Teagarden earning stripes with defense
Catcher displaying impressive skill set behind plate
OAKLAND -- Catcher Taylor Teagarden had a double and a home run on Friday night, but that's not what had Texas manager Ron Washington excited.Washington, always with an eye on defense, liked the way Teagarden was moving behind the plate. He liked his energy and quickness, the way he was blocking balls and working with pitcher Cliff Lee. Washington has been seeing that since Teagarden returned from the Minor Leagues. He has to see it and he emphatically told Teagarden that's what the Rangers need to see while he's up here. Teagarden came back on July 24 when Matt Treanor went on the disabled list with a sprained right knee. Teagarden was called up over Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Max Ramirez specifically because of his defense. "I want to see the defense that people have been talking about and since he's been back here, he's shown it," Washington said. "He can receive, he can block and he can throw. Those are the things people say he can do, he's just got to stay on top of it." Washington said Teagarden has shown it in the past, but not consistently. "He's beginning to show it," Washington said. "I see a different focus." Teagarden is still sharing playing time with veteran Bengie Molina. The Rangers also expect Treanor back later this month or by the beginning of September. Teagarden is still not the Rangers' No. 1 catcher. He does have the opportunity to show he can be the Rangers' catcher of the future although that's not an anointment. "Everybody says Teagarden is the best we've got," Washington said. "I hope he can take it and run with it. But he has to maintain it. He has to do everything everybody else does to keep his job. But if he keeps doing what he's doing, it's not going to be a problem." It all comes back to finally being the premium defensive catcher that the Rangers have long expected, showing energy and quickness behind the plate and developing a rapport with his pitchers. And do it every day. "That's what I've been told," Teagarden said. "I get the impression Washington likes to see that, especially on the defensive side, being much more attentive to defense, being quick on my feet, move around more, show more energy ... it's something I've had to improve on over the years. I've been told to work on that and I'm trying to take more pride in that." He still has to hit. Washington told Teagarden that he can't just completely forget about offense and Teagarden doesn't want to be known as a defensive specialist. "People tend to categorize players as either defensive or offensive," Teagarden said. "That's not always necessarily the case. At the big league level, you're expected to do both and I believe I can do both. I don't consider myself a defensive wizard. I think I can do both and that's the standard I hold myself to."
Daniels wants to maintain staff continuity
When the Rangers' new ownership group takes over next week, much focus will be on how much the club will be able to spend on payroll. People will want to know if the Rangers can re-sign Cliff Lee and whether they can be big players in the free agent market.General manager Jon Daniels acknowledged that's important and a luxury they haven't had in the past few years. "I think the biggest impact going forward will be the flexibility and creativity to consider some things we haven't been able to in the past," Daniels said. But, equally important to Daniels is being able to keep together the people that helped rebuild the Rangers, from his front office staff to the Major League coaching staff, the Minor League development people and the scouts who went out and found the talent. A team in financial distress is always in imminent jeopardy of being raided by other teams. Managing partner Chuck Greenberg and club president Nolan Ryan are committed to preventing that from happening. "They believe in attracting the right people, treating them well and keeping them in the organization," Daniels said. "The front office staff, the scouts, the coaches, that's critical. You've got to have talented players naturally, but you have to have the people to find them and develop them. What we were able to do as far as adding players this season is a tremendous credit to our scouting and player development people. "The better an organization does, the more opportunities they have elsewhere and it's critical to keep them in the organization. The bottom line is [the ownership change] is big for a lot."
Davis sparking trade interest from clubs
The Rangers are getting much trade interest in first baseman Chris Davis even though he is back in Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Boston Red Sox, who signed Carlos Delgado on Saturday, are among the teams that have shown interest. Major League sources say Davis has become a popular name.Davis continues to flourish at Triple-A Oklahoma City since being sent down at the beginning of August. He is 6-for-16 with seven RBIs in five games and is hitting .355 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs in 72 games there. Davis hit .188 with no home runs and three RBIs in 31 games at the big league level this season. But there are some who feel he could be a late-blooming bat in a similar manner as Carlos Pena and Russell Branyan. He also remains a standout defensive player. It's doubtful the Rangers will do something now that players have to clear waivers to be traded. Davis is unlikely to get through waivers without being claimed. But if Mitch Moreland convinces the Rangers that he can be their everyday first baseman, Davis could be a prime topic of conversation between the Rangers and other teams in the offseason.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Josh Hamilton will be his designated hitter on Sunday, giving Julio Borbon a chance to get back in the lineup. Borbon was out of the lineup on Saturday with David Murphy back in for the fourth straight game. ... Washington decided to start Taylor Teagarden at catcher on Saturday because it was a day game after a night game. He said Bengie Molina will start on Sunday. ... Rangers' No. 9 hitters are batting .282 for the season. That's the highest for any team in the American League.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.