09/29/10 8:30 AM ET
Unlikely catching duo in thick of playoff plans
Molina, Treanor step up for Rangers after prospects fall short
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Rangers catchers, 2003-10
|Sandy Alomar Jr.||2005||34|
"They are doing well," manager Ron Washington said. "It has worked out well. We've got two veteran guys. We're trying to make sure we get the most out of them and keep both going."And as to who will start in the playoffs? "I have no idea yet but both will play," Washington said. "Molina brings a lot of experience and clutch hitting and works well with pitchers. Treanor's game is receiving and calling a good game. He's worked hard on his offense and helped us a lot with his offense. "I just think it's important to keep them both engaged." Treanor is with the Rangers because Saltalamacchia was having physical issues in Spring Training that was hindering his throwing, Teagarden wasn't hitting and Ramirez was still struggling defensively. By March 22, the Rangers were concerned enough about their catching that they traded infielder Ray Olmedo to the Brewers for Treanor. It was not considered a blockbuster trade. Treanor, married to Olympic volleyball superstar Misty May Treanor, spent 2004-08 as a backup/part-time catcher for the Marlins and played four games for the Tigers in 2009 before a torn labrum in his hip finished his season. The Brewers gave him a Minor League deal but he wasn't expected to make their team. When the Rangers got him, he was 34 with the mark of Triple-A Oklahoma City on his forehead. That's exactly where they were sending him when Saltalamacchia delivered an Opening Day walk-off hit. But Treanor never made it across the Red River. Saltalamacchia was on the disabled list three days into the season and Treanor was brought to the Majors. He has been with the Rangers ever since. A guy who spent 11 seasons in the Minors before ever appearing in the Majors has set a career high for games played and at-bats. "In Spring Training, I know it's a cliche, but when you get traded, it's because somebody wants you," Treanor said. "From the first meeting with Wash to the end of Spring Training I was at peace with myself because I know I had prepared for the opportunity to help if I got called up. "The other day I was in there when we clinched. No matter who the skipper puts in the lineup, he does it because he knows you can help win that day. He has trusted me a lot this year and to be in there on a day like that gave me a lot of confidence." Molina, 36, was the Giants' Opening Day catcher and caught 37 of their first 46 games. Then they called up top prospect Buster Posey on May 29. Molina became expendable. The Rangers became interested, so much so they gave up reliever Chris Ray as well as pitcher Michael Main, a former first-round Draft pick. The Rangers, who were using Ramirez as a backup after Teagarden struggled early in the season, wanted a front-line veteran catcher to pair with Treanor. Molina, who knew how good Posey was, got a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. "I knew the situation I was going to be in San Francisco," Molina said. "For them to trade me over here and have the opportunity to play is great. Obviously I'm not playing as much as I would like but the trade overall has meant a lot to me." He is not the two-time Gold Glove catcher that he once was but he is a catcher who has been in postseason play -- he was behind the plate in 2002 when the Angels won the World Series. He is the only Rangers player on the current roster who has won a World Series. "I watch the game when I'm not playing and I watch the opposing catcher," Treanor said. "I have been watching Bengie quite a bit, how he calls the game, how he goes about his business ... he's fun to watch and fun to learn from." Washington has been rotating them. One will play two or three games in a row and then the other will take over for two or three games. Unlike in previous years, there have been no complaints from the catchers. Exactly who will catch in the playoffs is unknown but nobody is voicing any concern about it right now. "It's all about making us better as a collective group," Treanor said. "Making us better and the team better, working together and talking. You accept your role on the team, do the best to your ability and if the team plays well, that's what it's all about." The Rangers are going to the playoffs. They have played well with Treanor and Molina behind the plate.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.