The Texas Rangers finally get a chance to face the pitcher who snubbed them 12 years ago.
Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff will oppose the Rangers for the first time in his seven-year major league career when he takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night in Arlington, Texas.
Woodruff was selected by Texas in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Wheeler High School in Mississippi, but the right-hander opted to play at Mississippi State instead.
Three years later, after falling from Friday night starter to a relief role for the Bulldogs, Woodruff was drafted in the 11th round by the Brewers, 152 spots lower than he was selected by the Rangers.
Woodruff has proven to be a wise investment for Milwaukee, making the NL All-Star team in 2019 and 2021.
He was sidelined for nearly four months earlier this season with shoulder inflammation, but he appears to be rounding into form as Milwaukee tries to hold on to first place in the NL Central.
Woodruff (2-1, 1.99 ERA) came off the 60-day IL on Aug. 6 and limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to two runs and four hits in five innings, striking out nine without a walk. However, he took a 4-1 defeat.
He returned to the mound six days later and pitched into the seventh inning for the first time since Sept. 17, 2022, holding the Chicago White Sox to two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings before earning the win in a 3-2 victory. He struck out five and walked one.
"He's in a really good place after two starts," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell. "I'm looking forward to handing him the ball the rest of the year."
His teammates are glad to have him back on the active roster, too.
"That's a big, scary guy," Brewers closer Devin Williams said. "You always feel good when you've got him on the mound. You know he's going to put up some zeros and give us a chance to win."
The Rangers are coming off a 2-0 loss against the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, preventing the AL West leaders from securing their fifth three-game sweep at home since the All-Star break.
Texas will try to get back to its winning ways behind Andrew Heaney (9-6, 4.17 ERA). The left-hander is looking to bounce back after being lifted in the second inning of his Saturday outing against the San Francisco Giants.
An illness in between starts had interrupted Heaney's usual preparation, and Texas manager Bruce Bochy didn't waste any time lifting Heaney after he gave up a run in the first inning and the Giants loaded the bases against him with no outs in the second.
Heaney struck out the last batter he faced before Grant Anderson came in and induced an inning-ending double play. The Rangers eventually won 9-3.
Heaney is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers, both last August when he was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He struck out 20 and walked two over 10 2/3 innings during those outings.
—Field Level Media