THE NEWBERG REPORT — APRIL 5, 2006

For one night, from his seat next to Tom Hicks, Jon Daniels had to feel pretty good.

Phil Nevin, the player he traded Chan Ho Park for — and make no mistake, Daniels played a major role in that deal — drove in five runs from the cleanup spot. He did his job.

Vicente Padilla, the player Daniels basically traded nothing for — Ricardo Rodriguez still has no job a week after being released by the Phillies — was at best the third most important pitching acquisition Daniels made this winter. Maybe the fourth. He had exquisite command of a versatile fastball against a strong lineup, touching 95 at times. Padilla pitched like a number one, for one night. He did his job.

Brad Wilkerson, the most important everyday player Daniels picked up this winter, singled twice, homered (off a lefthander), stole a base, and scored three runs from the leadoff spot. He did his job.

As Akinori Otsuka and Francisco Cordero wrestled a bit to put Boston away, Daniels was probably thinking about Robinson Tejeda’s side session earlier in the day, or the inning of work C.J. Wilson will get in Frisco’s opener on Thursday, or the opportunity he has in the next four or five days to trade Erasmo Ramirez and avoid losing him on a waiver claim.

But that 27th out had to feel good, better than Monday’s. It’s likely that Daniels didn’t allow himself to think, "I did my job," instead saying to himself, "It’s just one night." Hope he took a second to appreciate the fact that, for the first time, a roster he was ultimately responsible for designing won a major league baseball game.

And so it’s on to the rubber match. Daniels is probably thinking, it’s just another one of 162. Here’s what I wrote about tonight’s game, back on November 22, when the Rangers’ attempt to trade for Josh Beckett fell short:

"I’m not sure what sorts of emotions will dominate when Beckett pitches on April 3, 4, or 5 as Boston opens in Arlington. I’m not upset at him; he certainly didn’t have the prerogative to choose which team he’d be with in 2006.

"But on whatever day he pitches, wearing the same number 21 that fellow Texan Roger Clemens wore, he’ll be in the way, and I hope we destroy the Red Sox. Destroy them."

Adam Eaton had surgery yesterday to repair a pulley connecting the tendon to the bone at the base of his right middle finger. Doctors estimate the rehabilitation process could take four months rather than three. Eaton will spend the first six weeks of rehab in Surprise.

John Koronka, whom the Rangers plan to start against Detroit on Friday, threw 67 pitches over a simulated four innings on Sunday. He gave up no runs on two hits and two walks.

Tejeda will start for Oklahoma in its opener tomorrow and could join the big league rotation after two RedHawk starts. If Koronka pitches well against the Tigers, it’s possible, according to a couple stories, that he could survive and that it might be R.A. Dickey’s spot that Tejeda takes.

Texas reportedly had to throw in $450,000 to get Tejeda for David Dellucci, but in exchange got the Phillies to upgrade the second player in the deal from an organizational soldier to outfield prospect Jake Blalock.

A quote from Dellucci, who I suggested on Sunday could conceivably come back in 2007: "The most important thing is the respect of your teammates, and I leave here knowing that I was well-respected and well-loved by my teammates and the staff. . . . I would love to come back [to the Rangers] and play with my teammates, with the guys. I love living in Texas and playing for these fans. [But] I’m not taking any more discounts."

Though Gary Matthews Jr.’s rehab assignment could be brief, he’ll start at designated hitter for Oklahoma tomorrow rather than test his shoulder defensively right away.

According to Buck Showalter, righthander Nick Regilio, who continues to deal with elbow discomfort, is thinking about retiring and taking a coaching job with the organization in extended spring training.

All four full-season minor league clubs open tomorrow. If you’re on the Newberg Report mailing list, you’ve seen Mike Hindman’s reports on what the Opening Day rosters look like for Oklahoma, Frisco, Bakersfield, and Clinton.

No staggering surprises, though I thought Mike Nickeas might have been assigned to catch Johnny Lujan in Frisco rather than Bakersfield. The thought is evidently that the organization wanted to match Nickeas up with the promising young starters who will front the Blaze rotation (primarily Eric Hurley and Michael Schlact), and to have Nickeas there to help Emerson Frostad with his conversion from third base to catcher.

John Mayberry Jr. begins the season on the disabled list with the hamstring that nagged him through spring training. He’s likely slated for LumberKing duties. Lefthander A.J. Murray starts the year on Oklahoma’s disabled list, and righthander Jose Silva remains in extended.

One thing to consider with regard to the release of outfielder Juan Senreiso, whom Texas wanted to convert to pitcher: I’m pretty sure that he would have had six-year free agency rights at the end of the season if not on the 40-man roster.

Among the Red Sox contingent in town this week is former Rangers P.R. man John Blake, whom Boston named vice president for media relations over the weekend.

Lefthander Darren Oliver earned a job in the Mets bullpen.

San Diego signed second baseman Chris O’Riordan to a minor league contract.

The Lincoln SaltDogs of the independent American Association signed lefthander Chris Russ, and the Calgary Vipers of the independent Northern League signed infielder Tyler Klippenstein.

Victor Rojas has started a blog for MLB.com, called "The Spoils." If the first couple entries are any indication of what’s in store for us, you ought to bookmark the project right away.

It’s basically meaningless that Texas is tied for first place in the AL West as the club gets set for Kameron Loe vs. Josh Beckett tonight — the Rangers are tied for last as well — but I’m really pumped for this one. Even if it’s just another night for the club, and its general manager.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

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