Notes: Jaramillo a wanted man
Rangers hope to extend contract of popular hitting coach
ANAHEIM -- The Rangers have addressed manager Ron Washington's contract. The next step is to bring back all his coaches.At the top of the list is hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, whose contract is up at the end of the season. The other five coaches are signed through 2008, but Jaramillo's current three-year deal expires on the last day of the regular season. That means he can immediately start talking to other clubs, but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has begun talking with Jaramillo about a contract extension. "I generally don't like to discuss employee contracts publicly out of respect for those involved," Daniels said. "That said, I'd like to work something out with Rudy. We've spoken and we'll talk again, probably after this road trip." Jaramillo has been the Rangers' hitting coach since 1995, and he has a reputation for being one of the best in the game. He could be in high demand if clubs can negotiate with him immediately. Mets general manager Omar Minaya has known Jaramillo for over 20 years and could be in the market for a new hitting coach. The Mets fired Rick Down earlier this season and replaced him with Howard Johnson. But Jaramillo is optimistic about staying with the Rangers. "That's what I'm looking for," Jaramillo said. "I don't see any reason why we can't work something out." Washington made it clear to Daniels that he would like all his coaches back in 2008. Washington hired bench coach Art Howe and first-base coach Gary Pettis, but inherited Jaramillo, third-base coach Don Wakamatsu, pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Dom Chiti from Buck Showalter's staff. Washington admitted that he probably would have hired other people if given the choice back in November when he was hired as manager. But after going through a full season with this staff, Washington told Daniels that he is "very happy" with his coaches. "I'm sitting in the front of this turnaround, but they're the ones who have done all the work," Washington said. "As much as we've gone through, there's no way I can change right now. The right guys are here." The Rangers announced on Thursday that they were picking up a 2009 option on Washington's contract. Blalock to be activated: The Rangers are planning to activate third baseman Hank Blalock off the disabled list on Saturday when the active roster can be expanded to up to 40 players. Blalock, who has been sidelined since May because of shoulder surgery, will be available only as a pinch-hitter right now. Washington said he might use him as a designated hitter at some point next week, but Blalock is not ready to play the field. He is still trying to build up arm strength and is not yet comfortable making all the different throws from third base. "The strength and endurance is not there yet," Blalock said. "I'm not ready to play third base every day. There are some tricky throws I have to make, and I want to make sure my arm is solid." Blalock said he is hoping to be ready to play third base by the next road trip that starts on Sept. 11 in Detroit. September callups: The Rangers will also add pitcher Edinson Volquez to the roster on Saturday, but will hold off calling up any other players until the Oklahoma RedHawks are done with their season. The Rangers are expected to at least call up left-hander A.J. Murray, outfielder Freddy Guzman and an extra catcher when the RedHawks are done. Chris Stewart was with the Rangers earlier this season, but there is sentiment within the organization to bring up Guillermo Quiroz instead. Both are candidates to be a backup next season, and the Rangers would like to get a first-hand look at Quiroz. The Rangers have also talked about adding another pitcher, as well as outfielder Victor Diaz. McCarthy to resume throwing: Brandon McCarthy, on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, tried to begin his throwing program earlier this week, but was shut down because of some stiffness in his elbow. McCarthy said he thought the problem was caused by going two weeks without throwing to rest the shoulder blade. He said he will try to start throwing again on Saturday. Trade deadline passes: Another trade deadline passed Friday without the Rangers making a move. Friday was the last day teams could acquire a player and have him be eligible for the postseason roster, but clubs continued to show no interest in outfielder Sammy Sosa, first baseman Brad Wilkerson or pitcher Jamey Wright. All are free agents after the season, and all cleared waivers earlier this month. He said it: "The key is to throw strikes. If I throw strikes, I can do a good job. Last year, I was always behind in the count. When you get behind in the count, the hitter is up there thinking, 'This guy is going to throw it right down the middle.'" -- Volquez, who makes his first start for the Rangers on Saturday against the Angels. Thursday's Minor Stars:
Gold: Double-A Frisco pitcher Doug Mathis allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in a 4-3 victory over Corpus Christi. He is 3-1 with a 2.29 ERA in six starts in August.Silver: Class A Clinton infielder Jose Vallejo was 3-for-5 with two stolen bases in a 5-4 loss to Wisconsin. He has 44 stolen bases on the season. Bronze: Josh Rupe, in his second start since coming back from elbow surgery, threw two scoreless innings for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers in a 3-2 loss to the Brewers. Briefly: Outfielder Frank Catalanotto, sidelined for the second straight game with a strained groin muscle, said he is "hopeful" that he'll be back in the lineup on Saturday with right-hander Kelvim Escobar pitching for the Angels. ... Jason Botts made his eighth start in left field on Friday while Sosa started at designated hitter. Washington said he was done using Sosa in the outfield this season. Said Washington, "I've got all these young kids. I don't need to put him out there." ... The Rangers' charter arrived in Southern California at 1:05 a.m. PT on Friday morning following Thursday's night game against the White Sox. They were able to get to their hotel by 2 a.m. Up next: Volquez makes his first start of the season for the Rangers at 2:55 p.m. CT on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Escobar gets the start for the Halos.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.