ARLINGTON -- Rod Barajas is prominent among possible catchers whom the Rangers are scouting as spring moves into summer, and the July 31 Trade Deadline gets closer.
The Rangers had interest in Barajas in the offseason as a free agent, and industry sources said the club will have interest again if the Mets look to move him.
The Mets are not in a selling mode yet. But they are sitting in last place in the National League East, while Barajas is off to a strong start. He went into the weekend series with the Yankees hitting .276, with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in his first 33 games.
The Rangers have been making a number of calls to other clubs in search of possible catching help as Barajas' name has come up. If the Mets do sell, Major League officials said it won't be until much closer to the trade deadline.
Barajas agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract with the Mets early in Spring Training, with up to another $1 million possible in performance bonuses. That's a contract well within the Rangers' strict financial limits.
The Rangers have been satisfied to this point with the combination of Matt Treanor and Max Ramirez but still have some concerns. Treanor is 34 and has never been a regular at the Major League level.
The Rangers are 16-8 in games Treanor has started, but he is 9-for-50 in his last 17 games to drop his batting average from .265 to .214. The Rangers have been impressed with the work he has done with the pitching staff but don't want to wear him down as the hot summer progresses.
Treanor caught three games in a row but was out of the lineup on Friday; Max Ramirez got the start and will also start on Saturday. Manager Ron Washington said Treanor will catch on Sunday and likely get both games in Kansas City on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We just have to protect him as best we can," Washington said. "I haven't seen anything that's caused alarm."
The Rangers started the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden as their catchers, but both are in the Minor Leagues and not expected back anytime soon. Saltalamacchia is with Triple-A Oklahoma City, trying to straighten out his throwing issues, and Teagarden, after going 3-for-27 to start the season, is at Double-A Frisco.
Rangers getting national TV exposure
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' game with the Tampa Rays on June 5 at the Ballpark in Arlington has been moved from 7:05 p.m. CT to 3:10 p.m., so it can be included on the FOX Saturday broadcasts.
That makes it seven, as far as the number of times the Rangers are being included on the Saturday FOX package. The maximum number is nine. The Rangers have already been on twice, in games against the Mariners.
The Rangers will get plenty of national exposure -- at least by their standards -- in the next few weeks. Saturday's game against the Cubs is on FOX, and so is the game against the Twins on May 29. Sunday's game will be the Rangers' first appearance this season on ESPN's Sunday night broadcasts.
Jaramillo looks back fondly at time in Texas
ARLINGTON -- Chicago Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo returned on Friday night to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where he spent the last 15 years.
"I'll tell you what, it's really strange, but it's great being here," Jaramillo said. "I've been here so long, and I think I really realized it when we took [off] from Arizona in the plane [following Spring Training], and I was always used to coming home, and I was going to Atlanta. It feels a little strange, but I'm getting used to it."
Jaramillo served as the Rangers' hitting coach from 1995-2009 but declined a contract offer with the Rangers in the offseason and instead signed with Chicago. But Jaramillo, who grew up in Dallas, still considers himself a fan of his former team.
"I tell you what, I pull for the Rangers. I'm in the National League, and my favorite team is the Rangers. I pull for 'em," Jaramillo said. "I check their box scores, I'm checking their scores during the game all the time because they mean a lot to me. I'm going to have players on both sides that I care a lot about."
Jaramillo is considered one of the top hitting instructors in the game. Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Alex Rodriguez all won MVP Awards with the Rangers under Jaramillo. He was close with many current Rangers but realized that a new atmosphere was needed.
"I was here so long, I have a great relationship with all of those young kids that are going to play tonight," Jaramillo said prior to the series opener. "These guys are doing great. They're in first place. I tip my hat to them, and I hope they keep it going. I do miss these kids because I was close to them. I've had a lot of them for so many years. ... We continue to be friends, and I'll still see a lot of them in the winter."
Despite walking down the visitor's hallway, a place he had "never even been in before," it still leads to the same field where he created so many memories.
"I think the most important thing was when Johnny Oates was here, and we won those three divisional championships that happened for the first time ... driving in, looking at this great ballpark," Jaramillo said. "The memories are the times when you won and all the hard work you put in with these young men and the results they got. ... Those are the things to remember."
Washington pleased with Arias at first base
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was thrilled with the work of Joaquin Arias at first base on Thursday night and said he won't be afraid to use Arias there in the future. Arias made his first Major League start at the position.
Arias handled nine chances, including one assist, without a flaw before Justin Smoak came in defensively late in the game.
"He was awesome," Washington said. "I had no doubt he could play well there. He looked like a natural to me. He looked confident to me. He looked like he was having fun. He didn't have any stress or tension on him. If you're an athlete, it's easy."
Smoak was back at first base on Friday, and Arias probably won't start again for awhile. Washington wanted to give Smoak a break. But this does give Washington an option if he wants to pinch-run for Smoak late in the game.
Josh Hamilton turned 29 years old on Friday. ... David Murphy was in the lineup on Friday with left-hander Ted Lilly on the mound for the Cubs. Julio Borbon sat for the second straight game against a left-hander throwing against the Rangers. ... If the Twins stay in rotation, expect the Rangers to face Kevin Slowey, Carl Pavano and Scott Baker during their three-game series in Minnesota from May 28-30. ... Doug Mathis made his first start on Friday for the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks. ... The 35 hits between the Rangers and Orioles in Thursday's game were the most by two teams in a Major League game this season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.