Rangers notes: Team seeking right-handed hitter for left-heavy lineup

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A look at the Texas Rangers’ lineup Tuesday provides plenty of explanation as to why the club is seeking a right-handed power bat with just over three weeks remaining until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Manager Ron Washington had the light-hitting, right-handed bats of Elvis Andrus and Robinson Chirinos in the bottom half of the lineup to help break up a glut of left-handed hitters against Baltimore lefty Zach Britton.

The Orioles will start another port-sider, Wei-Yin Chen, Wednesday.

The Rangers were a right-handed bat short to open the year, but are now missing a couple more. Utility man Jeff Baker, who fares well against lefties, and switch-hitting designated hitter Lance Berkman are both on the disabled list.

The Rangers could also be without right-fielder Nelson Cruz, their leader in homers and RBIs, if he is suspended for involvement with the Biogenesis of America clinic and his potential appeal fails.

A right-handed bat isn’t a luxury item. It’s a necessity.

“That’s not a secret,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’ve been talking about we’d like to get another right-handed bat.”

Much will depend on which clubs will be sellers at the deadline. The most coveted right-handed-hitting outfielder is Giancarlo Stanton, but Miami officials have indicated that he won’t be dealt.

The Chicago White Sox would part with outfielder Alex Rios, who has 11 homers after hitting 25 in 2012, but the Rangers have some concerns about his contract. They would owe him just more than $4 million this year and $13.5 million in 2014.

Lewis moves forward

Right-hander Colby Lewis said that he got through a 45-pitch session of live batting practice without any discomfort in his triceps, and will throw another round Saturday in Detroit.

Being pain-free was his first priority, and he realized that his velocity and command were a little off Tuesday. The belief is that the more he works, the stronger his arm will become and the harder he will throw.

“Once I get the amount of reps I need, the whip will come and the velocity will come,” he said. “It’s time to push forward with what little I have left.”

Lewis could go out for a rehab assignment if all goes well Saturday. It would be his third assignment for what initially was surgery for a torn flexor tendon last July, but he experienced triceps tendinitis in his first two rehab stints.

“The arm definitely feels a lot better this time, though,” he said.

Lindblom gets nod

Josh Lindblom was the choice over fellow righty Ross Wolf to start Wednesday’s game in part because he has been working as a starter most recently.

Lindblom was recalled for a third time this season last week as a reliever and hasn’t started since June 27 for Triple A Round Rock. But he has made two relief appearance since returning to the Rangers and doesn’t believe the 12-day span between starts will be an issue.

“I’m not worried about my stamina,” said Lindblom, who was 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA in the minors. “I’ve been up in the bullpen. I just have to execute and go out there and pitch.”

Wolf’s effectiveness as a long man also was a factor in giving Lindblom the start. Wolf, who got a key out Monday to end the seventh inning on only one pitch, has a 1.95 ERA in 12 relief appearances.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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