Josh Lindblom had an idea of what his role in the Texas Rangers’ organization would be. So did Ross Wolf. As it turned out, both were wrong, and the results have been all good so far.
Lindblom, Friday’s starting pitcher against the Albuquerque Isotopes (11-9), and Wolf have made successful transitions from the bullpen to the rotation this spring after pitching out of the bullpen their entire careers.
“It’s been good so far,” said Lindblom, who is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA. “I’ve had some success early on here. Having to build up some arm strength and stamina along the way, but for the most part, there’s not much of a difference when you think about it. Starter, reliever, closer, middle relief – your job is to come in and execute pitches. If you can execute pitches successfully, the results will be there.”
Lindblom and Wolf will try and salvage a poor pitching start in the Express’ (11-10) series against the Albuquerque Isotopes. While pitching has been the story of the Express’ young season, it wasn’t Thursday. Express starter Colin Balester (1-3) allowed seven hits and six runs Thursday at Dell Diamond as Round Rock allowed the most runs of the season in a 10-5 loss.
Outside of Thursday, the pitching staff for the Express has been strong. The team began its latest series with a 3.16 ERA, best in the Pacific Coast League, and is second in the PCL in strikeouts. A lot of that success has stemmed from starters Brad Mills, Lindblom and Wolf.
Wolf spent the past five seasons as a reliever, but when the Rangers called up Justin Grimm after the Matt Harrison injury, he was thrown into the rotation a day after arriving from Frisco. He has responded well with a 1.62 ERA this year, and seven strikeouts in last start against New Orleans.
“I’ve always had starting stuff,” Wolf said. “But coming into this year, if you had told me in spring training that’d I be a starter, I’d have told you ‘no way.’”
Lindblom’s starting role was more thought out. After arriving to the Rangers via the Michael Young trade with Philadelphia, Lindblom entered spring believing he would be a reliever. That all changed when he was optioned to Triple-A.
“(The Rangers) talked about having me start and I told them I was more than happy to do it,” Lindblom said. “I didn’t do anything in the offseason to get ready for it. I prepared all offseason to be a reliever and the only preparation I’ve done is been since they told me I was going to be a starter three, four weeks ago.”