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Rangers weighing needs in rotation vs. bullpen

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

NEW YORK -- Pitching will be the Rangers' focus leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but general manager Jon Daniels is still weighing whether there is a bigger need for the rotation or the bullpen.

"So much depends on getting our arms around the health of our guys in determining our needs," Daniels said. "You can make a case for either spot. What's available remains to be seen, but it would have to be a meaningful upgrade to go outside our group."

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NEW YORK -- Pitching will be the Rangers' focus leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but general manager Jon Daniels is still weighing whether there is a bigger need for the rotation or the bullpen.

"So much depends on getting our arms around the health of our guys in determining our needs," Daniels said. "You can make a case for either spot. What's available remains to be seen, but it would have to be a meaningful upgrade to go outside our group."

Full Game Coverage

The rotation was set until injuries put Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis on the disabled list. Darvish, who threw a 46-pitch simulated game on Wednesday, is close to returning, but the Rangers haven't decided what his next step will be.

Lewis is out for two months because of the strained muscle in the back of his right shoulder. Holland is sidelined with shoulder inflammation, and the Rangers don't have a good idea of when he will be ready.

"We have to get him healthy and see where he is at," Daniels said. "Thirty clubs are on the lookout for long-term upgrades to their rotation. That's a given at all times. Getting our guys back will impact who we consider getting on a short-term basis."

The Rangers still have strong confidence in the back of their bullpen despite what happened on Wednesday night in a 9-7 loss to the Yankees. Texas led, 7-3, going into the ninth before New York rallied.

"It doesn't change anything," Daniels said. "We have a good idea on the club where our pitching needs might be. Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman and Matt Bush have been outstanding all year. A couple games got away, it's going to happen. It's not fun but it's part of the game."

The Rangers are concerned about the workload of those three pitchers, but they hope to get Keone Kela back after the All-Star break. Deposed closer Shawn Tolleson has also thrown eight scoreless innings in his last six games.

Rangers pull back on Tate
Class A Hickory pitcher Dillon Tate, who was Texas' No. 1 pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, is having his workload reduced so he can do some mechanical work on the side. The new program was created by Rangers Minor League pitching coordinator Danny Clark.

Tate, Texas' No. 3 prospect, started for Hickory on Monday but threw just 30 pitches over two innings.

Video: Top Prospects: Dillon Tate, RHP, Rangers

"It gives him more time working on the side on mechanics," Daniels said. "He got into a bad spot in his delivery, so he's working on that on the side and then building up innings in the game."

Tate is 2-3 with a 5.31 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance for Hickory. He has 44 strikeouts against 15 walks in 42 1/3 innings, but opponents are hitting .307 off him.

Rangers beat
• Pitcher Kyle Lohse, who is 3-4 with a 5.23 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A Round Rock, has an opt out on Friday and could elect free agency. He already passed on that chance at the beginning of June.

• Utility infielder Jurickson Profar started at first base on Tuesday night and was at shortstop on Thursday afternoon. Manager Jeff Banister said a start at third base and second base could be in the works this weekend. Banister is still determined to use Profar three to four times a week.

• Double-A Frisco outfielder Ryan Cordell is hitting .283 with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs in 74 games, and he was the Most Valuable Player of the Texas League All-Star Game. Said Daniels: "He is having a great year. He has always been a super athlete. He is a plus outfielder at all three spots ... has versatility. Offensively, the consistency of his at-bats has taken a step this year.

• Double-A outfielder Lewis Brinson, the Rangers' No. 1 Draft pick in 2012 and No. 2 prospect, hasn't played since June 9 because of an injured left shoulder, but he is currently working out in Arizona and could return soon.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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