Notes: Rangers may wait to add Sosa
Because of 40-man roster limitations, delay very likely
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Contractually, the Rangers have to decide on Thursday if they are going to add outfielder Sammy Sosa and utilityman Jerry Hairston to the 40-man roster.According to the terms of their Minor League contracts, both could choose to become free agents if they aren't added. The most likely scenario has general manager Jon Daniels talking with the agents for both players to extend the deadline. "I don't anticipate an issue on either front," Daniels said Wednesday morning before the Rangers' 9-5 win over the Padres. Sosa is expected to make the team. But one obstacle is the Rangers' 40-man roster is full right now, and the club would have to expose a player to outright waivers if they wanted to add Sosa and/or Hairston. They aren't ready to make that decision. "That's part of it," Daniels said. Hairston is in a battle for a utility job, going up against Desi Relaford, Matt Kata and Ramon Vazquez. With Michael Young sidelined with a minor ear injury, Hairston started at shortstop on Wednesday. He is not eager to take his free agency. "I love it here," Hairston said. "The guys are great and I've gotten close to them. They're doing good things here. We've got arguably the best shortstop in baseball in Michael Young. He's the heart and soul of the team, and we have a good young player in Ian Kinsler, who I think is going to be an All-Star. The pitching is getting better and that's the name of the game. I like the attitude here." No swings for pitchers: Rangers manager Ron Washington, as a coach for the Oakland Athletics, has seen pitcher Mark Mulder hit a three-run home run in a Spring Training game. He has also seen Kenny Rogers injure a ribcage muscle swinging a bat in Spring Training. He doesn't want either one from his pitchers. Washington has ordered his pitchers not to swing the bat if they have to hit in a National League park under National League rules. They did so on Wednesday against the Padres in Peoria, and Brandon McCarthy struck out on four pitches in the third inning against Jake Peavy. "I really wanted to swing. I could have hit some of those pitches," McCarthy said. "I love swinging the bat, but I understand this is Spring Training." Bruce Chen drew a six-pitch walk against Padres closer Trevor Hoffman in the seventh. Rangers pitchers also have to hit again Thursday in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. "Their job is to pitch, not swing," Washington said. "We're not going to win a game because of their hitting." Washington said the Rangers will thoroughly prepare their pitchers to hit when Interleague Play comes up in the regular season. Curveball lacking: McCarthy, who allowed two solo home runs in four innings against the Padres on Wednesday, is finding out what Nolan Ryan said about Spring Training.
Big day coming for pitchers: Thursday could be an extremely interesting day for the pitching staff. The storylines: Right-hander Robinson Tejeda pitches for the Rangers against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tucson. Tejeda didn't endear himself to Washington in his last start on Saturday against the Giants, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks in two innings. Josh Rupe also had a rough outing against the Giants, allowing four runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings and needs to pitch well. He's in danger of dropping far behind in the fifth-starter competition. Eric Gagne pitches in a Minor League game in Surprise. Both Washington and pitching coach Mark Connor are missing the trip to Tucson so they can watch Gagne. They will also watch C.J. Wilson pitch two innings, and he could also use a good outing. He has allowed seven runs on eight hits and four walks in four innings of work. He said it: "He was a lot more vociferous today and more aggressive in taking charge of the game. That's what I want to see." -- Washington on catcher Gerald Laird, who started against the Mariners on Wednesday
Up next: Tejeda makes his third spring start for the Rangers on Thursday when they play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tucson. Tejeda is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in his first two outings. Edgar Gonzalez starts for the Diamondbacks.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.