TEX@LAA: Choice lifts a solo shot to right-center

ANAHEIM -- Rangers rookie outfielder Michael Choice's last four hits have been home runs. That covers 30 at-bats, and it's a great home-run ratio.

He's totaled eight homers in 166 at-bats. Five of his past seven hits have been homers. But, without a single since June 6 against the Indians (when he also homered), Choice's batting average (.193) is not so great.

"It'll come. I've only had 160 at-bats, a lot of infrequent at-bats," said Choice, 25, who hit .290 in the Minor Leagues with a .376 on-base percentage. "Every night, I'm facing pitchers I've never faced before."

Choice's 27 RBIs are third on the Rangers, behind Adrian Beltre (35) and Alex Rios (33). Choice's eight homers match Beltre for the team lead.

"The fact he's hitting a few home runs, getting some key hits and RBIs, I'm going to continue to give him an opportunity to figure out what he is at the Major League level," manager Ron Washington said. "He's being productive. Not much of an average, but producing pretty good.

"He's not supposed to be that kind of [low-average] hitter."

Washington putting Rowen right to work

TEX@LAA: Rowen fans three over 3 1/3 strong innings

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers expected good things when they recalled right-handed reliever Ben Rowen from Triple-A Round Rock on June 11.

Rowen's Minor League work -- especially his .200 opponents' batting average, and 0.96 WHIP -- suggested as much. He allowed just four home runs his first 215 professional innings.

But, since the submariner from Virginia Tech, and Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., is a short reliever, and usually a closer, the Rangers couldn't have anticipated how much length he's added to Ron Washington's oft-overworked bullpen.

Rowen debuted Sunday with a shutout inning against the Mariners, added one more Monday against the A's, and then blanked the Angels for 3 1/3 innings Friday night -- which really opened Washington's eyes.

"I didn't know we were going to get that much out of him," the manager said, "but he was so effective, we ended up getting almost four innings out of him."

Five days, 5 1/3 innings, no runs, three hits, no walks, four strikeouts, a .176 OBA -- not a bad way to start a career.

"A little deception always helps," Rowen said, when asked about his unorthodox pitching style.

Rowen said his delivery was changed to sidearm at age 14 by his high school coach, Evan Fujinaga, but by the end of his senior year at Palos Verdes High School, Rowen was in full submarine mode, "which was the plan, all along."

Asked about his long stint against the Angels, Rowen said he threw "four innings once in low A ... and I think I had a couple of three-inning games the past two years."

The delivery helps him rack up innings, when needed, he said because "it's a more normal motion."

He might've made the big club in Spring Training after being the Rangers' 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, but right biceps tendinitis put Rowen on hold for a while.

He was 1-0 with two saves and a 2.75 ERA in 16 appearances for Round Rock.

Darvish expected to be available for All-Star Game

TEX@OAK: Darvish gets Cespedes swinging for 600th K

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Yu Darvish's last scheduled start before the All-Star break will be July 13 against the Angels -- two days before the All-Star Game in Minnesota.

"If he wants to pitch an inning [in Minnesota], he could pitch an inning, on 20 pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Nothing more than that.

"Unless something happens to somebody, that's what it works out to be, up to the All-Star break."

Darvish, the 2013 Cy Young Award runner-up, who led the Major Leagues with 277 strikeouts, has been an All-Star selection each of his first two seasons, but has yet to make an appearance in the game.

"There's nothing I can say right now," Darvish (7-3, 2.39 ERA) said. "If selected or not, I will have a comment then."

With Monday's off-day, all Rangers starters, Darvish included, will pick up an extra day of rest. It's the Rangers' last off-day before the break.

Worth noting

Catcher Geovany Soto (left knee surgery) crouched and caught pitches -- 40, this time -- from coach Bengie Molina for a second consecutive day on Saturday. It's the first time he's gone back-to-back days in that step in his recovery.

Asked if he felt as comfortable as he looked, Soto said: "Very comfortable."