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07/29/09 7:53 PM ET

Washington says club ready to buy

Rangers manager feels team will make a deal before deadline

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said he thinks his club will do something before Friday's Trade Deadline. It won't be Roy Halladay, but the Rangers are still hoping to make a move either for starting pitching or offensive help.

"We'll make a deal," Washington said. "I don't know who we'll make a deal with, but we'll probably do something. But if we don't, we're not going to use that as an excuse for not playing well. We're still looking at everything to see what's out there."

Washington's preference is to add starting pitching.

"That's what every manager sitting at the Trade Deadline is hoping to get unless he has five quality ones," Washington said. "You can always use depth in your starting pitching and you know if they make a deal it's going to be for quality."

Other club officials suggest the possibility as being "below average." Rangers general manager Jon Daniels continues to work the phones, but does not appear close to any deals. The Rangers are still pursuing Halladay but are making little progress. Sources said the Blue Jays or another team would have to take Vicente Padilla for the Rangers to acquire Halladay, even if they were willing to give up top prospects.

The Reds could move pitchers Aaron Harang and/or Bronson Arroyo, but the Rangers have had little contact with them and money still remains the biggest obstacle to any deal. They have also had no success with the Pirates, who appear to be the most active "seller" and still could move All-Star pitcher Zach Duke.

Daniels has talked to some clubs about offensive help, but most of their work has been toward starting pitching.

"We're working to improve the club," Daniels said. "We're in the same spot as yesterday or a week ago. We'll see what the next brings."

The Rangers are still trying to get their rotation in order for the upcoming series with the Mariners. Their decisions have been complicated by Padilla's lingering bout with the flu and Kevin Millwood still dealing with a strained left gluteus muscle.

Right now the Rangers are planning to go with Derek Holland on Thursday against the Mariners. Padilla, who has been scratched from two scheduled starts because of swine flu, is now scheduled to pitch on Friday. Millwood has been pushed back to Sunday after Tommy Hunter.

The Rangers did make one pitching move on Wednesday. They sent Doug Mathis to Triple-A Oklahoma City after he allowed three runs in four innings in a 7-3 win over the Tigers on Tuesday. The Rangers had to make the move because they needed to add infielder Joaquin Arias. Ian Kinsler was unavailable on Wednesday because of a strained left hamstring.

Mathis is 0-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 10 relief appearances and two starts with the Rangers this year. He has 17 scoreless innings as a reliever this season and 22 going back to last season. That's the second most scoreless relief innings at the start of a career dating back to 1954. Brad Zeigler had 39 scoreless innings for the Athletics in 2008.

"That was a tough conversation especially the way the kid has been throwing the baseball," Washington said. "It's not always beautiful in this game. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and that was a tough decision."

Mathis is 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 10 starts for Oklahoma City. He is going back to Oklahoma City as a starter.

"It's just bad timing on my part," Mathis said. "I understand it and can't do anything about it. I could get upset and throw a fit, but that's not me. All I can do is go down and pitch well and get back up here."

The Rangers may get some bullpen help soon. Frank Francisco, who is on the disabled list with pneumonia, threw batting practice to Taylor Teagarden and Josh Hamilton on Wednesday and feels he is close to being activated.

"I'm ready," said Francisco, who hasn't pitched since July 10. "The only thing I've got is my coughing and I think I can handle that. I was working the whole time. Even though I was sick, I was working out and getting my arm ready to go. I've thrown enough bullpen and batting practice."

Francisco will go through another workout on Thursday and then the Rangers will decide if they are going to send him out on medical rehab assignment.

"I can't see him ready by Friday," Washington said. "He's still building up stamina."

Brandon McCarthy, who has been out since June 9 with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, also threw batting practice. This was his second time throwing off the mound since he went on the disabled list, but he is still working with revamped pitching mechanics and it's still likely to be September before he pitches again.

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