Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish

HOUSTON -- J.P. Arencibia finds himself in an interesting situation as the Rangers enter the final month of the season: After once playing every day, he now gets reduced playing time.

Arencibia doesn’t have the numbers .170/.230/.351 that would merit significant playing time, yet at one point, he led the AL in home runs and RBIs in the second half of the season. As it stands now, Arencibia is tied for ninth in home runs (7) and tied for seventh in RBIs (25).

The Rangers have a logjam of players participating at some of the key positions Arencibia plays: First base and catcher.

His entire season can be described as inconsistent. He started the first 20 games hitting just .133 and he was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock May 20. In the minors, Arencibia hit 14 home runs with 41 RBIs in 48 games.

The Rangers moved him back to the big league club and while his average remains low he’s produced the only four-RBI game of the season for the Rangers.

“When I came back and was playing every day the numbers were there,” said Arencibia, who was batting sixth on Sunday in the series finale against the Astros. “I stopped playing and have to figure out a way to still produce when my number is called.”

Ron Washington is trying to juggle Adam Rosales and Ryan Rua at first base along with Arencibia. At the plate, Arencibia is the emergency catcher because Robinson Chirinos and Tomas Telis are splitting the everyday catching duties.

“I think I come in everyday and take it day by day,” he said. “It’s out of my hands. I can’t dictate what they do with me. That’s their decision.”

Base Hits: Washington wouldn’t say how many players will get called up from the minors when the rosters are eligible for expansion on Monday. Washington noted a catcher won’t be among the players and the Rangers will expand their roster on Tuesday. Triple-A Round Rock’s regular season ends Monday and the Rangers don’t want to disrupt that. ... OF Jim Adduci is still dealing with concussion issues and also said his back is sore. ... OF Jake Smolinski (fractured left foot) continues to do baseball activities. ... In another sign he won’t return this season, RHP Yu Darvish (right elbow inflammation) will not make the trip to Kansas City, as expected.

Roster numbers add to Washington's pain

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
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HOUSTON -- The manager sat in his chair, legs crossed, and explained his pain very calmly.

On Friday night, Ron Washington used his 59th player of 2014, first baseman Ryan Rua, tying a major league record. In about four days, the Texas Rangers will surpass the mark either with the September call-ups or when left-hander Derek Holland pitches Tuesday at the Kansas City Royals.

Then again, the way this season is going, the Rangers might hit 60 this weekend during this series against the Houston Astros.

[+] EnlargeMichael Choice, Adam Rosales
AP Photo/Richard Carson

Michael Choice, right, who had a big night Friday, is one of the young players manager Ron Washington has used in his many lineups this season.

“It hurts because you’re a competitor, it’s why it hurts,” he said.

When Roman Mendez lost on Thursday night, he became the 23rd different pitcher to lose a game, a franchise season record.

Washington has used all sorts of people in different positions. He’s had to do more teaching than ever before at this level. The coaches have done more teaching, too.

The general manager, Jon Daniels, is using his unlimited cell phone minutes looking for talent almost on a nightly basis.

Injuries and ineffective play are the reasons why the Rangers have made so many lineup changes.

Washington’s pain subsided for one night when the Rangers beat the Astros 13-6. The victory doesn’t change the escalating roster adjustment that’s been the story in 2014.

Fans are understanding or angry.

Washington feels it.

“You still lead,” he said. “It’s never easy to swallow.”

He’s got young players trying to make it, like Arlington, Texas, native Michael Choice, still hitting under .200. Choice had a career-high three hits Friday night, including a three-run homer. Miles Mikolas, Nick Tepesch and Nick Martinez continue to figure out big league pitching and hitters.

Washington doesn’t have Yu Darvish or Shin-Soo Choo. Alex Rios is playing hurt. Colby Lewis is pitching with a bionic hip.

Seeing nifty plays from Rua, who controlled a hard throw from Adrian Beltre that skipped through the dirt in the first inning, makes you smile.

How about that 23-year-old catcher, Tomas Telis, with the presence of mind to field a relay throw and then throw out Dexter Fowler at second base in the first inning?

You see the throw Telis made to throw out Marwin Gonzalez trying to steal third? The throw was perfect. All Beltre had to do was put the glove down.

There’s talent here.

Just not enough of it.

“I still feel it. I just know I have a sense of why,” Washington said. “If I have my regular team and it wasn’t happening, it would be tough to put a finger on why. Why can’t this guy, who has this track record, not be doing this? I know the track records of the guys we have out there.”

Some of these track records aren’t very good.

A few players are keeping the Rangers above water on some nights, such as Beltre, who is in contention for the AL batting title, and Elvis Andrus, who remains a threat despite down numbers for a man from the No. 2 spot.

In a bottom-line business, maybe upper management doesn’t want to hear about excuses for this failure of a season. Washington doesn’t talk in disappointments or being frustrated. He doesn’t worry about job statuses or impressing anybody.

“I can’t control what someone else thinks,” Washington said. “I just try and do the best that I can each and every single day, and I can look in the mirror and be satisfied, that satisfies me. That’s what keeps me sane. I don’t look at management giving me a pass. I don’t look at it like that. I don’t think like that. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know what my intentions are today and that’s what I’m dealing with.”

Holland probably described this season better than anybody on Friday night when talking about himself. “Agony, anger and frustration,” he said.
HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers scratched Saturday's starter, Miles Mikolas, because of shoulder fatigue after their 13-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Left-hander Robbie Ross will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Mikolas. The Rangers have to make a roster move to make room for Ross.

Mikolas (2-5, 6.44) has been dealing with shoulder issues recently but has pitched through it. He tossed eight innings shutout innings on Monday night at Seattle, earning his second win of the season. He struck out five while throwing 92 pitches. Mikolas was able to pitch his normal between starts bullpen session but reported some shoulder fatigue afterward.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said there are no plans to shut Mikolas down for the season.

Ross threw 42 pitches over 2 1/3 innings in a relief appearance on Thursday for Round Rock. He gave up two hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Washington said Ross should be fine to start, despite the number of pitches thrown.

This will be Ross' third stint with the big club in 2014. He was demoted after an Aug.14 game where he gave up six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay.

On the season, Ross is 2-5 with a 6.06 ERA. Ross was mainly used as a reliever but was able to get several starts, where he prefers to stay. He's 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 53 1/3 innings as a starter this season.

Mikolas becomes the second Rangers pitcher this month to get scratched from a start. Staff ace Yu Darvish has missed the last three starts with inflammation in his right elbow. He currently sits on the disabled list.

HOUSTON -- Adrian Beltre stood in front of his locker trying to figure out why a few reporters wanted to speak with him on a Thursday night.

One of the few bright spots on this Texas Rangers team, Beltre pulled his bats out of their bag while downplaying the second biggest race this team will deal with in the next 30 days or so: the AL batting title.

Outside of the Silver Boot and avoiding the worst record in baseball, Beltre is competing with Houston's Jose Altuve and Detroit's Victor Martinez for the batting crown.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Beltre
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesWhile the Rangers have had an off season, Adrian Beltre continues to get his work done. "It doesn't matter what the situation [is]; when I'm at home plate, I want to beat the pitcher," he said.
“I have no chance,” Beltre joked. “Altuve, great hitter, Victor Martinez, they’re better hitters than me. I just hope I end up third. I’m hoping I can hang up with them and up there.”

Individual titles and other accomplishments mean little to Beltre, who finished his evening 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 4-2 loss to the Astros.

Beltre came in to the game all alone in third place in hitting; now he's tied for third with Robinson Cano of Seattle with a .325 average. Martinez is second at .327 and Altuve -- with his fifth-inning single -- remains in the lead at .332.

Beltre would welcome a first batting crown of his career but doesn't cherish it.

“What is good about this year?” he asked. “I don’t look at it that way. I’m just glad not being one of those guys that got hurt. It’s been so bad that I think that anybody who is healthy is lucky this year. Everything is going south for us, but I don’t look at it as a personal thing. I’m just glad to be out there to contribute and help our team find a way to win ballgames. I’m still trying not to be in last place in this division.”

Injuries have decimated the Rangers this season.

It’s gotten so bad that Yu Darvish, their ace and the best thing going for this team, is out with right elbow inflammation. His season is probably over now, as it should be.

Beltre's season continues as he watches regulars Alex Rios (ankle and thumb) and Elvis Andrus deal with nagging injuries. Shin-Soo Choo is done because he’ll undergo elbow surgery on Friday to remove a bone chip. Choo played the bulk of the season with a sprained ankle, as well.

“Yeah, it’s true, a couple of guys been playing through tough injuries,” Beltre said. “Rios has been playing with ankle and hand injuries; Choo was playing with a bad ankle. For the most part, I’ve been good enough and healthy to be out there every day. Every year through a season, as a player, we always find a way to be out there. Some [injuries] are more difficult to play with. Rios’ is very difficult to play with. He’s trying to battle through it, and we appreciate that. But at the same time, he’s the type of guy who likes to be out there and likes to prove to his teammates that he wants to be out there.”

The batting lineup hasn't provided Beltre much protection. Prince Fielder (neck) and Mitch Moreland (ankle) are done for the season. Rios is having a down season, numbers wise, and GM Jon Daniels is doing all he can to keep this thing together. He’s formulating his plan to improve the club in 2015, and there’s a confidence level he can.

“Besides the difference in protection, the lineup we might have if everybody was healthy and different guys in front of me or behind me hitting, it’s the same stuff,” Beltre said. “I’d still have to do my job every day. It doesn’t matter what the situation [is]; when I’m at home plate, I want to beat the pitcher.

"Because we don’t have the team we’re supposed to have and everything is not going the way we want this year, I’m not going to home plate trying to get an out. It’s not going to happen. I have a job. I don’t think it’s an excuse not to compete well because the team is not doing well.”

Pregame notes: Martin leads off again

August, 28, 2014
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HOUSTON -- Leonys Martin was in the leadoff spot for the 11th time this season Thursday night for the Texas Rangers' series opener against the Houston Astros.

Batting leadoff in Wednesday's game at Seattle, Martin went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and two runs scored.

Manager Ron Washington isn't committing to Martin as his full-time leadoff man with Shin-Soo Choo out for the season with a bone spur in his left elbow, but he liked what he saw, at least for one night.

"If Martin swings at strikes, he has tremendous hand eye coordination," Washington said. "That’s where he needs to get to -- trust he can see it and trust he can hit it. He has his best days when he swings at strikes."

As a leadoff man, Martin has a slash line of .326/.415/.478 with a OPS of .893 with six runs and seven walks.

Washington has used four different players in the leadoff spot in 2014 and most likely won't insert Martin against left-handers. Daniel Robertson will continue to maintain that role.

In the last 14 games, Martin is hitting .440 and has reached safely by hit or walk in 13 consecutive starts.

Holland needs to dominate: Left-handed starter Derek Holland will make his final rehab outing Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock. Washington had one message for Holland, who is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in five outings between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco: "Dominate."

Holland reiterated to Washington that he expects to do just that. After Thursday's outing, Holland most likely will get called up to the big league club, but it's uncertain when he'll pitch again. Holland will join the team here Friday and travel with them to Kansas City to conclude the 10-game road trip. Holland could pitch in the Royals series or when the club returns home Sept. 4 against Seattle.

"Let him pitch tonight and then we’ll answer that," Washington said. "When we get here tomorrow, I’ll get with (pitching coach) Mike Maddux and we’ll have more information."

Minor league update: The Texas League announced Frisco 1B Trever Adams, 3B Joey Gallo and utility man Odubel Herrera were named to the postseason team. Jason Wood was named Manager of the Year, Jeff Andrews Pitching Coach of the Year and Mike Coolbaugh the Coach of the year. Gallo hit his 41st homer Wednesday night, tying him with Spokane's Tom Robson with the most ever by a Rangers minor leaguer. Robson set his mark in 1974. Gallo has also been named a Carolina League postseason All-Star and the Player of the Year. Before being promoted to Double-A, Gallo hit 21 home runs and became the first player since Ron Kittle, in 1981-1982, to hit 40 home runs in back-to-back minor league seasons. He's second in the minors in home runs and third with a .621 slugging percentage.

Injury update: RF Alex Rios (swollen right thumb) missed Thursday's game but is expected to play Friday. Rios said he can still bend his thumb and that it hampers his swing. ... Choo will undergo surgery Friday in Dallas. His season is over. ... There is no update on RHP Yu Darvish and whether he'll undergo a MRI to check on the inflammation in his right elbow. Darvish's season most likely is over, though the club hasn't announced it yet.

Darvish could've handled saga better

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
11:00
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Yu Darvish AP Photo/Brandon WadePerceptions of Yu Darvish's situation might be different had he not gone directly to the DL.
Yu Darvish has described the inflammation in his right elbow as mild, and it is unclear if the right-hander could pitch through it if the Texas Rangers were involved in a pennant chase.

While a pitcher's arm is a precious commodity, position players deal with issues as well. Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios have played through sprained ankles of late. Choo has dealt with that ailment since April. Choo also played through a bone spur in his left elbow; the pain finally became too great, so he’s set to undergo season-ending surgery.

You should have seen Elvis Andrus on Sunday before the Rangers headed for Seattle. The Rangers' starting shortstop had both wrists wrapped in ice. Pitchers regularly walk around the clubhouse with ice packs strapped to their arms -- it's all a part of baseball.

Darvish could have handled things differently regarding his stint on the disabled list.

Instead of electing to go on the DL, he probably should have asked for some rest -- because the Rangers would have given it to him. General manager Jon Daniels made the correct call in sitting Darvish, but perhaps the ace should have delayed the DL process a little bit.

Darvish most likely would miss two to three starts before being asked to do anything. If he was still having issues, then he would have been placed on the DL.

Darvish going on the shelf without waiting to see how he felt after a little time off raises some questions and some perception issues.

I look at left-hander Derek Holland's situation and his comments.

Holland could have taken the year off as he recovers from left knee surgery. But Holland has been consistent in his statements that he wants to pitch for his teammates, regardless of how the Rangers' season is going.

“I want to be out there for them,” Holland said.

Pitching injured and pitching through discomfort are two different things. Darvish is not injured. He’s got discomfort, and the Rangers are being cautious with the 28-year-old.

No problem with that.

I just wish Darvish had waited a little while before going on the DL, because you don’t want to come across as quitting on your team.

You could say the season doesn’t mean anything, so what’s the big deal?

You would be correct.

Manager Ron Washington disagrees with you, because the games will go on. Yes, you want to get a handle on younger players such as Tomas Telis, the rookie catcher who picked up his first big league hit Monday night in Seattle, but you also want to make sure the core of your team is committed long term.

Washington himself created a stir about Darvish when he said that everybody encounters inflammation, and that he expected the ace to return. Washington has backed tracked on these statements in recent days and Daniels says everybody is on the same page. Daniels said Monday if anybody had a problem with Darvish wanted to move to the DL they should have spoken up, then, not now.

Darvish is the best pitcher on this team and among the best in baseball. You don't want to place him at risk for further injury.

Darvish, I believe, is committed to the Rangers. I just wish his approach had been a little different.
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels stressed Monday that staff ace Yu Darvish might not return in 2014 from the 15-day disabled list, where he sits with elbow inflammation.

Speaking to ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, Daniels said it doesn’t make sense to bring the right-hander back given the Rangers’ place in the standings and the amount of time it would take for him to get back up to speed.

[+] EnlargeDarvish
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesYu Darvish's Aug. 9 start in Houston could turn out to have been the right-hander's last of the season.
“I think it’s the function of the calendar,” Daniels said. “At this point, he has shown a lot of improvement. We’ll probably get another [MRI] to see where it’s at soon. But if we get to a point where he’s been down for too long -- and that’s probably coming up here in the beginning of September -- I’m not sure if it makes sense to ramp him back up for a couple of starts at the end of the month.”

Darvish hasn’t pitched since Aug. 9 in Houston, where he lasted just four innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits.

A few days later, Darvish complained of discomfort in his throwing elbow and a MRI exam revealed inflammation. The Rangers placed Darvish on the DL on Aug. 13, retroactive to Aug. 10. He was eligible to return Monday at Seattle, but didn’t make the trip.

Darvish’s status for this current 10-day road trip is uncertain, and it’s doubtful he’ll see a game the rest of the season.

The only thing keeping it from being official is an announcement from the Rangers.

“That’s how we’re looking at it,” Daniels said. “Admittedly, it’s playing it on the cautious side, but I think with the season we’ve had with the injuries, as important as he and other guys are to us, I just don’t see pushing a pitcher out there when you've got a known injury in the elbow -- and he’s obviously an important piece to us going forward.”

There is some concern that Darvish, 28, has upset some in the clubhouse or in the front office with the stint on the disabled list.

Daniels disputed that, saying it was his call to place the pitcher on the DL and that his manager, Ron Washington -- who expressed a desire for Darvish’s return this week -- was of like mind.

“We’re all on the same page,” Daniels said. “Everyone in the same room. If there had been a desire to challenge Darvish or question his intent, it would have been right there, and Wash was 100 percent on his side and in his corner and wanted to protect him.”

Darvish waiting for symptoms to clear

August, 24, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- While not ruling the staff ace out for the season, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Sunday that Yu Darvish won't return to the rotation until he's free of symptoms of inflammation in his right elbow.

The right-hander has missed three starts during his ongoing stint on the 15-day disabled list and will not make the first leg of a 10-day road trip the Rangers begin Monday in Seattle. Darvish's status for next weekend's visit to Houston is uncertain.

"He's really in the same spot, again," Daniels said. "No. 1 factor here is get the medical staff and have Yu completely symptom-free, completely clear MRI. I just think it doesn't make a lot of sense of letting him get back out there if there is any added risk. That's the position we're taking, and we'd all love to see him back out there for a variety of different reasons. We're not going to take any chances, that's my call, the organization's call. There is too much to lose for 2015 to risk an injury."

Darvish reported some arm discomfort following an Aug. 9 start in Houston, where he gave up six runs, five earned, in four innings of work. He threw 113 pitches. Darvish told team officials he wasn't hurt during that outing, but afterward the story was different.

He experienced severe pain while pitching in Japan in 2011, which cost him a start in spring training. Darvish didn't miss any more time after that. The 28-year-old described the current inflammation in his right elbow as mild.

With the Rangers out of the pennant chase, the situation led to questions about Darvish's commitment to the team. Manager Ron Washington noted that every player has inflammation during a season, and that missing games wasn't acceptable, adding that he wanted Darvish to return.

Washington later clarified his comments, saying he wasn't mocking his staff ace and that he didn't want Darvish to pitch if it meant he would hurt himself further.

The Rangers are shorthanded in the rotation with Darvish out.

Scott Baker pitched five innings Sunday in a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals, and the squad has an open spot at Houston on Friday. Baker could get the call again.

Derek Holland is scheduled to make his final rehab outing on Thursday, so he has been ruled out for a potential start with the big club this week. Holland will become a September call-up along with several other pitchers, possibly including Robbie Ross.

So for now, the Rangers wait to see if Darvish can recover from his arm issues and, if not, will continue with their current rotation of three pitchers in their mid 20s and one in their mid 30s: Miles Mikolas (26), Nick Tepesch (25), Nick Martinez (24) and veteran Colby Lewis (35).

Holland to make rehab start Thursday

August, 24, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said left-handed starter Derek Holland (knee) will throw his last rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock. Holland is scheduled for two throwing sessions, on Monday and Tuesday, and if there are no physical problems, his scheduled start at Round Rock will go as planned.

Holland saw his scheduled rehab start Sunday in Las Vegas scratched due to back spasms and didn't make the trip.

"I'll take whatever they give me," Holland said. "If it's taking one more rehab, I'm here for whatever they need."

There's an open spot in the Rangers' rotation Friday in Houston, and manager Ron Washington hasn't settled on a starter yet with pitching coach Mike Maddux. Instead of moving Holland into that slot, the Rangers will let him make one more rehab outing, then bring him to the big club when rosters expand in September.

Washington said he definitely would look at Scott Baker, Sunday's starter against the Kansas City Royals, for that Houston game. Baker earned his second win of the season -- and first as a starter since 2011 -- with five innings of work in a 3-1 victory.

Baker became a spot starter with the club in the absence of Yu Darvish, on the 15-day disabled list with elbow trouble. Baker allowed one run on five hits while throwing 71 pitches.

"Whether I'm a starter or reliever, it's about executing pitches," Baker said.

Pregame notes: Andrus meets with coach

August, 24, 2014
Aug 24
1:00
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Following a 1-for-3 Saturday night with a stolen base against the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus had a meeting with hitting coach Dave Magadan.

The chat wasn't about Andrus struggling, because he's not. Andrus has reached base in the last 12 games and is hitting .314 in the last 27 games overall to see his average rise from .260 to .271.

So why the discussion?

"Always have to communicate," Andrus said prior to Sunday's game. "As a hitter there are things you don't see and you want to get better. It was a good meeting. We agree with everything and we're on the same page."

Andrus said Magadan will show him some things on tape he needs to improve on whether it's an approach to something or mechanical. During a game, some hitters will review an at-bat on tape and then fix things. Andrus waits for the end of the game to make some adjustments.

"It's usually technical things," Andrus said. "Maybe it's something I'm not seeing. Where a pitcher is pitching me or where he's not pitching me in that at-bat."

Holland feels better: Left-handed starter Derek Holland, on the disabled list recovering from knee surgery, said he suffered back spasms picking something up on Saturday. He was in so much pain he couldn't get on the plane for a scheduled rehab start in Las Vegas for Triple-A Round Rock. Holland underwent treatment and said Sunday morning he's feeling better.

"A freak thing," said Holland, who injured his knee while tripping over his dog during the offseason. "It got taken care of."

Holland expects to long-toss Sunday and is hopeful to throw a bullpen session as well. The Rangers could assign him to another rehab start or move him to the major league roster late next week.

"There is no doubt, I'm ready," Holland said. "Are they ready for me to come back? You name it, I'm ready and I'm good. I did treatment and I feel pretty damn good right now. I got lots of energy."

Base Hits: LF Shin-Soo Choo got Sunday off because of the flu. He should be OK for Monday's game at Seattle. Daniel Robertson replaced him as the leadoff hitter. ... Manager Ron Washington said there is nothing new regarding starter Yu Darvish (elbow) and his ability to start a throwing program. ... LF Jake Smolinski (foot) will be in a walking boot for at least another week. ... The Rangers need a starter for next Friday's game at Houston. With Darvish out -- he's not scheduled to make the 10-day road trip -- Holland is a possibility. Washington said no decision has been made.

Reliever Neal Cotts claimed off waivers

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
12:30
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Texas Rangers reliever Neal Cotts has been claimed off revocable waivers, according to a source. The organization has until Friday to work out a trade with the claiming team or pull Cotts off waivers.

(UPDATE: The Rangers couldn’t work out a deal, so they pulled Cotts back, meaning he can no longer be traded.)

SportsNation

If healthy, should Yu Darvish pitch again this season?

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The Rangers have sent Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios through waivers in the last few weeks. But the team has no intention of trading some of its high-priced talent such as Darvish because of the value he has to the franchise.

However, GM Jon Daniels is doing his due diligence analyzing the market for his players. Daniels said he's open to trading players entering the final year of their contracts, which is the case with Rios and Cotts. The team has an $13.5 million option on Rios and expressed interest in him returning.

Cotts becomes a free agent once the season ends, and the organization has expressed interest in bringing him back in 2015 even if he's traded to another team.

After being charged with a blown save August 8 against the Astros, Cotts hasn't allowed a run in his last 3 2/3 innings of work. He's allowed two hits and one while striking out two over that span.

Cotts has become one of manager Ron Washington's more reliable relievers, but with the club utilizing younger pitchers, the 34-year-old Cotts has become expendable at this stage of the season. It might be a different story had the Rangers been in contention.

These are very key times for Yu Darvish

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
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This is a critical week for the Rangers in terms of where they stand with ace Yu Darvish. At some point he should throw a bullpen session.

It doesn’t have to occur today or tomorrow, but he needs to throw sometime. Darvish wasn’t expected to make the two-game road trip to Miami, where the Texas Rangers face the Miami Marlins. If anything, Darvish isn’t needed now.

SportsNation

Which Ranger who cleared waivers should be traded?

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He's needed next week and there’s an expectation Darvish will pitch at Seattle on Aug. 25, the day he comes off the 15-day disabled list due to inflammation with his right elbow.

This is mild inflammation and the Rangers don’t want to push Darvish into something that would hurt him in the long term. Darvish needs to show the club he can pitch through some discomfort, especially if games are meaningful.

Now you could say the Rangers aren’t involved in meaningful games. But people inside the organization would disagree, because there is Adrian Beltre playing hard every day minus a day off in a lost season.

You see Elvis Andrus walking around the clubhouse with ice on his back. Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo are playing through ankle sprains when it’s clear they need rest. Rios is even getting treatment for a minor hand injury, too.

“We’re in a race to win ballgames,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said last week. “I expect Darvish to pitch on the 25th. Why wouldn’t he? So he’s got inflammation. I’ve got inflammation.”

(Read full post)

Stock Report: Bullpen up, Darvish down

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
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The Rangers had an eventful week with two walk-off victories and they avoided getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels.

STOCK UP

Streaking
Bullpen: Relievers Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz worked two scoreless innings in Sunday's victory over the Angels. In the three game series against the Angles, the Rangers bullpen gave up just one run over eight innings and has a 0.40 ERA over the last six games.

Leonys Martin: The starting center fielder is surging. After an 0-for-12 stretch, Martin went 10-for-21 the last six games. In the just completed seven-game homestand, Martin hit .417 and picked up his first career four-hit game Tuesday against Tampa Bay. While he's not hitting against left-handed starters, Martin is improving.

Adam Rosales: A nice week for the backup first baseman as he helped the Rangers to two walk-off wins. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 14th inning in a win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday and he got a single in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Angels on Sunday. Rosales reached base three times Sunday.

STOCK DOWN

Slumping
Yu Darvish: The ace went on the disabled list with mild inflammation in his right elbow Wednesday. Darvish could have pitched through the discomfort but doesn't want to risk his future. The Rangers don't have plans to shut down his season but are monitoring his progress. He is expected to return Aug. 25 at Seattle.

Alex Rios: He's playing through a sprained ankle and you wonder if that's bothering him at home plate. He's in a 1-for-21 spell with just two RBIs. He ended an 0-for-16 drought with a single Saturday night and his slash line, .285/.314/.401, should be much better considering what he's done in the past.

J.P. Arencibia: A tough stretch for the starting first baseman. He finished the homestand 1-for-13 and snapped an 0-for-19 stretch with an RBI single Saturday. He did the team a solid by pitching a scoreless ninth in relief Wednesday night. But his once-hot bat is now cold.

Darvish: More questions than answers

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
11:15
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Something doesn't add up around here.

Yu Darvish, the ace of the Texas Rangers' staff, said he has endured inflammation before in his right elbow. He had it in Japan in 2011, and it hurt so bad he couldn't play catch. Darvish missed a spring training start but was able to start the season on time. He was fantastic that year with a 1.44 ERA, and an 18-6 record in 232 innings.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish said he has pitched through worse pain than he's dealing with now when he played in Japan.
Though Darvish hasn't gotten close to those numbers in the major leagues, he's a dominant pitcher and one who is now beginning to look as if he's dealing with consistent fatigue issues in the second half of seasons.

"It's really hard to explain about your health," Darvish said through an interpreter Thursday after being put on the disabled list because of elbow inflammation. "Not all the injuries are caused, or you can find the right reasons for your injuries. I don't think this injury was caused by my fatigue."

Darvish said the elbow inflammation he's dealing with is mild compared to what he dealt with in 2011.

So why spend time on the disabled list?

Darvish said it's the smart play because he doesn't want to risk his future, and it's one the Rangers continue to worry about in the big picture given their fragile state in 2014.

If the Rangers want to contend next season, they need a healthy Darvish.

It's interesting Darvish said he could pitch, then said he couldn't pitch, then said well he doesn't want to hurt himself therefore messing up his future should his elbow give up on him.

When you look at the numbers of Darvish's career, he excels in the beginning and falters late.

(Read full post)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The world around the Texas Rangers centered on whether Yu Darvish's MRI results from a balky right elbow would bring more doom and gloom to their season.

As the Rangers awaited the results, manager Ron Washington had to move forward.

Thursday night he moved Robbie Ross into the starting rotation to replace Darvish, who is now on the 15-day disabled list, to face the Tampa Bay Rays. When Ross was last here, he struggled as a starter, going 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA in nine outings.

Ross was moved to the bullpen and didn't fare much better, allowing 13 runs (12 earned) in 12 innings before being sent down to Triple-A Round Rock. The demotion was good for Ross because he needed to work on his mental and physical game.

"He wasn't in a very good state because he wasn't being successful," Washington said of Ross. "He couldn't figure out how to right the ship. It was something he wasn't used to, and he had to think about and do some things. I hope for Robbie's sake and our sake the time he spent down there and the adjustments that he thought he felt like he had to make, he made them and he can come back here and be successful."

Washington also has high hopes for Nick Martinez, who will face the Angels in the opening of a three-game weekend set at Glove Life Park on Friday.

Washington said Martinez has big league stuff, and if Martinez were in the minor leagues he would dominate.

"He's making strides," Washington said of Martinez, who is 2-8 with a 5.22 ERA. "It's hard to see up here."

Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux continue to ask young pitchers to get 27 outs for them on a nightly basis, and that's growing harder by the day now without Darvish.

Moreland, Profar update: Rangers first baseman/DH Mitch Moreland said he got the cast removed from his left foot and is now in a walking boot. Moreland played in just 52 games this season before undergoing surgery to rebuild his ankle. He's not sure when he'll begin baseball activities.

"I like to get back as quick as I can," Moreland said.

Also, second baseman Jurickson Profar (shoulder surgery) fielded ground balls for the first time this summer on Wednesday and made some light throws Thursday.

"Obviously you want to be on the field around your team," Profar said. "At the same time, you're using it to get stronger and everything (with) my mindset. It's hard to be a year without playing baseball. It's kind of hard, but at the same time it's about getting your mind strong (and) you want to be a stronger person."

Base Hits: The Rangers demoted reliever Nate Adcock to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Ross. In seven games, Adcock had a 4.50 ERA and opponents hit .289 against him. ... Shin-Soo Choo was in the lineup Thursday in right field for the 10th time this season. Alex Rios, the normal right fielder, was the DH for the 13th time. Both players are nursing ankle sprains and will rotate between DH and RF.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.323 17 69 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 69
RA. Beltre 68
OPSA. Beltre .874
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182