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Sunday a.m. things

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1 back on Oakland, on the last day before the All-Star Break.

Evan Grant has his mid-season player review, comparing each of the Rangers players to birds.

Grant also says that Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson are both struggling, and both having a hard time adjusting to their current lessened playing time. As I believe I've said before, I don't see that it makes any sense to have Jerry Hairston, Jr., playing instead of either one of those guys on a regular basis.

Grant also has this on the ongoing drama that is the catching situation:

An interesting question looms for the final day of the season's first half. Will Gerald Laird finally catch the majority of a series?

The Rangers face a lefty for the second consecutive day today. Laird, who started Saturday, has started against every lefty the Rangers have faced since early June. In addition, if Rod Barajas does not start today, he will go at least six days between appearances. The other complication to the playing-time situation is that today's game is an afternoon game; manager Buck Showalter has mostly started a different catcher in the second game of a night game-day game tandem.

"I'm not concerned about the situation in the least," said Showalter, who did not commit to a starter for today. "Rod has caught some day games after night games."

The fact that he's wouldn't say who would be catching today is kind of funny, because I'm sure he knows...it is just part of the weird Buck mystique, where he wants to keep folks in the dark. Laird should, of course, start today, and should start the majority of the time the rest of the way.

Finally, Grant also says that the Rangers aren't interested in Sidney Ponson. That makes me happy...

Over at the S-T, Gil LeBreton has a piece on Francisco Liriano and Johan Santana, and how it was a combination of good scouting and good fortune by the Twins that landed those two in Minnesota.

And Kat O'Brien has a good piece on Eric Hurley and Joaquin Arias, the Rangers' two representatives for the Futures Game.