OAKLAND -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus was out of the Rangers' starting lineup for the third straight game with tightness in his lower back. Leonys Martin joined him on the bench Tuesday night, getting a day off after going 1-for-5 with four strikeouts on Monday afternoon in a 4-2 loss to the Athletics.
Martin has three hits in his last 19 at-bats and is hitting .175 in his last 14 games. He has cooled off as a leadoff hitter but manager Ron Washington is not planning any lineup changes. Martin is going to continue to bat first and Ian Kinsler will stay in the No. 3 hole. The Rangers went into Tuesday having scored exactly two runs in four straight games.
"I don't have any other options I want to try," Washington said. "I wish juggling was the answer. These guys have to do their job where they are. That's the bottom line. Just stay with it, don't panic and it will come around."
Andrus tested his back with some pregame running and hitting in the batting cage. He passed those tests but is still having trouble bending over. He may not play until Friday in Anaheim.
"I feel better for sure than the past few days," Andrus said. "I still feel some pain in the middle of my lower back, but it's a lot less. I'm trying to get my body ready to go but I don't want to be out there 50 percent."
Rangers pondering Tepesch's next assignment
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Nick Tepesch came off the disabled list and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings against the Athletics on Monday afternoon. Now the Rangers are trying to decide if he's ready to go back in the rotation in place of Travis Blackley.
Blackley had been scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Angels. Instead, the Rangers, with an off-day on Thursday, are pushing up Derek Holland so he can pitch on his normal four days' rest. The Rangers are officially undecided on who will pitch on Sunday. They don't plan on using Martin Perez on four days' rest, manager Ron Washington said.
"We'll just see," Washington said. "It could be Blackley, it could be Tepesch, it could be somebody else."
It will not be Alexi Ogando. He was activated off the DL on Tuesday but is not ready to return to the rotation. He is in the bullpen for now and Washington said he'll try to find a non-pressure situation to use Ogando for the first time.
Tepesch entered Monday's game in the fifth inning with the Rangers down by two. The Athletics had two on with two out. Tepesch retired Alberto Callaspo on a grounder to first; then retired nine of 10 batters in the final three innings.
"A tremendous job," Washington said. "He was able to spot his fastball, he used his slider, sunk the ball. He did a great job, he really did. He certainly didn't look rusty."
It was the first time Tepesch pitched in a Major League game since going on the DL July 7 with inflammation in his right elbow. He needed just 28 pitches to get through his first relief appearance at the big league level.
"It felt good to be back out there," Tepesch said. "They were being aggressive in putting the ball in play and I was trying to be aggressive and take advantage of it."
Pierzynski adds to 100-game streak
OAKLAND -- Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was in the Rangers' lineup on Tuesday night, and it was his 100th game behind the plate this season. This is the 13th straight season Pierzynski has caught 100 games, tying the record held by Johnny Bench, Bill Dickey and Brad Ausmus. Bench and Dickey are in the Hall of Fame.
"Anytime you get thrown in there with a guy like Johnny Bench it's pretty cool," Pierzynski said. "This means I'm old and have been around for a while. I've been fortunate and lucky and I thank my parents they gave me good genes to keep me healthy. I remember when I first came up and I was 23-24, I was thinking I've got to do this for 10 more years.
"Everybody wants to get 10 years in. To still be going out there healthy every day is special. It's not something you can count on. You never know what will happen, especially catching."
Pierzynski would like to make it 14 straight seasons. He turns 37 in December and can be a free agent after the season.
"I don't know ... where am I going to play," Pierzynski said. "We still have 25 games left and hopefully a long postseason. I don't know what will happen but I do want to play and play every day. Hopefully I can find a place and hopefully it's Texas."
Murphy trying to increase production
OAKLAND -- David Murphy was 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk on Monday afternoon and the Rangers want to see more of that. Murphy has been told by manager Ron Washington that he needs to be more productive offensively or he'll possibly lose playing time.
"I don't need to be woken up," Murphy said. "The effort and the preparation haven't been lacking, the only thing lacking are the results. I feel like I've done everything possible to get to the point of having consistent success, it just hasn't happened.
"But the great part of the game is we're in a race for the division, it doesn't matter what's happened in the past. All that matter is how I can contribute today and the rest of the season to help this team win the division and more."
Murphy, who was back in the lineup on Tuesday, went into the game hitting .222 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. He had a .281 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage. He had a career .348 on-base percentage and .453 slugging percentage going into the season. The Rangers have called up three outfielders for September: Engel Beltre, James Adduci and Joey Butler. Beltre and Adduci are left-handed hitters.
• The Rangers activated pitcher Alexi Ogando off the disabled list, giving them 36 players in uniform for Tuesday's game. The only four players on the 40-man roster not called up are pitchers Josh Lindblom, Wilmer Font and Roman Mendez and first baseman Chris McGuiness.
• Outfielder Joe Benson, who was designated for assignment on Monday to make room on the 40-man roster, has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Round Rock.
• Round Rock infielder Mike Bianucci was the final Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. He was 9-for-19 with three home runs and eight RBIs in five games. Round Rock's season ended Monday.
• Joey Gallo finished with 40 home runs this season, 38 with Class A Hickory and two with the Arizona Rookie League Rangers on a rehab assignment. That was the most in the Minors and he is the recipient of the Joe Bauman Award. That goes to the Minor League player with the most home runs and he will be honored at the Winter Meetings. The Rangers record for home runs by a Minor Leaguer is 41 set by Tom Robson is 1974 while at Triple-A Spokane.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.