Notes: Sosa may be back in 2008
Rangers still plan to evaluate all their options in the offseason
SEATTLE -- The Rangers have expressed interest in bringing Sammy Sosa back in 2008, but expect him to go out and test the free-agent market.If the Rangers do bring Sosa back, it may be only as a platoon designated hitter, but they won't know that until they examine all their options in the offseason. Those were some of the sentiments that general manager Jon Daniels conveyed to Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, in a meeting on Friday here in Seattle. "It's that time of year," Daniels said. "The meeting was to let both sides know where we stand. From my perspective and the organization's perspective, the year with Sammy was a success. "I talked to Adam about the dynamics of the decisions we have to make. There are positions that are interrelated and could affect what we do at DH. It's probably best to let Sammy see what the market is, but we'll stay in touch." If the Rangers do want a DH next year who has hit at least 600 home runs in his career, then it will be Sosa. Club officials have made it clear they will not be interested in pursuing Barry Bonds as a free agent. Katz acknowledged the meeting and said it went well, but declined to discuss specifics. Sosa went into Friday's game hitting .252 with a club-leading 21 home runs and 92 RBIs, even though he has spent the past two months in a part-time role. He has started just 18 of the Rangers' last 55 games after a stretch where started 20 of 25 games. His last 44 starts have been at DH as the Rangers have stopped using him in the outfield. Instead, the Rangers have been focused on evaluating young players like Jason Botts, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. The results have been mixed, and the Rangers go into the offseason looking for ways to get more offense and power from their outfield. "We've got a number of moving parts as far as how the outfield sets up, first base sets up, and it will affect the DH a bit," Daniels said. "We need to do due diligence in other areas. Adam understands that." Sosa is expected to make his last start of the season on Saturday. Fall league: The Rangers are sending infielders Chris Davis and German Duran to the Arizona Fall League, replacing John Whittleman and Joaquin Arias. Whittleman is going to instructional league instead, and Arias is still recovering from a shoulder injury.
Otsuka as closer: Daniels said reliever Akinori Otsuka, sidelined with tendinitis in his right elbow/forearm, is expected to start throwing at the end of October. The Rangers don't expect him to undergo surgery, but they do want to know by Dec. 20 if he'll be at full strength next year.That's the non-tender date. That's when players can become free agents if their clubs decline to tender them a contract for the 2008 season. "We just want a comfort level that he'll be ready to go next year," Daniels said. "Our doctors haven't seen anything that indicates he won't be." Daniels said he is planning on tendering Otsuka a contract, saying his salary is already in the budget. Daniels also said that if Otsuka is 100 percent next year, he could end up being the closer again. "If he's Aki," Daniels said. "If he's healthy and he's 100 percent. I don't want to speak for the manager, but if he's capable of doing what he does, he's as good as there is." Loe may have surgery: The Rangers are discussing the possibility of pitcher Kameron Loe undergoing surgery on his right elbow. The surgery would be an arthroscopic procedure just to clean up the elbow, and Loe would likely be able to resume throwing in a month. "This is two years in a row that he's had some end-of-season soreness," Daniels said. "Our medical staff is discussing the best course of action, whether it's rehab or a cleanup with surgery. But it will be just a scope to clean it up with minimal downtime." End of year meetings: Both Daniels and manager Ron Washington are spending their time in Seattle meeting with individual players to discuss their situations and next season. "I'm just talking to them about what I expect and what we want to accomplish in Spring Training," Washington said. "I just want them to come in with the right focus. I don't want us to be struggling in April and May like we did this year." Daniels wants to meet with all the coaches. The Rangers want all six back, but hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's contract expires on Oct. 31 and no progress has been made to getting him re-signed. It's likely that Jaramillo will at least consider other offers once his contract is up. "We've got another month before we're at that point, but there's a decent chance of that happening based on our conversations," Daniels said. "Rudy has asked me to deal with his agent, which is unusual, but I'll certainly respect that." Rookie hazing: The Rangers flight from Texas to Seattle on Thursday lasted four hours. For the rookies, it might have seemed longer. They were forced to wear exotic costumes as part of the annual rookie hazing ritual. Luis Mendoza got off easy. He only had to wear a gorilla suit. Jason Botts dressed up as Wonder Woman, catcher Guillermo Quiroz wore a Hooters outfit, pitchers Armando Galarraga and A.J. Murray wore lingerie and fishnet stockings, outfielder David Murphy dressed as Tinkerbell and Travis Metcalf wore a tutu. "That's definitely the first time and hopefully the last time," Metcalf said. Jarrod Saltalamacchia wore a big baby diaper, hat and cigar. "Baby Huey," Washington said. "When we got to the hotel some group was having a big banquet and he walked right in there." He said it: "This year has been a big disappointment. I know at the beginning I felt good coming into Spring Training. But to get hurt on Opening Day and have it linger all year is disappointing. This game is hard as it is healthy but to have back problems all year is tough." -- Infielder Jerry Hairston, who has been dealing with a broken rib on his backside all year and may need surgery after the season Briefly: The Rangers are leaning toward either Galarraga or Murray as their starting pitcher on Sunday. If Vicente Padilla pitches, it will be in relief, and it doesn't look like Brandon McCarthy will get another start. ... The Rangers have won at least 14 games in each of the last four months. The last time that happened was in 1999, the year they won their last American League West division title. Up next: Right-hander Kevin Millwood makes his last start of the season against the Mariners at 9:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Miguel Batista starts for the Seattle.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.