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07/31/08 8:05 PM ET

Guardado sweats out practical joke

Team had reliever believing he was bound for Nationals

ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Eddie Guardado was in the steam room on Thursday afternoon. It's part of his daily routine to get his body ready for the game that night.

He knew something was up when manager Ron Washington came to get him.

"He's never in the steam room," said Guardado, who had been the subject of trade rumors all week.

"Eddie, I need to see you," Washington said, his head down.

"All right, Wash, where am I going?" Guardado asked the manager.

"Washington Nationals," Washington said with a straight face.

"Washington Nationals?" said Guardado, who is perfectly capable of reading the National League standings. "You've got to be kidding!"

"Eddie," Washington said, still keeping a straight face. "I got nothing for you. They need to see you upstairs."

Guardado, furious as can be, didn't bother changing. He was wearing shorts, a T-shirt and shower shoes when he was driven from the players' parking lot around the stadium and stormed into the front office.

"I was hot," Guardado said. "I was going to kill somebody."

He went up to the fourth floor and into a conference room where general manager Jon Daniels was meeting with his assistants.

"There's Jay Robertson, John Hart, Thad Levine, all those guys," Guardado said. "They're all sitting around and nobody is smiling. I go, 'Washington Nationals? You've got to be kidding.'"

Daniels asked Guardado to step into another room. Guardado obliged.

"Thanks for dressing up," Daniels said.

Then the general manager broke into a smile and started laughing.

"I can't hold it over you," Daniels said. "You're still a Texas Ranger."

Guardado, realizing he was the victim of a practical Trade Deadline joke, started laughing, too.

"You're lucky," he told Daniels, pointing to a pie-serving knife on a desk. "I was going to kill you."

Later, Guardado, known to pull a few practical jokes himself, was still laughing about it.

"I'm going to whip Daniels' tail," Guardado said. "Nah ... no, they got me good."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.