7/27/2013 7:09 P.M. ET
Rangers might not add bat before Trade Deadline
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Rangers, with just four days left before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, have been linked to every available outfielder from Alex Rios of the White Sox to Hunter Pence of the Giants. They have been linked with outfielders who aren't available, including Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, and to some who they aren't even interested in right now.
But the Rangers are considering another option. They may not do anything.
The Rangers entered Saturday's game with the Indians having lost six of eight since the All-Star break. They were 4 1/2 games behind the Athletics in the American League West and 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot.
Their offense has been identified as their biggest need. They would like a right-handed-hitting outfielder, and they may also need help at designated hitter if Lance Berkman isn't able to return from his hip and knee injuries. He is currently working out in Arlington and his return is still uncertain. The Rangers have Manny Ramirez at Triple-A, but he is not considered an option right now.
The Rangers, having committed at least four Minor League prospects to the Cubs for pitcher Matt Garza, aren't keen on giving up more young players for a hitter who only has a marginal chance of helping their ailing offense. In other words, Rios or Pence aren't going to fix what's wrong with the Rangers, and the problem would become only deeper if Nelson Cruz is suspended for an extended period of time for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis.
The Rangers have spoken to the White Sox about Rios, but the price is too high right now. The same goes with Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd. They have interest in Kendrys Morales, but the Mariners aren't in a trading mode right now. The Giants are undecided in the same way regarding Pence.
The Rangers are not planning to bring back Michael Young. Major League sources said a trade for Young between the Phillies and the Rangers is not going to happen.
If the Rangers can get turned around, they could revisit these trade discussions in August. Players need to clear waivers before they can be traded after Wednesday's Deadline. But there is a good chance that at least some of the players being talked about will clear waivers or be in position to be claimed by the Rangers.
The Rangers have not ended discussions with other teams, they just appear to be having second thoughts about the value of making a trade right now with the way the team is going.
E. Beltre gets another start in left for Rangers
CLEVELAND -- Engel Beltre started for the second straight game in left field on Saturday night for the Rangers against the Indians. David Murphy was on the bench even though the Indians had a right-hander on the mound.
"[Murphy will] be back in there tomorrow," manager Ron Washington said. "I just wanted to give Beltre back-to-back days. I haven't done that since he's been up here."
There are other reasons to get Beltre in there. The Rangers may need him for an extended period if Nelson Cruz is suspended for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis, or he could be trade bait leading up to Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rangers, after their trade for pitcher Matt Garza, are thin on prospects at the upper levels of the farm system. Beltre and infielder Leury Garcia are the closest to being able to help another team right now.
Murphy did play on Friday night. He pinch-hit late in the game and was 1-for-2 with a single. He is 9-for-28 in his last 10 games. Beltre was 1-for-6 on Friday with a key RBI single in the seventh inning. But he also got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
"I told him he can't be running all crazy," Washington said. "He has to run with his head up and be ready to react to something. His answer was, 'Yeah, it wasn't very smart.' You've got to play smart baseball and be aware of what's going on in the game and where you are at."
Harrison throws, likely nearing rehab assignment
CLEVELAND -- Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison threw 50 pitches in live batting practice on Saturday and the next step could be a rehab assignment. Harrison, who had back surgery to repair a herniated disc on May 2, had no pain or discomfort throwing to Geovany Soto, Jurickson Profar, Craig Gentry and Engel Beltre. The session took place in the indoor batting cage because of early afternoon rain.
"Everything from the start to the end, no issues," Harrison said. "My back felt good, my arm felt good. The only problem was trying to throw a curveball in there because of the netting above, it's a little deceptive as far as where to release it."
The Rangers have not decided what's next for Harrison. He could either throw another live batting practice or he could go on a rehab assignment and start pitching in Minor League games.
"That's what I would think and what I'm hoping," Harrison said. "I'm ready to get back into a game situation."
Colby Lewis, who is exactly one year removed from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, will make his next rehab start for Double-A Frisco against San Antonio on Sunday. Lewis is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA in five rehab starts, which have been delayed twice because of inflammation and soreness around the elbow. He is expected to throw approximately 70-75 pitches.
• Soto was behind the plate for Yu Darvish on Saturday night. Soto has caught both of Darvish's starts since the All-Star break and also caught Garza on Wednesday night. A.J. Pierzynski remains in the lineup at designated hitter on nights when he hasn't been catching.
• First baseman Mitch Moreland went into Saturday's game with just two hits in his last 29 at-bats since the All-Star break. Said Washington: "When you're struggling there is still a level of concern. But I've still got him in the lineup, so I'm not too concerned. You don't like to see him struggling, but I'm putting him out there and seeing if the struggles desist."
• Leonys Martin had three hits, a sacrifice fly and a sacrifice hit in Friday's 11-8 loss. He is the first Rangers player to accomplish that unusual trifecta since George Wright in 1985.
• Neftali Feliz, who underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1 last year, threw live batting practice in Arizona on Friday and could be ready to pitch in Minor League games next week.
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.