Saturday, June 25, 2016

AL ERA leader Wright faces red-hot Rangers

The Rangers will activate A.J. Griffin off the disabled list on Saturday night when he faces Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright at Globe Life Park.
Griffin will be making his first start since being placed on the disabled list May 8 with right shoulder inflammation. Griffin allowed two runs in five innings in his third and final rehab start on Sunday for Double-A Frisco, giving up three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
"I felt really good my last [rehab] outing, just trying to build off that," Griffin said Griffin, who was 3-0 with a 2.94 ERA in six starts before getting hurt.
The Rangers will face one of the bigger surprises this season in Wright, who is 8-4 with an American League-leading 2.01 ERA in 14 starts. Wright is 5-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his last six starts.
"The one thing I'd say is what we've witnessed is just a constant," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's been a dependable pitcher. If you can attach reliable and dependable to a Major League player, that goes a long way. He's earned trust with each outing he's made for us."
Wright faced the Rangers on May 29, 2015, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 7-4 loss. He gave up two home runs to Josh Hamilton, who is on the disabled list.
Three things to know about this game
• The Rangers will pay tribute to Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz before the game as he continues his farewell season. He's hit .295 with 32 home runs and 104 RBIs in 123 career games against the Rangers going into this series.
• Left-hander Cole Hamels will also be honored pregame for becoming the 77th player in Major League history to reach the 2,000-strikeout mark, which he did on June 12 against the Mariners.
• Wright throws his knuckleball 80.5 percent out of all his pitches, and it is 73.7 mph on average. That is very similar to his knuckleball counterpart, Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey, who throws his 84.9 percent of the time and is 75.5 mph on average.

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