Weatherford Democrat

Sports

July 19, 2013

Rangers looking to upgrade after All-Star break

(Continued)

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HURTING HURLERS: Of the majors-high 10 players the Rangers have on the disabled list, six are starting pitchers. All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish (8-4), the major league strikeout leader with 157, is expected back Monday night after what in essence was only one missed start because of a right trapezius strain. Alexi Ogando is on the DL for the second time this season. But opening day starter Matt Harrison made only two starts in April before surgery twice on a herniated disk in his lower back, and Colby Lewis is still rehabbing from surgery last July to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. Nick Tepesch, one of three rookies who have made a combined 39 starts for Texas, is also on the disabled list. The Rangers still have a 3.73 team ERA, second-best in the American League.

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NEEDING NELLIE: All-Star right-fielder Nelson Cruz leads the Rangers with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs. It seems more likely now that the slugger eligible for free agency this offseason will be able to remain in the Texas lineup all season. Cruz is among more than a dozen MLB players under investigation for ties to Biogenesis, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida linked with the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. The baseball players’ association said this week that any suspensions resulting from the sport’s latest drug investigation likely won’t be served until next year if the discipline is challenged before an arbitrator.

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MANNY BEING A RANGER?: Manny Ramirez signed a minor league deal with Texas earlier this month, cut his long dreadlocks and hit three home runs in his first eight games for Triple-A Round Rock. Could the 41-year-old Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star and .312 lifetime hitter with 555 career home runs, be an option down the stretch? General manager Jon Daniels said it’s still premature to say. Since Ramirez hasn’t played in the majors since April 2011 with Tampa Bay, the Rangers want him to keep getting at-bats in the minors for now. “From a clubhouse perspective and a teammate, it’s been very positive reports,” Daniels said. “We knew when we signed him we were going to give him a few weeks minimum to really let him settle in, and make an evaluation, see where he is and if there’s a spot here and whether he can help us. Those are still two things we are evaluating. “

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