ARLINGTON -- Weeks of conversations Texas Rangers brass held with other teams about their starting pitchers produced next to nothing.
The final 10 minutes before the annual non-waiver trade deadline, though, produced a much-needed veteran arm to rejuvenate an ailing rotation for the stretch run.
Ryan Dempster was acquired from the Chicago Cubs just before 3 p.m. Tuesday for a pair of low-level prospects. He will make his Rangers debut Thursday in the series finale against Anaheim.
The right-hander plugs the hole created when Colby Lewis was lost last week to elbow surgery. The Rangers also learned last week that Neftali Feliz wasn't a candidate because he needs Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in his elbow.
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General manager Jon Daniels said that he didn't feel compelled to make a deal, but it wasn't difficult to realize that the Rangers needed rotation help.
He found it, with just minutes to spare.
"Unfortunately, a lot of these things come down right at the end," Daniels said. "I wish it didn't happen that way, but I'm quite sure on both sides that makes things happen. This was literally within five or 10 minutes of the deadline.
"We wanted to improve the club. If Colby and Neftali had been 100 percent, we still would have been looking to improve the club. Would there have been as much of a need in the rotation? Probably not."
The trade pushes Roy Oswalt to the bullpen as the Rangers' long man, and Scott Feldman keeps his rotation spot on the strength of his recent turnaround.
Feldman has given up only one run in his past two starts, covering 15 innings, and has won his past four decisions. Oswalt gave up eight runs in 51/3 innings Monday and also has dealt with back pain the past two weeks.
The Rangers are riding the hot hand.
"It's the nature of where we are in the season," Daniels said.
The Rangers weren't certain if Dempster would waive his rights to block a trade to the Rangers until Tuesday. Dempster, 35, said that he approved a deal after they emerged as a potential landing spot.
He's excited to return to the club that drafted him in 1995 and dealt him away a year later. Dempster leaves a team that entered Tuesday 171/2 games back in the National League Central at 43-58 and joins the reigning American League champions and the leaders of the AL West.
"It's exciting to go somewhere that's got a real, real chance of winning the World Series for a third straight year, and hopefully that can happen," Dempster said. "It wasn't that I didn't approve anything. It's just that I was never asked about the Rangers."
In Dempster, the Rangers acquired a pitcher who was among the NL ERA leaders all season. He leaves behind a 2.25 ERA, second in the league, as he joins an AL club for the first time in his career.
But he won't be alone. The Rangers traded for his catcher since 2008, Geovany Soto, on Monday night, and they will be paired together Thursday.
Soto will fill a similar role to Yorvit Torrealba, who was designated for assignment after the commissioner's office approved a trade that sends cash to the Rangers and minor league pitcher Jake Brigham and a player to be named or cash to the Cubs.
Soto said that Dempster, a master of adjustments, should have a smooth transition to the AL.
"He's been in the league 13 or 14 years," Soto said. "He knows how to make the adjustments. He's always reinvented himself to survive and be one of the best."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760