Littleton back on track

After a disappointing spring training, Wes Littleton has been lights-out with Triple-A Oklahoma. Lone Star Dugout's Bill Conrad caught up with the reliever earlier this week.

Wes Littleton enjoyed a successful college career as a starting pitcher at Cal State Fullerton, before being drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. Littleton had immediate success with the Rangers, as he debuted in short-season Spokane by going 6-0 with a 1.56 ERA.

Littleton remained a starting pitcher at High-A Stockton in 2004, when he went 8-10 with a 4.15 ERA. The 2004 season was more about fine tuning his new sidearm delivery, and the results showed in 2005 when he went 2-3 with a 3.97 ERA out of the Frisco bullpen.

Double-A hitters proved no match for Littleton in 2006, as he had a 0.66 ERA in 27 1/3 innings to start the season, before being promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma. He was not in Triple-A for long, as the Rangers promoted him to he big leagues in late May. He earned wins in his first two appearances, before being sent back to Triple-A in June.

He was called up for good in July and finished the season in the big leagues with a 2-1 record, with one save and a 1.73 ERA. Littleton was penciled into the big league bullpen heading into the season, but command issues in spring training led to him opening the year back in Oklahoma. Littleton has worked 10 1/3 innings so far in 2007, allowing only one run. The control issues he had in spring training appear to have vanished, as he has walked only one while striking out four.

Lone Star Dugout caught up to Littleton before the RedHawks' April 23 game in Round Rock.

Lone Star Dugout: You had disappointing spring training, was there anything mechanical behind your struggles?

Wes Littleton: I don't really know what the problem was. I was thinking too much. I had some things unrelated to baseball on my mind, but that is cleared up now. I think I am back on the right track to getting back up to the majors.

LSD: What have the Rangers done to change your mechanics since they drafted you in fourth round of the 2003 draft out of Cal State Fullerton?

Littleton: I threw with a three-quarters arm angle in college, and when they drafted me they had me drop down more sidearm. It came to me naturally because I had experimented with different arm angles when I was younger.

LSD: Do you still throw three-quarters at times in games?

Littleton: When I am facing left-handed hitters, I sometimes throw three-quarters to get a little more velocity and to show the hitters something different. It gives them something else to think about.

LSD: What has been your favorite moment in your baseball life?

Littleton: The best moment was getting my first win and save of my major league career out in Anaheim. I am from California and my whole family was there to see it.

LSD: You played at a big-time college program at Cal State Fullerton, how much did that help your baseball career?

Littleton: It definitely helped a lot. I give the coaches there a lot of credit because of the coaching and advice they gave me. They also had a lot of good things to say to the scouts which helped me in getting drafted.

LSD: Do you still see any of your former teammates at Fullerton such as Chad Cordero [Washington Nationals closer], Kurt Suzuki or Jason Windsor [both in the Oakland Athletics system]?

Littleton: You don't see them too much during the season because we are all in different places, but it is nice run into them during the season. We had great relationships in college and we all have the same goal of getting to the major leagues.

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