Rangers notes: Joe Nathan not worried about trade rumors

Posted Sunday, Jul. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Joe Nathan walked into the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field on Sunday morning and was greeted with news that the Texas Rangers have considered trading him.

His reaction?

“I’ve never worried about this stuff and I’m not going to start now,” Nathan said. “I’m going to play and try and help this team win. As far as my thought process, I’m battling with this team to get us to the postseason.”

At this point, the Rangers are considering all options for ways to boost a reeling offense, and Nathan might be the most attractive trade piece on the team. The 38-year-old has converted 32 of 34 save opportunities and has a 1.73 ERA this season.

Nathan is in the second year of a two-year, $14 million deal with the Rangers. The team has a $9 million option or a $750,000 buyout for next season, but Nathan can void that and become a free agent if he has 55 games finished this season. He has 39 so far, well on his way to reach that mark.

Nathan’s preference is to stay with the Rangers, but the team is searching for offensive help. They have been linked to several bats on the market, including Alex Rios, but a deal for the White Sox outfielder seems unlikely at this point because the price tag remains high, a source said.

Unlike the offense, the bullpen depth is an area of strength. If Nathan were to be dealt, former All-Star closer Joakim Soria could step into the closer’s role. The team is also expecting Neftali Feliz, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, to begin a rehab assignment in early August.

“I’ve obviously enjoyed myself here, enjoy this team,” Nathan said. “I’m assuming I’m going to be here the rest of the year, and I’m assuming I’m going to grind it out with the boys in here and try to get us back to the postseason. We know we’ve been in a funk, but we also know we’re still in the hunt.”

More details in Scheppers’ altercation

Cleveland police released more information on the physical altercation that involved reliever Tanner Scheppers early Friday morning.

Cleveland police spokesman Sgt. Sammy Morris said in an email that their preliminary investigation revealed that the incident took place at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday at a downtown Cleveland bar, Panini’s, about six blocks from the Rangers’ team hotel.

“Once on scene, officers attempted to get information from Scheppers for a report. However, he refused to provide information and refused to make a police report,” Morris wrote. “Further, officers called for EMS and he refused medical attention and EMS was disregarded. The officers then conveyed Scheppers and another male to the Rangers’ team hotel.

“There is nothing further at this time.”

Scheppers, who sustained bruises and cuts around his left eye, talked about the incident Saturday, saying he was “sucker-punched” by random attackers and was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

He declined further comment after Sunday’s game.

In a statement, the Rangers said they are in the process of investigating the incident and have been in contact with officials from Cleveland police and the Indians.

Injury updates

Matt Harrison, rehabbing from two back surgeries earlier this season, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday. If all goes well, he will begin a medical rehabilitation assignment on Wednesday.

Harrison would throw two innings, but is unsure if it would be for Triple A Round Rock or Double A Frisco.

Left-hander Michael Kirkman, on the 60-day disabled list after receiving treatment for skin cancer, is throwing in Arizona and hoping to begin a rehab assignment the first week of August.

Nick Tepesch, on the DL with right elbow inflammation, has yet to start his throwing program.


• First baseman Mitch Moreland, 0 for his last 20, will likely get the next two games off, Ron Washington said.

• Josh Hamilton and the Angels return to town on Monday, although without Albert Pujols who landed on the disabled list on Sunday. Asked if he was surprised the Angels had a double-digit deficit in the division race, Washington said: “Very much so. But they got off to such a poor start and sometimes when you get off to that type of start, it’s hard to dig yourself out.

“But they’re a solid group and they’re going to continue to fight. I don’t think they’re going to catch Oakland, but I don’t think anything is going to change in our games. They’re going to be hard-fought, that’s for sure.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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