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Rangers' Yang Hyeon-jong likely to stay in bullpen for now

In this Associated Press photo, Yang Hyeon-jong of the Texas Rangers pitches in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis last Wednesday. (Yonhap)
In this Associated Press photo, Yang Hyeon-jong of the Texas Rangers pitches in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis last Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Yang Hyeon-jong may have to wait a few more days before making his next start for the Texas Rangers.

With right-hander Kohei Arihara landing on the 10-day injured list (IL) over the weekend, Yang appeared to be in line to make a spot start this week against the Houston Astros. The South Korean left-hander pitched 3 1/3 solid innings against the Minnesota Twins in place of Arihara last Wednesday, following two bullpen appearances.

Instead, manager Chris Woodward said Monday (US local time) that he was "considering" another left-hander, Wes Benjamin, when Arihara's turn comes up on Friday in Houston. Woodward qualified his remark by saying it was "not official yet."

But if Woodward does decided to go with Benjamin, the Rangers' rotation for the four-game series against the Astros beginning Thursday will go: Mike Foltynewicz, Benjamin, Dane Dunning and Kyle Gibson. Jordan Lyles will be up next for a new four-game set against the New York Yankees beginning next Monday.

Yang struck out eight Twins while allowing one run last week, after Arihara went down with a finger injury. The Japanese pitcher briefly returned to the rotation on Saturday but lasted just 3 2/3 innings before hitting the IL.

Yang has a 2.25 ERA across 12 innings, with 13 strikeouts and two walks, and hasn't pitched since that start against the Twins.

Yang landed with the Rangers in February after 14 seasons with the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). Yang was an MVP-winning starter in the KBO but didn't make the Rangers' rotation out of camp this year.

Benjamin, who made the Opening Day roster but was optioned to the minors following three bullpen outings, has one major league start to his credit. He's 0-1 this season with a 4.76 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. (Yonhap)

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