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A few idle thoughts
and notes:


1.      Upon replacing Joaquin Arias on the roster
with Alex Cora, Texas assistant general manager Thad Levine said: “The general
thought going down the stretch is there is some value of having another guy who
is playoff-tested and has a little more experience.”


presence frees Ballplayer Andres Blanco up to play third base if needed.  Jorge Cantu has no playoff experience (and no
RBI, perhaps emasculating the handedness factor).  Brad Hawpe has 51 post-season playoff appearances.  Clint Hurdle saw all of them.  Hawpe cleared waivers yesterday and is now a
free agent. 




2.      Don’t forget the game-watching party and
Q&A with Chuck Greenberg at Sherlock’s in Arlington on Monday.  We’ll get going at 6:00.


3.      Colin Cowherd:  Whatever. 


4.      The Rangers, according to the Los Angeles Times, scouted Manny Ramirez
on his Cal League rehab assignment last week and at Dodger Stadium over the weekend.  Why haven’t the Dodgers run Ramirez out on
waivers yet?  If he were to clear
National League waivers, the White Sox are almost certainly the first team based
on claim priority who would be interested. 
Texas is next.  Has Los Angeles
possibly been stalling in hopes that Chicago caught the Rangers in the
standings, giving Texas claim priority over the White Sox?  That theory would make sense only if the
Dodgers had reason to believe the Rangers would not only claim Ramirez, but
would do so out of interest in the player (rather than just to block him from
reaching the Rays, for instance) (and again, Texas has reportedly been scouting
Ramirez), and only if the Dodgers knew what Texas was willing to offer in trade
and they prefer it to whatever Chicago would offer. 


With Texas
winning three straight, the Sox are now three games behind the Rangers, so if
the above had anything to do with the Dodgers’ timing strategy, it’s probably
moot now.


5.      The fact that Boston made the prevailing
waiver claim on Johnny Damon means Texas passed.  (Not sure how devastated the Sox are that
Damon decided to stay in Detroit.  I’m
guessing the opportunity to block him from reaching Tampa Bay was a significant
reason they made the claim, and they succeeded on that front.)


6.      According to at least one local report,
Houston and AA Corpus Christi have reupped on a four-year player development contract.  No such deal yet between the Astros and the
Ryan family’s other minor league club, AAA Round Rock, and the story quoted
Houston GM Ed Wade as saying that he’s not optimistic the relationship will
extend, and that Round Rock could end up affiliated with Texas (in place of
Oklahoma City).  Not a new story, but the
first time I can recall an Astros official going on record.


7.      One of Chuck Greenberg’s minor league clubs,
the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League, will extend with the Pirates,
according to Baseball America (not
that there was any hint that Texas was   thinking
about leaving Spokane).  No word yet on Greenberg’s
other club, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, which are the Braves’ High A (Carolina
League) affiliate.  The Rangers’ PDC with
High A Bakersfield expires this season, as does Atlanta’s with Myrtle Beach.


by the way, assigned top picks Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie to State
College.  The Pirates signed the
righthanders for $6.5 million and $2.25 million this month, respectively.


8.      The two largest bonuses given to college
pitchers in this year’s draft: Cleveland lefthander Drew Pomeranz ($2.65
million) and Boston righthander Anthony Ranaudo ($2.55 million).  Texas drafted both pitchers out of high
school in 2007.


9.      BA reports that Texas, despite everything,
spent the seventh-largest amount of draft bonus money ($8.4878 million) in the
league this summer, and has been top 10 over the last three years even without
reaching an agreement last summer with first-rounder Matt Purke.


10.  Tommy Hunter beat Kevin Millwood on
Sunday.  Would you take Millwood’s career
(157 wins to date, an average of 13-11, 4.12 and 208 innings over a full
season) for Hunter?


11.  Mitch Moreland played a very good game last
night.  That’s a solid ballplayer, who at
worst is going to be this team’s next version of David Murphy, with a slightly
different versatility.  But for now, can’t
Texas feel good about going to camp with him as the frontrunner at first base?


12.  Boston released lefthander Kason Gabbard and
infielder Tug Hulett.


13.  The Rangers are on pace for how many
wins?  Say it with me, in your best Nolan
Ryan tones: “92.”


14.  I haven’t yet discussed the K-Rod Rules on
playoff eligibility as they pertain to Tanner Scheppers because I’d be
surprised at this point to see him in Texas at all this season.  Back on August 14, Texas ran the righthander
out to the mound on consecutive days for the first time.  In that outing and the three since: five
innings, seven runs (six earned), eight hits, nine walks, one hit batsman, two
strikeouts, 56 percent strikes.  He’s a
fantastic prospect.  But he’s struggling with
his command right now.


Mark Lowe is
a better bet to factor in.


15.  Taylor Teagarden will surely be back in
September, though.  He impressed Ron
Washington with his defense in this last run with the big club, and he started
hitting a bit.  For his career, Teagarden’s
March/April/May/June OPS is .469.  In
July, it’s .670.  In August, it’s
820.  In September/October, it’s .947.


16.  Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Cristian Guzman,
and Dustin Nippert could all go out on rehab assignments this week.


17.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia was hospitalized (and
DL’d by Boston) with a mystery leg infection. 
Doctors ruled MRSA out.  That guy
is cursed.


18.  Cincinnati is thinking about moving Edinson
Volquez to the bullpen.


19.  The Dodgers signed righthander Geoff Geary to
a AAA deal.  The Grand Prairie Airhogs of
the independent American Association traded catcher Ben Petralli to the Normal
Cornbelters of the independent Frontier League for a player to be named.


20.  C.J. Wilson (12-5, 3.02) against Brian
Duensing (7-1, 1.92) tonight, maybe the league’s two biggest surprise
lefthanders this season.  Each has won
five straight decisions.  Duensing’s ERA
over his last three starts is 1.48, while Wilson’s is 1.25. 


Even if the
term “dog days” gets thrown around, late August games that matter are such





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(c) Jamey Newberg



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