Notes: Braves may deal for Teixeira
Atlanta may be willing to part with Saltalamacchia
ARLINGTON -- The Atlanta Braves appear to be pushing the hardest for Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira and would likely give up catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the return package.But the Rangers also want pitching, and general manager Jon Daniels continues to have discussions with a number of clubs as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. The Braves, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have shown the most interest of late. The Braves view Teixeira as both a big bat for the stretch run and he could help offset the loss of Andruw Jones to free agency in the offseason. They have always been aggressive in making deals at the deadline. The Dodgers appear to be focused on relief pitching, and the Red Sox so far are resisting the Rangers' high demands. They have made it known they will not part with Double-A pitching prospect Clay Buchholz, who is at the top of Texas' wish list. Rangers manager Ron Washington, with a week to go, knows he has to prepare for life without Teixeira but he is trying to keep his team's focus on the field and not on trade rumors. "I don't let it bother me," Washington said. "My focus is just to get these guys together, make out a lineup and prepare them to play the game. It doesn't affect my focus. [Daniels] has to do what he has to do. He has to talk to all those people this time of year. My focus is on what's going on between the lines. "If Mark is not here, we're going to miss him because of what he brings to the game," Washington said. "He can make a difference. This team is not better without him, but that's just the way baseball is. But we will adjust because if Mark leaves, we'll get something for him." Wounded watch: The latest on the Rangers who are on the disabled list. The Rangers have set Ian Kinsler's rehabilitation assignment schedule. He is expected to report to Triple-A Oklahoma on Friday and play four games for the RedHawks. The Rangers are hoping he can be activated by July 31 when they are in Cleveland. Hank Blalock continues to build up arm strength while still recovering from right shoulder surgery. He has been able to hit and run but still has some numbness in his right hand and still is unable to make all the throws from third base. Said Washington, "You can't catch the ball and then pass it off to somebody else to throw it." Reliever Akinori Otsuka said he had no problems playing catch on Monday and will do so on flat ground again on Wednesday. If that goes well, he could have a bullpen session on Friday and then pitch on a medical rehabilitation assignment. But it's doubtful that Otsuka will be able to pitch in a Major League game before the trade deadline. The Rangers are still getting interest in him even though he hasn't pitched since July 1. "Maybe nobody will want him," Washington said. "That's their loss, and it will be our gain." Gagne watch: Eric Gagne allowed a season-high three runs in the ninth inning on Monday, but it wasn't a save situation and the Rangers still won, 8-7. Gagne said he needed to focus better and it shouldn't matter that it was a non-save situation. "It's still a Major League game," Gagne said. But Gagne has been better in save situations this season. After recording his 15th save in Game 1 on Tuesday, Gagne has allowed one run in 16 innings when pitching in a save situation and seven runs in 16 1/3 innings when it hasn't been a save opportunity. "Maybe his command was off a little bit [Monday night]," Washington said. "When you're facing a team like the Seattle Mariners, the way they swing the bat, you don't have much room to make a mistake." Gagne has pitched twice in the last week, and both were with four-run leads just to get him work. "He needs to pitch," Washington said. "The more he pitches, the more he's going to zero in." He said it: "He's meant a great deal to this game: his work ethic and energy for the game, running out every ball. He played the game the way it's supposed to be played. He always gave total effort. It's very rare nowadays to see a guy start and finish his career with the same team. That speaks volumes about the kind of guy he was." -- Art Howe, Rangers dugout coach and former Astros manager, on Craig Biggio retiring Monday's Minor League stars:
Gold: Salomon Manriquez hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to lead Double-A Frisco past Midland, 5-4. It was Manriquez's second home run in as many days.Silver: Chad Tracy carried the offense, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs as Class A Clinton came back from a six-run deficit to defeat Cedar Rapids, 8-6. Bronze: Luis Mendoza won his 11th game of the season for Frisco, tying for the league lead. He allowed three runs on five hits with six strikeouts over seven innings. Briefly: The starting time for the Rangers' game on Aug. 18 at Minnesota has been pushed back to 6:35 p.m. CT because of pregame ceremonies to honor the Twins' 1987 World Series championship team. ... Gerald Laird (bruised hand) is back to full strength and is expected to start Game 2 of the Tuesday doubleheader. Up next: Right-hander Brandon McCarthy pitches for the Rangers against right-hander Miguel Batista of the Mariners on Wednesday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CT.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.