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ARLINGTON -- The temperature was 97 degrees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington about four hours before game time on Tuesday, but Jason Botts was still among those out on the field for early batting practice.
The heat didn't seem to bother him, and he worked up a good sweat.
"It was fun," Botts said. "It's always fun to hit."
Maybe. But Botts did admit to some frustration as he tries to get on track after a month in the Major Leagues. Botts went into Tuesday's game hitting .228 with one home run and eight RBIs in 79 at-bats.
It could be worse. Botts hit .200 with a home run and 14 RBIs in 90 at-bats in April at Triple-A Oklahoma. He followed that up by hitting .361 in May and went on to have three terrific months before being called up to the Rangers at the beginning of August.
He is hoping to follow the same pattern and start getting hot with the Rangers.
"It's about that time," Botts said. "I was joking around with my mother that this is kind of typical. Whether I'm going from Low A to High A or High A to Double-A, every time I jump leagues, I go through a rough patch. But now that I have enough at-bats, it shouldn't be a factor. I need to get it going."
This is Botts' third time in the Major Leagues. He had brief stays in each of the past two seasons, and that has kept him from being intimidated by his new surroundings. He said he is just trying to work through some mechanical issues.
"I feel comfortable against the guys I'm facing," Botts said. "It will work out in time where I'll be a productive Major League hitter. I'd be more concerned if I was getting fooled or getting beat. I feel confident, but it's time to start squaring some balls."
The Rangers have yet to announce Edinson Volquez as their starter for Saturday's game against the Angels, but he did get another honor on Monday when he was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week.
Volquez was honored for pitching 13 scoreless innings over two starts in wins against Triple-A New Orleans and Nashville. The Rangers were more than impressed because the two terrific outings came right after they delayed his promotion to the Majors as punishment for missing a bullpen session.
"That was exactly what we were looking for," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We wanted to see how he responded, and he responded nicely. Too bad the situation was what it was and we couldn't get him here. But he reacted extremely well."
The Rangers are expected to call up four to five players in September, and Volquez is one. The others are expected to be catcher Chris Stewart, reliever A.J. Murray and outfielder Freddy Guzman.
The Rangers may call up one more relievers, but are not expected to call up starting pitchers Armando Galarraga or Eric Hurley. The Rangers have too many other pitchers they want to start right now.
Brandon McCarthy played catch on Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. McCarthy was able to throw without pain.
He'll continue to play catch the rest of this week and, if he has no problems, he'll move up to throwing off a mound. The Rangers still hope to get him at least a couple of starts before the season is over.
But it won't be this week against the White Sox, the team that traded him to the Rangers last winter. He didn't get to pitch against them earlier this season, either.
"I would have liked to have pitched against them at some point this year," McCarthy said. "But whether they're in town or not, I'm still trying to get back to being healthy. But as far as trying to impress them, I'm not thinking about that."
Young, Laird in, Saltalamacchia out:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was in the Rangers' original lineup on Tuesday, but was scratched because of the flu bug that has been going around the clubhouse.
Gerald Laird, who missed Sunday's game with a sore knee, started at catcher. Saltalamacchia was supposed to start at first base, but was replaced by Brad Wilkerson.
Michael Young was also back in the lineup after missing Sunday's game with a sore back. Young said any pain and stiffness was gone after using Monday's off-day to rest the back for two straight days.
He said it:
"I came up through the Minor Leagues expecting to be a Ranger, but baseball is a business. I understood why, and I wish them the best, and I wish Brandon [McCarthy] the best." -- John Danks, who was traded by the Rangers this winter and will pitch against them on Thursday
Tuesday's Minor Stars:
Gold: Left-hander Kasey Kiker pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Class A Clinton's 9-0 victory over Kane County. He gave up three hits, walked three and struck out nine and is now 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 19 starts.
Arizona Rookie League infielder Matthew West had three hits and scored two runs in an 8-7 loss to the Cubs. He has hit safely in seven straight games.
Frisco pitcher Michael Schlact allowed three runs on four hits in a 3-2 loss to Midland.
Right-hander Kameron Loe pitches for the Rangers at 7:35 p.m. CT on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Jon Garland pitches for the White Sox.
Pitcher Jose Rupe, who has missed most of the summer with an elbow injury, has started pitching on rehab assignment for the Arizona Rookie Rangers. Thomas Diamond, who had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in Spring Training, has begun a throwing program. ... The Rangers want Rupe and shortstop Joaquin Arias to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. Also scheduled to play in Arizona are Double-A Frisco pitchers Paul Kometani, Matt Harrison and Daniel Herrera, catcher Taylor Teagarden, infielder German Duran and outfielder John Mayberry Jr. ... Duran and pitcher Luis Mendoza have been named to the Texas League postseason All-Star team and manager Dave Anderson was the Manager of the Year. ... Class A Spokane catcher Jonathan Greene and pitcher Ryan Falcon were named to the Northwest League All-Star team. ... Spokane outfielder Julio Borbon has been sent to the Arizona Rookie Rangers. ... Catcher Cristian Santana and outfielder Engel Beltre have been promoted to Spokane. ... Catcher Adam Melhuse has cleared waivers and is a free agent.