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Daniels: Rangers seeking 'pen help, righty bat

ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said his two short-term priorities before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline are bullpen help and a right-handed bat to help balance the lineup.

"We've told clubs we would like to help out our bullpen a little bit, and add the right complementary right-handed bat," Daniels said Saturday. "That's kind of the 2015 short-term. Long-term big picture, adding the offseason mentality to it between now and the winter, we are going to have to consider the balance of our lineup -- left and right. Not only at the big league level, but some of our best prospects in the upper levels are left-handed hitters."

Daniels also hasn't ruled out adding another starting pitcher for the long term, one who is either signed or controllable beyond the 2015 season.

"We've got guys with a ton of talent, but some of them are coming off the disabled list and others are really young," Daniels said. "You can see the benefits of [Yovani Gallardo] this year as a guy you can count on."

Right now, Gallardo, Colby Lewis and Wandy Rodriguez are the Rangers' most consistent pitchers, but they are free agents after the season. Then there are the three pitchers that the Rangers do have signed long term: Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Martin Perez.

Harrison is in the rotation but allowed six runs in four-plus innings in his start against the D-backs on Wednesday. It was his first start in 14 months after coming back from major back surgery. Harrison is expected to begin the second half in the rotation, but the Rangers need to see significant improvement quickly.

Holland has been on the disabled list since April 11 with a strained muscle in his left shoulder. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday and Tuesday, and could be ready to graduate to live batting practice shortly after the All-Star break. But he is still not expected back until August.

Perez could be in the Rangers' rotation to start the second half. He is 14 months removed from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, has a 3.66 ERA in five rehab starts, and is supposed to pitch for Triple-A Round on Sunday. The Rangers have been getting good reports on Perez, and he could be Major League ready after Sunday.

The Rangers still have Chi Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez at Triple-A, and they have Anthony Ranaudo in the bullpen. All have had varying degrees of success in the rotation this season and will get second-half consideration as well.

The pitcher most mentioned in trade rumors is Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. The Rangers like the pitcher but are not enamored with a contract that calls for $22.5 million annually for this season and the next three. They are also not willing to give up the number of prospects being asked in return.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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