THE NEWBERG REPORT — JUNE 2, 2007

Seven times in last night’s nine innings the Rangers put their first two hitters on base. Must be a franchise record, don’t you think?

A dazzling 8-6-3 twin-killing triggered by Kenny Lofton when he robbed Adrian Beltre of a home run in the seventh and a nice sliding stop by left fielder Marlon Byrd on a Jose Vidro double down the line in the third obscured what was otherwise another offensive night on defense.

Seventeen runners left on base. Criminal. But a win is a win. Even if it was a freakin’ softball game.

Mark Teixeira’s 501st consecutive game played was cut short in the fourth inning when Ichiro Suzuki’s one-hop laser from center field to the plate glanced off Kenji Johjima’s mitt and nailed Teixeira beneath his left eye. Clearly dazed, big bruise, but no fracture. A mild concussion makes his readiness for tonight a gametime decision. His games played streak is second only to Miguel Tejada’s.

Getting the chance to consistently watch Eric Gagné, it’s easy to see why he was developed as a starting pitcher, given his three plus offerings, a rarity for a closer. What’s amazing is that one of the greatest closers in history (at least for a short time) was such a pedestrian starter (4.68 ERA in 265.1 big league innings, with home games in a pitchers’ park).

The Rangers’ 20-loss May was the first in franchise history.

The club lost 100 games and 105 games in its first two seasons, and hasn’t lost in triple digits since. At this pace, Texas would lose 103 times this year.

Righthander Vicente Padilla is the first-ever Ranger with eight losses before June.

The three runs Seattle scored off Padilla in the first on Thursday marked the 25th time this season — in just 54 games — that Texas had fallen behind 2-0 or more in the first inning.

Can we continue playing the late-inning percentages with Matt Kata, who seems completely out of rhythm at the plate?

In his two big league seasons with the White Sox, righthander Brandon McCarthy held left-handed hitters to an anemic .201/.274/.356 line, striking them out once for every four at-bats. This year lefties are hitting .275/.333/.488 off McCarthy, fanning once every eight at-bats.

Perhaps the biggest news of the night on the farm: Taylor Teagarden played defensively for the first time since landing on the disabled list in mid-April with soreness in his right elbow, on which he’d had Tommy John surgery a year and a half ago. The 23-year-old returned to action on May 10 and was outstanding offensively for the month, hitting .338/.485/.714 in 77 at-bats — with eight home runs and 19 walks in 21 games — but he appeared only as a designated hitter. Teagarden caught Bear Bay and Danny Touchet over the first six innings of Bakersfield’s 5-4 win in San Jose last night, nailing one of two would-be basestealers and hitting his 11th homer of the season in the first inning.

Oklahoma lefthander John Rheinecker has thrown 11 scoreless innings (six hits, three walks, five strikeouts) in his two starts since arriving from extended spring training, where he was rehabbing due to back issues.

Frisco righthander Kea Kometani, who went 8-5, 4.69 for the RoughRiders last season after a promotion to AA one year ago today, started off this season by going 1-2, 5.64 in six starts. Moved to the bullpen, the 24-year-old has fired seven scoreless innings in relief, scattering two hits and three walks while fanning eight.

Texas placed Bakersfield righthander Kendy Batista and Clinton outfielder Craig Gentry on the disabled list, assigning utility man Nick Cadena to the Blaze and first baseman Ian Gac to the LumberKings out of extended.

Texas gave catcher Miguel Ojeda, whom the club had designated for assignment a week ago, his unconditional release to allow him to play in Mexico.

Our own Scott Lucas has put together a really impressive statistical chart breaking down the top players in the Rangers farm system, at http://rangers.scottlucas.com/site/minorstat.htm.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Texas had informal discussions with Barry Bonds at the Winter Meetings but made no contract offer. A close friend of the aging slugger is quoted in the story to say: “Barry talked to me a lot about Texas. . . . [He] talked about being a DH and going to the American League. He loved the idea of hitting in that ballpark. I really thought he was going to end up there.”

The draft is Thursday. The Rangers pick seven times in the first 110 selections. Last year they had two picks in the same span.

Would have been eight of the first 111 had Rod Barajas signed the Blue Jays deal that he’d verbally agreed to in late November. Texas would have gotten an additional compensatory pick (I believe at number 62) had the Barajas deal with Toronto gone through.

Several mock drafts have Connecticut high school righthander Matt Harvey going to Texas at number 17. Not long ago there were no mocks that had him lasting that long, and some pre-season rankings had him as the top high school prospect in the nation. Harvey works in the mid-90s with a power curve and developing change, and despite his Scott Boras ties, I’d be thrilled if we get to call his name on Thursday.

Not so crazy about the idea of Tennessee center fielder Julio Borbon, who has had issues at the plate this year, hasn’t worked enough deep counts for a leadoff prospect, and doesn’t throw well. Don’t mind taking a shot on someone like that, but I’d rather see 17 and 24 devoted elsewhere. Borbon probably isn’t around at pick 35, but if he is, then sure, take a chance there.

Most indications are that Irving righthander Blake Beavan will be gone before the Rangers pick.

TCU righthander Sam Demel is projected to go somewhere between the supplemental first round and the fourth round. He was the Rangers’ 35th-round pick in 2004 out of Spring High School.

Atlanta catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is taking ground balls at first base, reports ESPN’s Jayson Stark. If you read my May 31 report, you know why that could be significant.

Turns out Seminole Junior College righthander John Maschino wasn’t the final draft-and-follow ever signed by the Rangers. The club also came to terms before Thursday night’s deadline with Auburn righthander Chris Dennis and Purdue righthander Dan Sattler. Texas also signed undrafted senior free agent Jordan Stewart, a righthander out of Avila University.

Dennis, the Rangers’ 40th-round pick last June, went 3-3, 3.66 in 23 relief appearances for the Tigers this season, fanning 42 and issuing 13 walks in 39.1 innings. The fifth-year senior missed the 2005 season due to Tommy John surgery.

Sattler, also a fifth-year senior, was sidelined early in the 2007 season with a strained oblique muscle and ended up going 1-3, 6.45 in seven starts and four relief appearances for the Boilermakers, amassing 21 strikeouts and 16 walks in 37.2 frames. He was chosen by Texas in the 44th round last year.

Stewart, who attended Paso Robles High School (alma mater of Jason Botts) before heading to Kansas City to pitch for Avila, closed games for the Eagles, compiling 29 saves and a 2.34 ERA in three seasons — though the sidewinder’s ERA this year was 7.27, despite fanning 43 hitters and walking nine in 26 innings this season.

Righthander Johnny Lujan, whom Texas sent to the White Sox for catcher Chris Stewart in January, is 1-3, 4.73 with four saves for High A Winston-Salem, but the numbers are slightly misleading. Pressed into spot start duty on May 24, Lujan (who made six starts in 83 pro appearances while with the
Rangers) got spanked for eight runs in 2.2 innings. In his 17 relief appearances, he has an ERA of 2.73, with 32 strikeouts and seven walks in 29.2 frames.

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the independent Northern League released outfielder Tydus Meadows.

Prizes pulled together so far for the Newberg Report Night raffle, eligibility for which will be participating in our charity effort that day (more details on that part soon):

* Ian Kinsler signed 8×10
* 2 Kam Loe signed 8×10′s
* Game-used lineup card signed by Kam Loe
* Josh Rupe signed ball
* Joaquin Arias signed ball

Grand prize: game-issue warm-up jacket signed by Ron Washington, Michael Young, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kam Loe, Ian Kinsler, Gerald Laird, Brad Wilkerson, Jason Botts, Jamey Wright, John Rheinecker, Desi Relaford, Joaquin Arias, Freddy Guzman, Drew Meyer and Kevin Richardson.

Stay tuned for more.

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

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