07/13/07 10:22 PM ET
Notes: Wilkerson's role now uncertain
With Teixeira coming off the DL, spot may be filled
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Manager Ron Washington met with Wilkerson before the game to discuss his situation. Teixeira started at first base while Frank Catalanotto was in left and Marlon Byrd was in right.
"I just wanted to let him know how things are going," Washington said. "I didn't want him to panic. He will play. We're just coming out of the break, Tex is back, Cat's in left, this is part of the adjustments that we will have to make. If we play six games in a week, he'll play three or four."
Wilkerson filled in at first base while Teixeira was on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle and batted .246 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs in his last 19 games before the break. During that stretch he had a .667 slugging percentage.
"We'll just wait and see," Wilkerson said. "I'll just go out and do my job and see how things work out. I need at-bats to be successful, so hopefully it will work out. Everybody sees there's going to be an odd-man out every night but hopefully we'll keep together. One of the keys to our success the last four weeks was our chemistry and hopefully that will continue."
Washington is a big believer in giving everybody playing time and has followed through with that promise. Desi Relaford is a utility infielder, but started four games between July 1 and the All-Star break.
"I think the bottom line is performance," Wilkerson said. "Even though we're 15 games back he still wants to win and performance is going to get you in the lineup. I need to perform like I have for the past three or four weeks. If I do that, there's no way to keep me out of the lineup."
Washington is planning to use Teixeira at designated hitter on Sunday and on Wednesday, the two day games on this roadtrip.
"Just to get him off his feet," Washington said. "But if he doesn't want to do it, I'm not going to fight him. Tex doesn't like to DH, he likes to be on the field."
Otsuka still out: The Rangers continue to wait patiently on reliever Akinori Otsuka, who is still not available out of the bullpen because of an aching right elbow.
"It's better than it was four days ago, before the All-Star break," Otsuka said. "Today was much better. But I still have some feeling when I'm on the mound. I'm hoping either [Saturday] or Sunday."
Otsuka hasn't pitched since July 1, but the Rangers still aren't considering using the disabled list.
"We haven't talked about that," Washington said. "He's a commodity worth waiting on. The way he comes in the eighth inning and gets the ball to [Eric] Gagne, we're willing to do that. He needed this break and we're willing to give it to him."
Leyland tries to apologize: American League All-Star manager Jim Leyland tried to apologize to Michael Young for not using him in the All-Star Game. But Young said it didn't bother him that he was the only American League position player not used in the game.
"Not everyone can play," Young said. "To his credit, he came up to me after the game and tried to apologize, but I wouldn't let him. As a competitor you want to play and do everything you can to help your team win, but I know what it's like for the manager. It's a tough situation. You're trying to get everybody in the game and keep somebody back.
"I wouldn't let him apologize. I was off to the worst start of my career and he still put me on the team. I don't consider it a big deal. I would have loved to have been in the game but it's just an All-Star Game."
Padilla struggles: Vicente Padilla's medical rehabilitation assignment may take longer than expected.
Padilla, on the disabled list with a tendonitis behind his right elbow, allowed four runs on two hits and three walks while striking out four. He threw 57 pitches and started feeling more discomfort around the 55th pitch.
That's the same problem he was having before he went on the disabled list and the Rangers pulled him after 57 pitches. He was supposed to throw 65.
Padilla was able to do his work on Friday and will have a bullpen session on Saturday. He has one more start scheduled for Tuesday. He is supposed to return to the Rangers rotation after that, but if he still has more problems, it could delay his return.
Compton clinic: Washington and three other Rangers will participate in a clinic at Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy in Compton on Saturday. Dugout coach Art Howe, catcher Adam Melhuse and third baseman Travis Metcalf are also scheduled to attend. About 100-200 children are expected.
He said it: "We're taking this slow and make sure everything is in place. I don't want to come back early and have this thing linger through August." -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler, on the D.L. with a stress fracture in his left foot.
Thursday's Minor Stars: Gold: Andy Walker pitched a complete-game shutout for Class A Bakersfield in a 4-0 victory over High Desert. He allowed four hits, walked none and struck out 13.
Silver: Michael Main was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases for the Arizona Rookie Rangers in a 10-8 victory over the Royals.
Bronze: Oklahoma designated hitter Jason Botts was 2-for-4 with his 13th home run in an 8-5 loss to Round Rock. He now has 71 RBI on the season.
Briefly: Hank Blalock (shoulder surgery) has started to take ground balls at third base but is not able to throw across the diamond. ... Catcher Gerald Laird went into Friday's game leading the American League with eight bunt hits. That's the second most bunt hits in a season by a catcher in the last 30 years. Ron Karkovice had nine for the White Sox in 1989. ... Minor League outfielder Todd Donovan was released.
Up next: Right-hander Kameron Loe pitches for the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. CT Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium. Right-hander John Lackey pitches for the Angels.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.