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08/04/08 7:57 PM ET

Mailbag: Should Boggs make way?

Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers Rangers fans' questions

With Nelson Cruz playing so well in Triple-A Oklahoma and with Brandon Boggs struggling to get some at-bats at the Major League level, why don't the Rangers swap them out to give Boggs more at-bats in the Minors and give Cruz another shot at the big leagues?
-- Miguel S., San Antonio

Boggs is the Rangers fourth outfielder and is handling the part-time role well. If they bring Cruz to the big leagues, he needs to play every day. Every day, not three to four times a week or sporadically. That has never done him any good. He deserves another shot and Texas would be foolish not to take a hard look at him. He should be here in September.

Why are the Rangers using all these rookie starters instead of using pitchers like Kameron Loe? He started out well as a starter last year and might be ready to start again.
-- Tim H., Canyon, Texas

The Rangers decided in Spring Training to move Loe to the bullpen. They felt they had seen enough of him as a starter and felt he was better in the bullpen. That was before numerous injuries. He has been in the bullpen all year and really isn't stretched out to be a starter, although he did pitch four shutout innings in his past appearance for Oklahoma.

What do you think is Marlon Byrd's future with the Rangers? Do you think he will be a long-time player or more of a short-term lease?
-- Daniel A., Garland, Texas

Byrd, who has recovered nicely after a slow start, is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season. Right now he appears to be the kind of guy who can be a third or fourth outfielder on a playoff team, but ultimately may not command the kind of long-term contract that would guarantee him to stay in the same place for an extended period of time. Free agency has created a large group of itinerant ballplayers.

Josh Rupe lately had a few very encouraging multi-inning appearances. He seems to have the poise, the pitch-mix and the location to help the team. How about his chances to join the rotation, especially with how many starters are on the DL at the moment?
-- Walter E., Innsbruck, Austria

The Rangers once saw Rupe as a starting pitcher but moved him to the bullpen to reduce wear-and-tear on his fragile right elbow. Texas may reconsider him as a starter next year, but he's also working himself into a more prominent role in the bullpen. He's definitely a big part of the future, but probably not ready to start right now.

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Why would the Rangers take Scott Feldman out of the rotation when he has been a very effective starter, just to keep his innings down? Wouldn't they want to stretch out his innings and get him ready to be a full-time starter next year? Why take out a reliable starter if no replacement is better?
-- Robert L., Fort Worth

Feldman has been around 70 innings the past few years and the prevailing theory states you don't want to increase a pitcher's workload by more than 50 innings per season. That's just a theory, but former pitching coach Mark Connor's plan was to keep Feldman under 140 innings. He's at 105 innings right now.

What do you think about the Rangers going after starting pitcher Matt Cain? He has dominating stuff but has always lacked run support. With the Rangers' offense backing him up, he would really help the club's pitching and possibly get 20 wins next season.
-- Cassity J., Longview, Texas

Cain is a good name to bring up, no doubt about it. The Giants do need offense. It's interesting that someone from Longview would ask that question because if you want the Giants to trade Cain, they will want Longview native Chris Davis, Elvus Andrus and more in return. You would not get Cain without including Davis in the deal.

Why do the Rangers and Blue Jays have a "much strained relationship" when it comes to trade talks? What other teams would you include in this context? Favorite trading partners?
-- Keith H., Austin, Texas

When you're talking about trade discussions, you are talking about 30 general managers who have different personalities and different sized egos that are going to clash. The late Dodgers general manager Al Campanis was ruthless to deal with. Doug Melvin is honest and straight-forward. The only criticism of Jon Daniels that I've heard is he places too-high of a value on his own players. That's hardly a fault and hasn't kept him from making numerous trades.

Even if the Rangers do not make the playoffs do you think either Ian Kinsler or Josh Hamilton have a chance at getting the MVP?
-- Arik H., Burleson, Texas

Players on playoff teams have a decided advantage in the MVP voting -- no doubt about it -- but remember Alex Rodriguez did narrowly win an MVP Award for the last-place Rangers in 2003.

You answered a question about whether the Rangers should trade Vicente Padilla and Kevin Millwood and pursue Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia by comparing all four of their stats during their first 208 Major League starts. Wouldn't it be better to look at those stats for the past 2 1/2 seasons and compare those? What a pitcher is doing more recently may be a better gauge of what to expect in the future.
-- Mike D., Sulphur Springs, Texas

My point was Millwood and Chan Ho Park, before reaching free agency, both had the same glittering statistics that Sheets and Sabathia have now as they approach free agency. I've said it many times before: free-agent pitching is expensive and perilous for any team without unlimited resources.

Most likely this will be ignored, as anything other than accolades for the Rangers usually are, but I'm sorry, I had to laugh at your quote in the latest mailbag: "Are you sure Sheets, who has been on the disabled list six times, and Sabathia are going to be better investments than Millwood or Park?" Sorry, but I've seen Millwood and Park pitch at Rangers Ballpark. Neither get/got the job done. At this stage I think the Rangers should at least try out last year's AL Cy Young winner Sabathia and a three-time All-Star in Sheets.
-- Dirk K., Fort Worth

Maybe they should have gone all-out to sign three-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner Barry Zito or traded for two-time All-Star Dontrelle Willis.

After seeing this year's All-Star game and thinking about what happened a few years back in Milwaukee, I thought of a suggestion to end all this craziness about not having enough pitchers. I really like what the Olympics are going to do with baseball. I believe it's after 11 innings, teams will automatically start off with two runners on first and second and managers will be allowed to change their batting order anyway they like. On the other hand, if I was paying $2,000 for tickets to an All-Star Game, I would expect to bring my sleeping bag. What do you think?.
-- Angelo M., Dallas

I think a sleeping bag is more useful at the Pro Bowl.

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