Justin Thompson waited six years and went through four shoulder operations before finally pitching for the Rangers.
After making just two appearances for Texas and allowing a pair of home runs, the former all-star was optioned to Class AAA Oklahoma yesterday when the Rangers recalled LHP Erasmo Ramirez.
"This guy is going to pitch, and I think he wants to with us," Manager Buck Showalter said. "As far as he's come, and where he's gotten physically and stuff-wise, he thinks there's some more there. . . . With this guy's makeup and pedigree, I know it's tough."
Thompson could return in September to the Rangers, who got the left-hander during the trade in which they gave up two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez.
"I'd like to see him get back down there and get on the horse," Showalter said.
Thompson was visibly disappointed in the clubhouse and didn't talk to reporters before the Rangers' game against Minnesota.
Texas purchased Thompson's contract from Oklahoma on Aug. 16, and two days later he made his first major league appearance since Aug. 15, 1999. He gave up a two-run homer to Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta, and in his only other appearance for the Rangers he gave up a grand slam on Thursday to Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.
Once a power pitcher, Thompson had to adjust his style of pitching after four operations from August 1999 to September 2001.
"Now I have to work both sides of the plate a lot more. I have to pitch more," Thompson said this week. "I relied on my ability a lot more the first time I came up. . . . I have to establish myself again. I have to prove that I belong here and I have to go out and get people out."
* THROWN INTO LINEUP: Newly acquired OF Matt Lawton was plugged into the Yankees' lineup against Kansas City.
Manager Joe Torre started Lawton in right field, batting him eighth, and used regular RF Gary Sheffield as the designated hitter.
Torre said the addition of the 33-year-old Lawton, dealt by the Cubs for minor league P Justin Berg, gives him more lineup options.
"He allows us to do some things we couldn't do before," Torre said. "He's a talented player who gives us more depth. We've been light on the bench."
* GIVE LITTLE, GET LITTLE IN RETURN: Cleveland RHP Kevin Millwood has a 3.18 ERA, but the Indians have averaged only 3.25 runs in his starts.
-- From News Services