Impact deal for top reliever not yet formulating
Rangers inquiring about potential trades with Padres, A's, Marlins
SEATTLE -- There are two weeks to go before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and the Rangers are focused almost exclusively on relief pitching.The Rangers are not actively looking for starting pitching and they are happy with their center-field platoon of Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry. Bullpen remains their biggest concern, and they want a power right-handed arm at the end of the game. Texas' problem is that it's being turned away in pursuit of the most coveted relievers out there on non-contending teams. The Padres are willing to trade All-Star closer Heath Bell, but the Rangers would rather have right-handed setup reliever Mike Adams. But the Padres aren't willing to trade him. Luke Gregerson is another possibility.
The A's are semi-willing to talk about closer Andrew Bailey, but they want a massive return from the Rangers that includes first baseman Chris Davis, top prospect Martin Perez and one more good Minor League pitcher. Bailey can't be a free agent until 2014, and the Rangers have been told that the A's need three players back in any deal.The Marlins have told the Rangers that they might be willing to trade closer Leo Nunez, who may be the best out there as the Deadline approaches. The Rangers asked about Royals closer Joakim Soria and Orioles setup reliever Jim Johnson, but have been told they are not available. The Rangers made an impact trade last season for a starter when they acquired Cliff Lee from the Mariners. They would like to make an impact trade for a reliever, but the deal isn't there.
Texas alters rotation so Wilson faces LA
SEATTLE -- The Rangers are using their off-day on Monday to alter their rotation so that C.J. Wilson can pitch against the Angels in the three-game series that starts on Tuesday in Anaheim.Wilson, who started Saturday against the Mariners, will move ahead of Colby Lewis in the rotation and pitch on Thursday against the Angels. Lewis, who beat the Mariners on Friday, will be pushed back to next Friday against the Blue Jays at the Ballpark in Arlington. "I'm just trying to get C.J. against them and be on regular rest," said manager Ron Washington. The Angels went into Saturday's doubleheader against the A's with a record of 35-27 when their opponents have a right-hander on the mound, but they are just 15-16 against left-handed starters. They will see two southpaws against the Rangers, with Derek Holland scheduled to pitch on Wednesday.
Hamilton on RBI tear since return from DL
SEATTLE -- Josh Hamilton remains on an RBI tear. He was hitless in Friday's game against the Mariners, but a sacrifice fly gave him 44 RBIs in 45 games since coming off the disabled list.Despite missing eight weeks because of a hairline fracture in his right arm, Hamilton went into Saturday's game in Seattle tied for 20th in the American League with 51 RBIs. Hamilton is also averaging an RBI every 4.37 at-bats -- the second-best ratio in the Majors, behind St. Louis' Lance Berkman (4.32), among players with at least 50 games played. Hamilton will be back in Sunday's lineup in the Rangers' first day game of the second half. Hamilton hit .107 with a .161 slugging percentage in 16 day games during the first half, without a home run. "He'll be in there, unless he comes in and tells me he doesn't want to," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "I'm not making that decision."
Blanco swinging again, eyes rehab soon
SEATTLE -- Infielder Andres Blanco, on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his lower back, resumed swinging a bat this weekend in hopes of being able to go on a rehab assignment by the end of the Rangers' current road trip."Swinging is going to be the biggest step," Blanco said. "We want to make sure 100 percent that I don't feel anything, because we don't want to go back to the beginning. If we have to wait, we'll wait." The mystery is how Blanco hurt himself in the first place -- and he's not sure himself. "They keep asking me if I'm sure I didn't fall down in my house," Blanco said. "I just started feeling something, and those three days in Houston when Elvis [Andrus] didn't play, the thing started killing me. It was crazy." Blanco was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 7. Omar Quintanilla was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock, but he has yet to appear in a game.
The Rangers are only the sixth team in history to throw two shutouts on the road in their first two games after the All-Star break. The last team to do it was the 1997 Astros. The Angels are pitching three right-handers against the Rangers next week: Tyler Chatwood, Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. Manager Ron Washington said he plans on starting David Murphy in the outfield on Sunday. He considered it on Saturday, but wanted to stay with Endy Chavez in center.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.