7/9/2013 7:15 P.M. ET
Rangers look to upgrade rotation due to injuries
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels acknowledged he is looking for starting pitching in the trade market, but he is hoping the return of some pitchers off the disabled list will be a bigger help to the team.
"We're always going to check around and see if there is an opportunity to improve," Daniels said Tuesday. "It's still early to say how things will pan out."
The Rangers are among the teams that have scouted Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, and they have had interest in him in the past. The Brewers may be willing to talk about Yovani Gallardo, but the latest scouting reports have not been good. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last four starts.
Texas did not have much interest in pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers last week. That's a sign the Rangers aren't looking to fill a hole as much as looking to upgrade if there is somebody available better than what they have.
The Rangers currently have four starting pitchers on the disabled list: Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison. Of those four, Ogando should be back immediately after the All-Star break. Ogando, sidelined with inflammation in his right shoulder, is pitching on Thursday in his second game on a medical rehabilitation assignment and will likely have one more before being activated off the disabled list.
"Hopefully we'll get Alexi back after the All-Star break and take it from there," Daniels said. "That should be a significant step for our club and settle things down. On the whole, our starting pitching has solid for the year, but we're always looking to improve."
Tepesch is sidelined with a inflammation in his right elbow. He could be ready soon after the All-Star break. Lewis, who threw live batting practice on Tuesday, is hoping to begin another medical rehabilitation assignment after the All-Star break as he approaches his one-year anniversary (July 27) from flexor tendon surgery. Harrison, who had back surgery on May 2 to repair a herniated disk, is expected back at the end of August at the earliest.
"The biggest concern is the load on the bullpen over the last month," Daniels said. "Our starters are not getting deep into games with any regularity."
That has put a strain on the setup relievers Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross. But Joakim Soria has pitched two scoreless innings after coming off the disabled list, and Jason Frasor has not allowed a run in his last seven outings. Daniels is hoping those two will help decrease the workload on some of the Rangers' other relievers.
"That's is going to be a necessity," Daniels said. "We need a lot of guys to step up and we're seeing that."
Right-handed bat needed to bolster bottom of order
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers' lineup against left-hander Zach Britton on Tuesday night included Elvis Andrus batting sixth at designated hitter and Robinson Chirinos batting eighth at first base. One look at the lineup reinforces the club's desire for a right-handed bat in the lower part of their order.
"That's no secret," manager Ron Washington said. "It's obvious we're a little heavy left-handed."
But general manager Jon Daniels said he is not expecting to add an impact middle-of-the-order power guy through a trade. The Rangers have two key hitters on the disabled list, with Jeff Baker sidelined with a sprained right thumb and Lance Berkman out with a strained right hip. Both could be out for 2-3 more weeks.
"We came into the season arguably a little light in the power department, and it's played out that way," Daniels said. "With Lance and Baker banged up, we're seeing the impact of missing those guys. It's something we're looking at.
"There are some interesting guys to be talking about, but I don't see any middle-of-the-order guys available. The guys available are quality role players, but I'm not sure they'd have much of an impact. The number three, four, five hitters just don't get moved this time of the year."
The Rangers entered Tuesday's game with a team .421 slugging percentage, seventh best in the American League. They had a .385 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers, the fourth lowest in the league.
Daniels, Rangers don't have 'set expectations' for Manny
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers' need for a power right-handed bat comes at a time when they have one of the best ever in their own organization. But general manager Jon Daniels said that's not an option right now. Texas is not going to rush Manny Ramirez to the big leagues, even though Lance Berkman is on the disabled list with a strained left hip.
"I really don't know what to expect with Manny," Daniels said. "We don't have any set expectations. We're just going to let him play and evaluate it as it goes. Manny hasn't played at the big league level in a couple of years. We'll wait and see. We didn't sign him expecting him to be a knight in shining armor."
The Rangers signed Ramirez to a Minor League contract on July 3. Ramirez played in 49 games in Taiwan this season, but he hasn't played in the Majors since April 6, 2011. He went 1-for-6 with a single and a walk in his first two games with Triple-A Round Rock going into Tuesday night.
"If he shows he can contribute and we have a spot, we'll go down that road," Daniels said. "We have a few steps first. We have to watch him perform before we get to that step."
With Tepesch out, Lindblom to start Wednesday
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers announced right-hander Josh Lindblom will start on Wednesday against the Orioles. He replaces Nick Tepesch, who is on the disabled list. The Rangers weighed both Lindblom and Ross Wolf for the assignment.
"Lindblom has been doing a good job in Triple-A and we'd rather keep Wolf down in the bullpen," Washington said. "Lindblom has been the one getting the starter innings, and we want to continue that."
Lindblom is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts for the Rangers and is scoreless in three relief appearances. He was also 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance for Triple-A Round Rock after being switched from the bullpen to the rotation at the beginning of the season.
"He has been competitive," Washington said. "The main thing is he has been executing pitches. He going to give up runs, but he has been able to execute. He does his homework and he's prepared when he goes out there. We feel confident with him starting."
• Colby Lewis threw 35 pitches during a live batting practice session on Tuesday without any problems. Lewis will throw another session on Saturday in Detroit as he approaches his one-year anniversary (July 27) of having surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. Lewis has had no problems with the repaired tendon since the surgery, but he has had some stiffness and soreness in the triceps area during his rehabilitation process the last couple of months.
• Craig Gentry, who is on the disabled list with a fractured left hand, took regular batting practice on Tuesday.
• Joe Nathan recorded his 30th save on Monday night. It's the eighth time he has saved at least 30 games in his career. Only eight other relievers have had at least eight 30-save seasons. Nathan has 328 career saves and needs just one more to tie Francisco Cordero for 12th all time. John Wetteland, another former Rangers closer, is 11th with 330 saves.
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.