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Saturday Rangers stuff

Nice win last night, and with the A's losing, the Rangers are 4.5 games up on Oakland in the A.L. West, and 5 up on Anaheim...

It still seems quite strange to me that the Rangers have such a sizeable lead this early...particularly given the 2-7 start to the season...

T.R. Sullivan says that Antonio Alfonseca should be activated on Tuesday, which will necessitate another roster move. Scott Feldman is the only reliever with options remaining, but as Sullivan points out:

Feldman went into Friday with a 1.50 ERA and opponents had just one hit in their last 20 at-bats off him. The Rangers aren't eager for him to go back to Oklahoma.

Sullivan suggests that D'Angelo Jimenez could be dropped to make room for Alfonseca, but the Rangers don't really need an 8 man bullpen right now. I'm starting to wonder if Joaquin Benoit's roster spot might be in jeopardy...

Potentially complicating matters further is that Frankie Francisco made his first rehab appearance for Frisco yesterday, pitching a scoreless inning. Francisco can spend 30 days on a rehab assignment, and can be optioned to the minors after that, but if he's pitching well, the Rangers will probably want him in the major league pen. That would seem to put either John Wasdin or Rick Bauer's roster spot in jeopardy...

Over at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal offers his take on the Nevin trade:

The Rangers were practically giddy over their trade of Phil Nevin to the Cubs, believing they will benefit in several ways.

Nevin, 35, looks like he might be finished after posting the majors' sixth-lowest OPS in May, and he wasn't going to be happy sitting on the bench behind rookie designated hitter Jason Botts.

The Rangers can now alternate Mark DeRosa, a right-handed hitter, and Botts, a switch-hitter, at DH, and they also can give certain regulars an occasional rest in that spot -- no small thing, given the summer heat in Texas.

Meanwhile, the addition of second baseman Jerry Hairston -- and expected promotion of outfielder Freddy Guzman from Triple-A -- will give the Rangers something they've rarely had in recent seasons: Speed off the bench.

The Rangers can always trade for a hitter if they fail to get adequate production out of the DH spot. Pitching remains their priority; they've got two unproven left-handers, John Koronka and John Rheinecker, in their rotation.

Allard Baird has been fired, but both Peter Gammons and Rob Neyer say more blame for the state of the Royals lies with owner David Glass than with Baird. Both of their items are worth reading, and have some fascinating/horrific tidbits -- Glass supposedly authorized only $1,000 for signing bonuses after the fifth round in one amateur draft, according to Gammons, while Neyer explains how Glass gave his son control over much of the baseball operations of the team -- and it is a reminder that, as problematic as Tom Hicks is as an owner, it could be a lot worse.

Gammons also has some thoughts about the draft...

On the rehabbing-non-Rangers-pitchers front, Bartolo Colon had a good outing, and is supposed to be activated for the Angles series next weekend with the Mariners. And Zack Greinke was solid in his first rehab start since going on the disabled list and leaving camp to deal with psychological issues.