There can’t be any question at this point: Two spots in the 2007 rotation are cemented. Kevin Millwood and Robinson Tejeda, both under Rangers control for another four years, are undoubtedly locked in as February starters. That’s not to say that Tejeda goes in as the number two starter — he’s more likely a four on paper — but he’s done an outstanding job since his return from Oklahoma.

Command of a good fastball is a beautiful thing.

It’s what has made Tejeda dependable, and it’s exactly what prevents Edinson Volquez right now from being able to do the same.

Wes Littleton surely has a spot locked down himself. He didn’t face his first big league hitter until July, but he’s been spectacular since that time, permitting runs only four times in 32 appearances. His first big league win and last night’s first big league save each came in Anaheim, in front of dozens of relatives and friends.

Littleton sits at 2-1, 1.54 as a Ranger, holding hitters to a line of .181/.273/.233 (including an improving .243/.370/.324 by lefties). In 35 innings, he’s scattered just 21 hits, including one double, one triple, and one home run, with a silly 3.74 groundball-to-flyball rate.

Akinori Otsuka won’t pitch again this season, due to persistent migraine headaches and the drowsiness caused by the medication doctors have prescribed to control them.

Mark Teixeira delivered his 30th bomb last night, raising his season numbers to .277/.368/.499 with 44 doubles, 88 walks, 95 runs, and 104 RBI.

Mark DeRosa is up to 74 RBI for the season, one more than the total he amassed the last three years (his only three full big league seasons).

There’s an emptiness in the Rangers organization, with the passing on Saturday of Judy Johns, the club’s director of major league administration and a member of the organization since 1973.

The Rangers considered sending Josh Rupe to round out their Arizona Fall League contingent but ultimately decided against it. Rupe’s wife is expecting their first child in a few weeks.

Having earlier delegated the Clinton trio of outfielder John Mayberry Jr., third baseman Johnny Whittleman, and second baseman Jose Vallejo to the West Oahu CaneFires of the Hawaii Winter League, Texas has added Bakersfield catcher Emerson Frostad to the Oahu roster.

Managers and scouts named shortstop Marcus Lemon the number four Arizona League prospect this summer in a Baseball America survey.

One Rangers prospect made a BA Minor League All-Star squad: Spokane first baseman Chris Davis was named the Short-Season A All-Star first baseman.

Alex Rodriguez is 3 for 18 (two singles and a double) since Tom Verducci’s illuminating Sports Illustrated cover story hit the stands.

Detroit got righthander Colby Lewis through waivers and outrighted him to AAA.

Twins candidates for 2006 MVP: (1) Justin Morneau; (2) Joe Mauer; (3) Johan Santana; (4) Giants GM Brian Sabean. Maybe not in that order.

The New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League released righthander Willy Espinal.

I spent Tuesday in Roanoke, Indiana, my first time in that town of fewer than 1,500 folks. Byron Nelson passed away on Tuesday, at his Roanoke, Texas home. Weird. To me, at least.

The final edition of my “Going Deep” column for covers the rules and timetables for clubs to offer arbitration to their own free agents in the off-season, a very important aspect of the Rangers’ winter plans.

Tejeda has made the Rangers’ winter work a little bit easier.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at


There are many more questions than answers coming up this off season for the Rangers. Will Buck be back? Can they re-sign Padilla, Lee or GMJ? Can they sign ANY free agent starter to come to Arlington for anything but a king’s ransom? How will their key position players react to another season (2007) with a ramshackle rotation? Assuming Tejeda is in the rotation, which 2 kids can be relied upon?

Will JD be criticized when we have nothing to show for the deal with the Padres but a big hole where Chris Young would look awfully good?

The first decision they have to make is the manager. They either need to commit to Buck long term or make a change ASAP. I think it will be the latter.

somebody needs to commit. The Yankees are comited too spending. The A’s are comited to “Money Ball”. The Marlins are comited to “Build and Dump”. What are the Rangers comited too I dunno. We have young Pitching prospects let’s comit to them? Let’s comitt to big bats (been there done that). I will be waiting patiently like I do every year. I know I am comitted or need to be.

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