Rangers could add reliever via trade

June 18th, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers are targeting relief pitching in their trade discussions with other clubs, general manager Jon Daniels said Friday.

"The bullpen is the area we'll look at," Daniels said. "Other areas, it would have to be a pretty unique situation, because we feel good about our ballclub. You always look to do better, but realistically, what's going to be out there and whether or not it fits, I don't know."

Daniels said his assessment of the bullpen has been "mixed." He likes the back end with closer Sam Dyson, right-handers Matt Bush and Tony Barnette, and left-hander Jake Diekman. Daniels still thinks Shawn Tolleson will rebound, and he hopes Keone Kela and Tanner Scheppers will come off the disabled list sometime in July.

"The back end has been very good," Daniels said. "We have been in a lot of close ballgames, won a lot of ballgames and they've pitched in a lot of ballgames. I see the middle settling down and I see Tolleson being a part of it. Hopefully we'll get Keone and Tanner back mid to late next month, and the middle group will come together."

The Rangers could still use one more big arm in the bullpen to ease the workload.

"It would help," Daniels said. "We're very open to that being one of our guys. We'll explore the trade market, but the guys we have coming back are pretty good when they are healthy."

Daniels said it's still early in the trade discussions, with only a few teams having emerged as sure "sellers" when the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

The Rangers still have candidates at Triple-A Round Rock, including right-handers Luke Jackson and Jose LeClerc. The Rangers also acquired Justin DeFratus from the Mariners last week, and he has 191 games of Major League experience with the Phillies in 2011-15. The Rangers will also consider Kyle Lohse for the bullpen. He is currently at Round Rock, but has made 39 relief appearances in the Majors in addition to 416 starts over his 15-year career.

"Anybody down there is a candidate," Daniels said.

Darvish needs to finish

Pitcher Yu Darvish, who is on the DL with tightness and discomfort in his right shoulder, is with the Rangers in St. Louis. He is not planning to throw a bullpen session, but could play catch as pitching coach Doug Brocail works on his mechanics.

Brocail said Darvish is not following through on his mechanics, and that is causing the discomfort.

"I want no recoil," Brocail said. "I want finish to the delivery. The lack of finish is the problem. I know that's what's causing the soreness."

Darvish made just three starts after missing 14 months because of Tommy John surgery. He is eligible to come off the DL next Friday when the Rangers open a three-game series at home against the Red Sox.

Rangers beat

• Texas has agreed to terms with its seventh-round selection in last week's Draft, catcher Sam Huff from Arcadia High School in Phoenix.

• Bobby Wilson started Friday at catcher for the second straight game. He and Robinson Chirinos will likely share the position, with Bryan Holaday serving as the third catcher. But manager Jeff Banister said the goal is to keep them all fresh, especially now that the Rangers are back to playing in hot weather again.

• The Rangers were surprised when Tom Wilhelmsen elected to take his free agency rather than accept outright assignment to Triple-A. He forfeited his $1.8 million salary and Banister said, "He wants to pitch in the big leagues. If he finds a team that will give him the opportunity, we'll wish him well. We like Tom. He's a guy who has a terrific arm and has a track record."

• Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis has taken a perfect game into the eighth against the Athletics in two starts the past two years. He did so on Sept. 11, 2015, and again on Thursday. The last pitcher to do that twice against the same team was Hall of Famer Don Sutton for the Dodgers against the Pirates in 1975 and '76.

• Lewis (36 years, 319 days) is the oldest pitcher to take a perfect game into the eighth inning since Randy Johnson (40 years, 251 days) threw his perfect game for the D-backs against the Braves on May 18, 2004.

• Adrian Beltre's two RBIs on Thursday gave him 1,509 for his career, tying him with Mickey Mantle for 53rd all-time.