7/18/2013 7:29 P.M. ET
Baker, Gentry activated from DL for series with Orioles
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated infielder Jeff Baker and outfielder Craig Gentry -- a pair of right-handed hitters -- from the disabled list Thursday in advance of the Rangers' second-half opener against the Orioles at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Gentry has been sidelined since June 20 with a fractured left hand and was 3-for-13 with a double in four games at a medical rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Frisco. He worked out for the Rangers on Thursday at the Ballpark.
"I feel good, my hand feels good," Gentry said. "It doesn't bother me when I swing."
Gentry spent the first 2 1/2 months of the season platooning with Leonys Martin in center field. Martin, a left-handed hitter, has been playing regularly since Gentry went down. Manager Ron Washington said Gentry will start playing against left-handers but he's not sure if he'll go back to a platoon situation.
"Martin has been playing against lefties, but I'm going to pick and choose," Washington said.
Baker has been playing mainly against left-handers and was doing serious damage against them before a right thumb sprain. Baker, who hasn't played since June 12, was hitting .386 (17-for-44) with eight home runs against left-handers. He was 2-for-11 overall in three games with Frisco and is expected to be in the lineup on Friday against Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
"There are no issues, I'm good to go," Baker said.
To make room on the active roster, the Rangers optioned catcher Robinson Chirinos and right-handed reliever Wilmer Font.
Rangers still covet right-handed bat, Garza
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are among the teams that continue to have active trade discussions with the Cubs for starting pitcher Matt Garza. The Rangers have placed Ross Wolf in the rotation but they are still hoping to land Garza, whether it's in the next few days or by the July 31 Trade Deadline.
The Rangers are looking for both a starting pitcher and a right-handed bat.
"We could go both ways," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're having active conversations on both fronts. We'd like to improve the club."
Garza, 29, is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts for the Cubs and is being pursued by just about every team in need of starting pitching. The Rangers are considered a strong candidate because of their deep farm system.
The Rangers will open the second half with Derek Holland, Wolf and Martin Perez pitching during the three-game series with the Orioles that starts on Friday. Yu Darvish, who threw a bullpen session on Thursday, is expected to come off the disabled list on Monday and there is a strong possibility Alexi Ogando could do the same on Tuesday.
Justin Grimm, who is 2-4 with a 9.91 ERA in his past eight starts, would pitch Tuesday if Ogando is not ready. Otherwise Grimm could end up in the bullpen. Nick Tepesch, on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, has started playing catch again but is not close to being activated. Colby Lewis, who pitched 2 2/3 innings on medical rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Double-A Frisco, is unlikely to be an option before the Trade Deadline.
"We're getting ready to activate two starting pitchers and that will go a long way to getting us back to where we want to be," Daniels said. "But our goal is more than just being in a good position. We have high goals and expectations, and we'd like to reward and help these guys."
Rangers exit break without Berkman, Manny
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers need more offensive firepower, and they have two players who have combined for 921 Major League home runs. But neither Lance Berkman and Manny Ramirez will be on the field for the Rangers on Friday night against the Orioles.
There is also no indication when either player will be ready to help at the Major League level.
Berkman has been on the disabled list since July 7 with a strained left hip. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he did not participate in the Rangers' team workout at the Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday.
Berkman, who was signed to be the Rangers' primary designated hitter, is hitting .254 with 27 runs scored, six home runs and 34 RBI in 68 games this season. He has a .355 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage. In addition to the hip injury, Berkman has missed games this season because of recurring problems with his right knee and lower back.
"We certainly could use one more bat in the lineup," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We have about three to four guys who haven't been going like they are capable. Lance is one of them. In his case, it's physical. We feel like we could use more offense and we feel like he could be a part of it. From a makeup standpoint, if he can do it physically, he can do it. To what degree he's limited physically, I don't know."
Ramirez was signed to a Minor League contract two weeks ago and is 9-for-30 with three home runs in eight games at Triple-A Round Rock. But he remains at Round Rock to start the second half and the Rangers have no plans at this point to bring him to the Majors.
"It's still premature," Daniels said. "From a clubhouse perspective and a teammate perspective, there have been positive reports. We knew when we signed him, we were going to give him a few weeks to let him settle in and evaluate him."
• Matt Harrison had his first bullpen session off a mound Friday since having back surgery on May 2. Harrison will likely have at least two more weeks of bullpen sessions before progressing to live batting practice.
• TV broadcaster Steve Busby will miss the first two games of the Orioles series because of personal reasons. Tom Grieve and Mark McLemore will work those broadcasts.
• Radio broadcaster Eric Nadel will miss the entire weekend for personal vacation. Matt Hicks and Mike Peasley will handle those duties.
• Triple-A pitcher Brad Mills has been given his release to sign with the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League. He was 7-5 with a 3.87 ERA in 18 games, including 17 starts, for Round Rock.
• The Yankees have not announced their starting rotation for next week's four-game series with the Rangers, but CC Sabathia is not expected to pitch. He is scheduled to pitch Sunday. The Rangers will likely see Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova in the first two games followed by Andy Pettitte on Wednesday and Hiroki Kuroda on Thursday.
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.