OAKLAND -- Barry Bonds has one Rangers slugger firmly in his corner as he approaches Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.Sammy Sosa. Sosa, who is fifth all-time in home runs, is rooting for Bonds, who went into Wednesday's game with 751 home runs. He needs four to tie and five to break Aaron's record. "Sweet," Sosa said. "It's sweet. Somebody has to do it. He's doing it right now, and Alex Rodriguez is going to do it later. Records are made to be broken." That may be true, but not everybody has been rooting for Bonds, partly because of all the suspicions that have surrounded him the past several years. But Sosa counts Bonds as a friend and is looking forward to him breaking the record. "He's a good player," Sosa said. "He's going to do it and I'm supporting him. I do want to see him do it. People who don't want to see him do it, well, he's only four away with two months to go. Believe me, he's going to hit five home runs in two months." Sosa, however, refused to be drawn into any discussion as to whether Commissioner Bud Selig should be present when Bonds breaks the record. "I don't want to go there," Sosa said with a smile. "I'm doing good right now. I don't want any controversy. I'm happy." The Rangers will honor Sosa before Saturday's game with the Cleveland Indians for his 600th home run. Sosa hit it against the Chicago Cubs on June 20 and the Rangers will celebrate that in a pregame ceremony. Otsuka watch: Akinori Otsuka said his problem on Tuesday night was he couldn't get loose in the cool Oakland weather. Although the Rangers still don't believe there is anything structurally wrong with his arm, he'll be examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday in Dallas. The Rangers will know then if Otsuka needs to go on the disabled list, but manager Ron Washington admitted that may be the prudent move right now. Wes Littleton would likely be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma if that happens. Otsuka has not pitched since July 1 because of the problem in his right elbow/forearm area. "It's been a little bit of an enigma," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "The good news is there has been no significant pain or acute symptoms, but we want to make sure everything is all right." Padilla watch: Pitcher Vicente Padilla, on the disabled list with inflammation behind his right elbow, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday night. If that goes well, he'll make his second start for Double-A Frisco on medical rehabilitation assignment Friday night. The next stop after that could be a return to the Rangers' rotation. The Rangers still need a second pitcher for a doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, but it will not be Padilla. Washington said the Rangers are considering either right-hander Mike Wood or left-hander John Rheinecker. Both are currently at Triple-A Oklahoma. Hairston's excellent adventure: Jerry Hairston started in right field on Wednesday, his second start there this season. He has started 11 times at second, twice at third, four times in left and 13 times in center. He has not started at shortstop but did so once last year. That leaves first base, catcher and pitcher. "I played first base one time, but I didn't start," Hairston said. "I was with the Cubs and we had that big brawl [Michael Barrett and A.J. Pierzynski] with the White Sox. John Mabry got kicked out of the game." And catcher? "Cape Cod League in college," Hairston said. "It was an emergency at first, but then I became the regular catcher. That was my first position. I caught all the way up through my junior year in high school, and then they moved me to shortstop. I wasn't growing anymore." Hairston hasn't pitched since his childhood days but has dreams of playing all nine positions in a game. "I would love to," Hairston said. "Not like to. Love to."
He said it: "There must have been something wrong with the mound, because everybody was having problems ... except Ron Mahay." -- Washington, on all the 15 walks by both teams in Tuesday's gameBotts on Oklahoma DL: Oklahoma RedHawks outfielder/DH Jason Botts was placed on the seven-day Pacific Coast League disabled list on Wednesday after sustaining stitches and a fractured tip of his right ring finger in Tuesday night's game at AutoZone Park in Memphis.
Botts, who turns 27 on July 26, was injured as a shallow pop fly in Tuesday's sixth inning grazed his finger as he made a catch in the 7-1 RedHawks victory. He was batting .319 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs.
Fan fare: Pitchers Brandon McCarthy and C.J. Wilson and outfielder Marlon Byrd will be signing autographs at the Texas Rangers Dallas store from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. There will also be a live dot race. The store is located at 2222 McKinney Ave.Tuesday's Minor Stars: Gold: Class A Bakersfield's Chris Davis doubled to extend his hitting streak to 35 games and tie a California League record. Bakersfield won, 15-3, as Taylor Teagarden, Freddy Thon and Craig Gentry each had three hits, and Micah Furtado hit a grand slam. Silver: Triple-A Oklahoma first baseman Nate Gold hit a three-run home run while Dave Mantranga and Tim Hulett all had three hits in a 7-1 victory over Memphis. Bronze: Class A Spokane pitcher Jacob Brigham pitched six scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over Vancouver. Up next: Right-hander Kameron Loe opens up a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians at 7:35 p.m. CT on Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Left-hander C.C. Sabathia pitches for the Indians.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.