07/29/12 10:50 PM ET
Rangers waiting on Feliz evaluation
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Hamilton in the lineup at DH, batting fifth
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was back in the Rangers' lineup for Sunday night's series finale against the White Sox. He batted fifth as the designated hitter.Hamilton had the day off on Saturday. He was at DH on Sunday because manager Ron Washington just felt like putting him there. Washington said he moved Hamilton down in the order because he wanted to take a little pressure off him. "Hopefully, it will slow him down a little bit," Washington said. "Five worked a couple years ago and I had an MVP-type season," Hamilton said before going 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored in the 2-0 Rangers victory. "So we'll go with that again. That's what I have to say about that." Hamilton entered Sunday's game hitting .190 with a .374 slugging percentage since June 1. He was asked if his impending free agency was having any effect on his struggles at the plate. "I'm on the same page with them and it wouldn't matter if I didn't hit in the next month," Hamilton said. "I need to be hitting in the last month. I'm just going to go out there and play, man, and remind myself that I'm playing for an audience of one. When I do, I have fun. I play hard. "All the presumptions and the way it looks like I'm playing right now, it won't look that way. I haven't even thought of it. I never think about it unless y'all bring it up or the front office brings it up. They're always worried about me having distractions off the field. I don't have any distractions." Washington made it clear there should be no excuses for anybody, whether it's contract situation, where they are playing in the field or hitting in the lineup. "We have to quit making excuses for people's ineptness or inability to do something," Washington said. "They're just not getting it done. He's slumping. Everybody is slumping. He's not getting it done. Let's just say that and get it over with."
Time running low to bolster starting rotation
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are running out of options to upgrade their starting rotation. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline less than two days away, the Rangers could focus on upgrading their bullpen by trading for a reliever and moving Alexi Ogando to the rotation.That appears to be their best option if they feel a need to reinforce their rotation. Ogando, who was an All-Star as a starter in 2011 before moving back to the bullpen, threw 44 pitches on Friday night. The Rangers would like to get him up to 65-75 pitches if possible before putting him back into the rotation. The Rangers haven't decided that they will do that. Scott Feldman is right now the Rangers' fifth starter and he took a four-game winning streak into Sunday's series finale against the White Sox. "If we get Ogando stretched out, I don't know what we're going to do," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We just want to keep our options open." The Rangers have been talking about starting pitching in their trade talks with other clubs but missed out on their top two targets. Cole Hamels signed a long-term contract with the Phillies and Zack Greinke was traded by the Brewers to the Angels. A trade for either Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson or Rays right-hander James Shields isn't likely, according to industry sources.
Hitters take opportunity for positive reinforcement
ARLINGTON -- Club officials said they were glad to see the Rangers hitters taking it upon themselves to meet after Saturday's 5-2 loss to the White Sox. The Rangers have been looking to upgrade their pitching before the Trade Deadline but understand they aren't going to get anywhere unless their offense gets on a roll."That's good ... but I never lost confidence in them," manager Ron Washington said. "It is nice that they got together and said some things to each other that they may not say out in the open. I have confidence in them. It's not going good right now so we'll see how they handle adversity." The Rangers met after going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. "What you're seeing over the course of the past few weeks or whatever time period, you can say we lacked some energy or we've lacked some confidence," outfielder David Murphy said. "It was a hit-the-reset-button-type of meeting. It's not out of hand to meet and remember how good this offense is and what we are capable of doing. I think everybody is excited again to move forward. We're focused on the future, not on the past or what's happened." The Rangers went into Sunday's game leading the league in batting average and on-base percentage but had dropped to third in runs scored. They were hitting .242 with a .372 slugging percentage while averaging 3.5 runs per game in July. Only the Astros have scored fewer runs this month. "We need to remember what we can do as a team," outfielder Nelson Cruz said. "We're a talented team. We can lose focus sometimes but we should be good." In Sunday night's 2-0 win over the White Sox, the offense went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position to up their hitless streak to 0-for-29.
In the fifth game of his injury rehab assignment, Mitch Moreland went 1-for-5 with a strikeout for Double-A Frisco on Sunday. The first baseman, who has been on the disabled list since June 22 with a strained left hamstring, has five hits in 19 rehab at-bats and could return for Monday's series opener against the Angels. Reliever Mark Lowe, on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his right rib cage, pitched one inning for Frisco on Saturday and said he had no problems. The Rangers want him to pitch back-to-back games with Frisco before they activate him off the disabled list. The Rangers are starting two straight games at 6:05 p.m. Monday's game was moved up for broadcast on national cable.
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.