OAKLAND -- With two weeks to go before the Trade Deadline, three things are clear as far as the Rangers' position.1. They are still hoping that their starting pitching will be good enough so that they won't have to make a blockbuster trade. Getting Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz healthy are paramount to the process, and the Rangers are still evaluating Roy Oswalt. 2. They are aggressively staying on top of the trade possibilities in case they decide to make a move. 3. They will not hesitate to make a move because they remain committed to a "win now" mode. "We're in the same spot as before," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're getting healthy. We're getting Lewis back, we're getting a couple of [relievers] back in Oakland and Feliz is doing well. That's the biggest thing, getting all our guys back and getting a good read on them. "Beyond that, we're always open if there is an opportunity to improve. But we're still in the same spot. I'm hoping we won't need to be real active because our guys are healthy and producing." Daniels declined to discuss any specifics, but the Rangers know what's out there. They know that Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke are the two potentially biggest pitching prizes on the trade market. They are scouting and monitoring both. They know that the Cubs could move right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. The Rangers have strong interest in Hamels, knowing he would be a clear upgrade. They also know that the competition will be fierce. Two years ago they landed Cliff Lee from the Mariners for first baseman Justin Smoak, infielder Matt Lawson and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke. A comparable trade this time around would be infielder Mike Olt, infielder Hanser Alberto and pitchers Justin Grimm and Johan Yan. Both Hamels and Greinke are eligible for free agency at the end of the year. If the Rangers acquire one of them and then lose them to free agency, as they did with Lee, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents the club from receiving Draft-pick compensation. Players have to be with a club for a full season in order to be subject to compensation. That would unlikely deter the Rangers. Their goal is to win the World Series, and they would not fret over the lack of a Draft pick if they felt a particular player will help them achieve that goal. Right now, the Rangers are trying to determine whether what they currently have is good enough to achieve that goal. If they decide it is not, they could get aggressive very quickly.
Rangers not likely to deal for offensive help
OAKLAND -- The Rangers' offense hasn't been as good as they hoped lately, but it's still unlikely to be an area of emphasis as the Trade Deadline approaches. The Rangers have a set lineup, and unless there is a major injury, they are prepared to stay with that group."I just don't see much we're going to do," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Our guys are our guys. Obviously they have been less consistent than you would like to see. The quality of at-bats haven't been great, but we still lead the league in runs. You could look at it either way. "We're going to get Mitch Moreland [strained left hamstring] back. When he's right, he's capable of giving us quality at-bats. That's what we need right now, is guys doing what they're capable of doing." Daniels did admit the Rangers are open to doing something to add more offense off the bench, rather than trading for a front-line player. "That's one area that's fair to say we are looking at some different things," Daniels said. "The guys who have been in those roles have done a fine job. Our regulars don't get much time off and hopefully they stay healthy. Some of the guys on the bench haven't gotten an extended chance. But if the opportunity to bolster the bench is there, we're going to look at it."
Rangers cautious with Uehara
OAKLAND -- The Rangers' plan to activate reliever Koji Uehara off the disabled list on Tuesday was scuttled when Uehara reported some stiffess in the lat muscle in his right rib cage after pitching a scoreless inning for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday night.Uehara felt good after the game, but the stiffness set in on Sunday. "We're not going to push it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Once we take him off the disabled list, if something happens to him, he has to go back on for another 15 days." The Rangers do not believe Uehara reinjured the muscle. They just feel he needs more time and he's not expected to throw for a couple of days. "It might be just 3-4-5 days, just so he can let us know that he's good," Washington said. "It might not be anything. At least he's staying in communication and letting us know how he feels. Once he let us know about this, we shut him down." Uehara is expected to pitch at least once more time on rehab assignment before he's activated. He has been sidelined since June 10 after posting a 2.10 ERA in his first 20 outings."
Napoli back in Rangers lineup
OAKLAND -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli was back in the lineup on Tuesday after missing two games in Seattle because of a bruise above his right knee. He went through a series of agility drills early Tuesday afternoon without problem."He was fine before that," manager Ron Washington said. "Nap told me on Sunday if I needed him, he could go. I offered to DH him [Tuesday], but he's said he's ready to go." "I'm good to go," Napoli said. "I'd rather catch. I love catching. Plus DHing here is tough. It's cold, no [batting] cage, nowhere to go. But that had nothing to do with it. I'd rather catch." The Rangers are without catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who was placed on 72-hour paternity leave as his wife was due to give birth on Tuesday. He is expected to be back with the Rangers on Friday in Anaheim. Luis Martinez remains with the Rangers as their backup catcher. The Rangers have a day game on Wednesday but Washington said he expects Napoli to start that game as well. "If he gets out of tonight's game fine, he'll be ready to go," Washington said.
Washington is going back to Michael Young in the fifth spot and Nelson Cruz in the sixth spot. Washington accidently put Cruz in the fifth spot in Saturday's game after the All-Star break. Washington left him there after Cruz had a three-hit game, but he prefers Young in the fifth spot. Young was 8-for-17 in his last four games going into Tuesday. First baseman Mitch Moreland, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, went through a series of agility drills on Tuesday without any problem. The next test will be on Friday when Moreland works out for the first time since injuring the hamstring on June 19. He still hasn't run the bases at full speed, and that's usually the final test. The Rangers' game with the Angels on July 30 has been moved from 7:05 p.m. CT to 6:05 p.m. CT for a national telecast on ESPN. It will still be carried in the Dallas-Fort Worth market on FOX Southwest. The Rangers have announced their Minor League award winners for June. Frisco infielder Mike Olt (.325, 10 HR, 24 RBIs) was the Offensive Player of the Month, Myrtle Beach right-hander Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 1.78 ERA) was the Pitcher of Month, Frisco right-hander Ryan Rodebaugh (0.69 ERA, one save) was the Reliever of the Month and Myrtle Beach third baseman Christian Villanueva was the Defender of the Month.
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.