March 31, 2015

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Kyuji Fujikawa failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in an eight-run ninth inning as a Texas Rangers split squad lost to the Chicago Cubs 15-10 Tuesday.

Fujikawa, who signed with the Rangers in December after pitching for the Cubs last year, had retired 21 of 25 batters in exhibition games. Chicago sent 12 batters to the plate in the ninth, and Fujikawa's ERA jumped from 1.35 to 13.50.

''There was a lot of positives, discounting the ninth inning,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ''I felt like the fastball got away from Fuji. I felt like one ball got hit well off him. The walk in the inning is what got him, I believe. It started to snowball from there on him. After the triple, I felt it was time to get him out.''

Rangers starter Derek Holland, slowed by a sore left shoulder early in spring training, threw 81 pitches. He allowed five runs - four earned - six hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings. He is slated to start the home opener against Houston on April 10.

''I'm ready to go. There's no shoulder issues,'' Holland said. ''My pitch count is up and I'm happy. I'm not going to lose sleep over some of these results.''

Ed Lucas had three hits of Texas' 16 hits, and Carlos Corporan homered.

Matt Szczur hit his fifth home run leading off Chicago's four-run fifth, and Wes Darvill also went deep for the Cubs.

Cubs closer Hector Rondon retired both batters he faced on four pitchers and lowered his ERA to 1.13 in nine appearances.

LESTER TUNES UP

LHP Jon Lester, who will start the Cubs' season opener Sunday against the Cardinals, threw 84 pitches in a minor league game in Mesa. His fastball peaked at 93 mph and he struck out four of the 20 batters he faced.

STARTING TIME

Cubs: LHP Eric Jokisch, who will begin the season in the minors, allowed seven runs on 10 hits and a walk in 3 1-3 innings.

Rangers: Holland was pleased with his breaking ball. ''The curveball was probably one of my better pitches and it's one of my worst pitches in my repertoire,'' he said. ''So I'm glad I've got everything where I wanted it. I feel like I've got very good confidence in each pitch.''

NOT THE WRIGHT STUFF

Veteran RHP Jamey Wright, who pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings Monday, was released by the Rangers on Tuesday, the deadline to place him on the 40-man roster and guarantee him a $1 million base salary. In another move, the Rangers traded INF Elliot Johnson to the Dodgers for cash. The 31-year-old Johnson hit .194 but had a .350 on-base percentage, leading the club with eight walks.

RUA IS CHOSEN ONE

Rookie OF Ryan Rua, who homered Monday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, was tabbed as the Rangers' starting left fielder. ''I like the potential,'' Banister said. ''The power showed up and the ability to hit the ball the other way. He was the guy that continued the upward trend all spring.''

Jake Smolinski, who is hitting .353, was told he made the club as a spare outfielder. Adam Rosales, who played five positions last season, will open the season in a utility role.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers RHP Tanner Scheppers returned to Texas to have his sore right ankle examined by team orthopedist Dr. Keith Meister, who reported an MRI showed no structural damage. Scheppers will be able to resume a throwing program, but could open the season on the disabled list.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel will start Wednesday against the Brewers.

Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis will face the Rockies on Wednesday.

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