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05/27/07 8:30 PM ET

Notes: McCarthy remains a question

Bullpen session Monday will tell if scheduled start holds up

ARLINGTON -- If the Texas Rangers are retaining any hopes of climbing back into the race in the American League West -- or even the Wild Card race -- the consensus is they will need pitcher Brandon McCarthy.

While McCarthy's 4-4 record is far from overwhelming, he is one of only two pitchers on the Rangers' staff who are not below .500. The other is Robinson Tejeda (4-4), Monday's probable starter as the team makes its first trip to Oakland since former A's assistant Ron Washington took over as the Rangers' manager this season.

McCarthy left Friday's 10-6 loss to Boston in Arlington after two innings with a blister on his right middle finger. He walked four of the first five batters he faced in the second, and all four scored.

McCarthy's problem began Thursday. He lost a layer of skin off the finger, but said that often happens and he uses medicated cream to toughen up the new layer of skin.

However, on a night that featured a rain delay of nearly two hours, the cream didn't help much in the hot Texas humidity.

McCarthy's next scheduled start is Wednesday in Oakland, and Washington is hopeful he will keep his allotted place in the rotation. The Rangers will know more Monday after McCarthy throws in the bullpen.

McCarthy threw just 12 pitches in the bullpen Sunday. The team is leaving it in the hands of team trainers Jamie Reed and Kevin Harmon as to whether or not he'll start.

"I hate to say, but judging by today, it doesn't look great," McCarthy said about the possibility of starting Wednesday. The pitcher says the finger in question remains "pretty tender."

If McCarthy is unable to pitch, John Koronka could take his place. In Koronka's latest start for Triple-A Oklahoma, he allowed three runs in seven innings, giving up eight hits, walking four and striking out five.

No tinkering with the lineup: Washington isn't adverse to the idea of altering his team's batting order, but if anyone has any suggestions...

"I look at the batting order every day. There's not a whole lot of adjustments I can make past Sammy [Sosa, cleanup hitter], other than moving [Ian Kinsler, the No. 7 hitter] around," Washington said. "I don't want to move him up and put all that pressure on him."

As for Michael Young's quest to continue to raise his batting average following a dismal start to the season, Washington said he's not concerned about his hitting star. Before going 0-for-4 in Saturday's 7-4 loss to Boston, Young was 10-for-29 (but with only one RBI) in his previous seven games, raising his average to .240.

"He's such a hitting machine, at year's end he'll have his numbers," Washington said, adding, "We know the guy can hit. Our problem is not our offense."

While it might not be a change in the batting order, Washington is hoping to see Frank Catalanotto get back into the outfield soon. It could even happen this week, Washington said. Catalanotto (right bicep tendinitis) returned from the disabled list May 21 and has been the team's designated hitter. He entered play Sunday hitting .162.

"Hopefully, we can get him in there Monday in Oakland," Washington said. "He is feeling better. He's been throwing. It's a trust factor."

Listening to the Mrs. Tejeda listens to his wife, especially when it comes to evaluations of his pitching performances.

"I like it," Tejeda said. "She's sitting over there saying, 'Look at yourself.' When I give up four or five runs, I don't feel good, but she makes me watch [replays]. It helps. It really helps."

Tejeda also said he's received encouragement from her during games.

"Before the game is over, she'll send a message, 'You're doing a great job," Tejeda said. "She makes me feel like I'm gonna fly."

He said it: "The fans were good to me, but I'm really looking forward to winning games out there." -- Washington, on returning to Oakland

Saturday's minor stars: Top performances from Saturday's Minor League games: Gold: Kasey Kiker earned his first win of the season as the Class A Clinton Lumberkings defeated Burlington, 3-2. He pitched five scoreless innings, struck out eight and walked three.

Silver: John Rheinecker threw five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four for Triple-A Oklahoma. However, RedHawk relievers gave up nine runs over the final four innings in a 13-8 loss.

Bronze: Christopher Davis was 2-for-4 with his 17th double of the season, also driving in a run, as Class A Bakersfield lost to Rancho Cucamonga 8-2.

Briefly: The Rangers are 13-2 when they score seven or more runs this season. But often they need just about every one of those runs, as they are 5-29 when they score less than seven entering play Sunday. ... The Rangers have been outscored 34-11 in the first inning this season. ... Opponents have scored first 29 times against the Rangers this season. Texas is 6-23 in those games. ... Sammy Sosa entered Sunday with 69 career multi-home run games. With 598 homers in his career, another such game would place him at the magical 600 mark.

Coming up: Tejeda (4-4, 5.18 ERA) is the scheduled starter as the Rangers open their series in Oakland on Monday. The Athletics will counter with Chad Gaudin (4-1, 2.58 ERA) in the 9:05 p.m. CT start.

Rick Mauch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.