself coming into tonight's game.

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