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Star-Telegram.com

Yu Darvish deadline nears for Rangers

Posted Monday, Jan. 16, 2012

By Jeff Wilson

jwilson@star-telegram.com

This will not be an ordinary, run-of-the-mill off-season week for the Texas Rangers.

Come quitting time Wednesday afternoon, Yu Darvish could be on the roster. The Rangers' wallet could be more than $100 million lighter as a result.

The agents for Darvish, U.S.-based Arn Tellem and Japan-based Don Nomura arrived in Texas on Monday ahead of the 4 p.m. Wednesday deadline to sign the Japanese right-hander.

Many analysts expect that a deal will be completed after a report surfaced that only the length of the contract hasn't been agreed upon, and even team president Nolan Ryan has expressed optimism that a deal will be reached.

The addition of Darvish would leave the Rangers with six starters for five rotation spots, and that assumes that Scott Feldman has been ticketed for the bullpen.

The battle to be the fifth starter would come down to Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison, who combined to win 27 games in 2011. Both want to be starters, but something will have to give.

"That is something that is out of my control," Ogando said Sunday at the annual Rangers Fan Fest. "I don't think too much about it. I know I'll be ready to be a starter and if they make a different decision, I'll be ready."

Ogando is a more likely bullpen candidate than Harrison, a starter for most of his career.

After a first half in which the bullpen struggled, it was a strength late in the season and in the playoffs. Ogando, a set-up man as a rookie, was a difference-maker out of the bullpen in the first two rounds of the postseason.

The power right-hander was able to dominate over multiple innings against Tampa Bay and Detroit, and ran out of steam in the World Series (10.13 ERA, seven walks in 2 2/3 innings).

Harrison, meanwhile, amassed career-highs in every major pitching category and started four times in the postseason, including Game 7 of the World Series.

The left-hander worked in relief for the second half the 2010 season and was effective, but his stuff works better in the rotation than in the bullpen.

"I haven't heard a word from anybody," Harrison said. "I'd be very upset if they tried to talk to me about going back to the bullpen. I think I've proven myself, just like Ogando. I think we did a pretty good job."

They did, with the second- and third-lowest ERAs in the rotation, but if Darvish is added as a starter, something will have to give.

Father-in-law quits

The Rangers are looking for a new accountability partner for Josh Hamilton after his father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, backed out of the position less the two weeks after accepting it.

General manager Jon Daniels said that he expects that the Rangers will fill the vacancy, even though Hamilton said on Saturday that he doesn't need someone to be with him on the road as he continues the day-to-day battle against addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Chadwick decided to not fill the role, citing family obligations. Hamilton said that Chadwick, who lives in North Carolina, has a daughter who is finishing high school.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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