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Rangers alter plans, to go with 4 starters

ARLINGTON, Texas — RHP Tommy Hunter will be added to the Rangers' playoff rotation.

Manager Ron Washington announced the decision Friday. Last week, Washington said he'd go with a three-man rotation of LHPs Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson and RHP Colby Lewis in the AL division series against the Rays or Yankees.

But Lee would have to pitch on three days' rest if he were to start Game 4, if it's necessary. So the Rangers changed plans and added Hunter, who carried a 3.80 ERA, 3.16 at home, into his start Friday night.

"Cliff Lee has never gone on three days' rest before," Washington said. "Rather than ask Cliff to do something he's never done, we'll put Tommy Hunter out there and do something he's done before, which is win a ball game."

Hunter got two outs in relief Monday night against Seattle, his first career appearance out of the bullpen, before the change in plans.

In other Rangers news, CF Josh Hamilton was back in the lineup after missing 24 games since Sept. 4, when he broke two ribs crashing into an outfield wall.

METS SHAKEUP?: Mets manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya said they have not been notified they are losing their jobs after another season filled with injuries rather than accomplishments.

Sports Illustrated reported on its website that the team will announce after the season that the pair won't return in their roles.

Speculation about their futures has swirled for weeks. The guaranteed portion of Manuel's contract expires at the end of the season, and Minaya, completing his sixth season, is due two more years.

Jeff Wilpon, Mets chief operating officer and son of owner Fred Wilpon, did not return a call seeking comment.

PHILS ROTATION: RHPs Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt will be the Phillies' first two starting pitchers in the National League division series. Manager Charlie Manuel said Halladay will start Game 1, followed by Oswalt. He did not name the Game 3 starter. The likely choice is LHP Cole Hamels.

Manuel named RHP Vance Worley and Hamels as the starting pitchers for the final two regular-season games against the Braves.

LIT UP FOR LIGHTING UP: The Cincinnati Health Department will conduct an inspection of the Great American Ball Park and the Reds' clubhouse after at least five people called a state hotline saying that when players lighted up celebratory cigars after they clinched the NL Central, it violated Ohio's smoking ban.

Department spokesman Rocky Merz said state law requires such an inspection after five complaints about the indoor smoking were phoned in. Merz said further action is "highly unlikely."

D'BACKS: Jerry Dipoto, who was bypassed for the general manager's job when the team hired Kevin Towers, will remain as head of scouting and player development, Fox Sports reported.

RED SOX: 3B Adrian Beltre, the team's best and most consistent player this season, left for Los Angeles to be with his wife, Sandra, who was about to give birth to their third child. Manager Terry Francona doesn't expect him back for the season-ending series. … RHP Tim Wakefield is scheduled to start instead of ailing RHP Clay Buchholz today against the Yankees.

ROCKIES: C Miguel Olivo was hospitalized for a CT scan and further evaluation after being struck in the back of the head and neck area by Albert Pujols' backswing in the first inning of the game against the Cardinals.

TWINS: DH Jim Thome returned to the lineup for the first time in 10 days after dealing with soreness and tightness in his back. RH setup man Jon Rauch said he will be ready for the postseason after having fluid drained from his left knee and taking a cortisone shot.

Rangers alter plans, to go with 4 starters 10/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 2, 2010 12:10am]
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