The Texas Rangers' recent history of changing relief pitchers to starting pitchers hasn't been too successful.
Aside form a rare success case in C.J. Wilson and a marginal success in Alexi Ogando, the procedure has failed just about every time for the Rangers' front office — Neftali Feliz, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, etc. have all come out worse than before after a failed transition.
On Wednesday night, the Rangers saw the first big-league start for longtime reliever prospect Phil Klein, and you know what, it actually worked.
Klein was on a pretty strict limit of 90-95 pitches and was expected to go no more than five innings, and he ended up exceeding those by a long shot, going into the sixth inning and finishing with 5 1/3 innings on just 81 pitches. He was efficient, throwing first-pitch strikes and pitching to contact while working in a changeup he's been working on to add to his fastball/slider arsenal.
"Gutsy performance by him to go out and face a ballclub that he's never really seen," Texas manager Jeff Banister told reporters.
Next up for Klein will be his second big-league start, which will match the number of starts he had in the minors this year before Wednesday night, and it'll come in his native Ohio against Cleveland on Monday.