Rangers might still trade reliever Uehara

Posted Friday, Feb. 17, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Depending on who was asked, the Texas Rangers' attempts to trade Koji Uehara could be to free up money to add Roy Oswalt, or to add Michael Gonzalez, or to trade a player who doesn't seem happy to be with the two-time American League champions.

But in an off-season that saw the Rangers spend smartly to get Joe Nathan and heavily to get Yu Darvish, a potential Uehara trade ultimately could boil down to an old-fashioned salary dump.

A baseball source said on Friday afternoon that the $4 million that would be saved should Uehara be traded is not tied to a possible acquisition of free agents Oswalt or Gonzalez, even though the Oswalt link still has faint life.

Oswalt and the Rangers met over lunch last month to get a sense of where each side stood. Oswalt told the Rangers that he didn't want to pitch in relief, and reportedly was seeking a $10 million contract for 2012.

That was out of the Rangers' price range, and they have little interest in moving Matt Harrison to the bullpen to accommodate Oswalt.

Instead, the Rangers were interested in Oswalt as a bullpen piece who could slide into the rotation capably should a starter be injured.

Oswalt's name continues to surface because of his ties to team president Nolan Ryan, pitching coach Mike Maddux and bench coach Jackie Moore from their time together in the Houston organization.

The $4 million that the Rangers would save on Uehara would help in acquiring Oswalt or Gonzalez, who was acquired from Baltimore a month after Uehara last season.

But that money would also help the Rangers shrink their budget.

General manager Jon Daniels said six days ago that the club's payroll had climbed over budget after acquiring Nathan and Darvish and handing out raises through the arbitration process to several players.

Oakland is closest to a deal for Uehara, and likely would send lower-level prospects in return for taking on all of the $4 million.

The A's, though, might be willing to part with Adam Rosales, a utility infielder who has fallen behind Eric Sogard for that role this season.

Injury report

The Rangers provided medical updates ahead of the start of spring training for players who are either coming off injuries from last season or who underwent off-season surgeries.

Outfielder Josh Hamilton (hernia surgery in November), second baseman Ian Kinsler (ankle injection in November) and left-hander Mitch Stetter (hip surgery in August) have been cleared for full participation.

First baseman Mitch Moreland (wrist surgery in November) and catcher Mike Napoli (sprained ankle) will be monitored at the start of drills.

Right-hander Mike Adams (hernia surgery in January) is on a throwing program and on schedule, and Brad Hawpe (Tommy John surgery in August) is cleared to play first base but continues to build arm strength before playing the outfield.

Pitchers and catchers must report to Surprise by Wednesday.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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