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A 4 game sweep of the Mariners, with all 4 games by one run. Sweet. If we can't be in the playoff race, we can at least jack with someone else's chances.

Brandon McCarthy didn't look particularly sharp yesterday -- he seemed to have issues with his fastball command -- but he made it through 5 innings allowing just 3 runs. The Rangers are now just 10 games under .500 for the season, and just 2.5 games back of the Oakland A's.

And the remarkable thing about getting to J.J. Putz is, he's allowed all of 5 runs this season, with 4 of them being from Ranger home runs. The Ramon Vazquez homer was the first run he's allowed outside of Safeco this year.

And you have to appreciate the irony of former Mariner prospect Ramon Vazquez hitting the game winner.

Mike Heika says any questions about Eric Gagne's durability and ability to bounce back quickly should have been put to rest after he pitched in Monday's game and in both games of Tuesday's doubleheader. Heika also says that Vicente Padilla is slowly working his way back, with another rehab outing scheduled for Friday, where he'll throw 45 pitches, while Ian Kinsler is going to have a 3 game rehab assignment this weekend, after which he will presumably be activated.

To trade stuff, with Mark Teixeira being the hot topic of conversation...

And before we start with the linking, I'd like to make an observation...I have to think that the reports that there's no way the Dodgers will part with James Loney, or the Braves with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, can't be right, if those teams are actually interested Teixeira. If the Dodgers trade for Teixeira, they have nowhere for Loney to play until 2009. Same with the Braves and Saltalamacchia.

What would be the point of the Dodgers trying to land Teixeira -- which it is widely reported they are trying to do -- if they don't use Loney as a trade chip? What are they going to do, let Loney sit in AAA the next 2 years? Or have him on the bench as a pinch hitter? Give me a break...

Dave Sessions reports that the Dodgers, Angels, Braves, and BoSox are all pushing hard for Teixeira right now.

The Newark Star Ledger says:

Long regarded as one of the top offensive prospects in the game, "Salty" could end up having been the key to the biggest deal of this year's trade deadline. Late last night, the Braves and the Texas Rangers were said to be close to a deal that would send first baseman Mark Teixeira and a relief pitcher (such as C.J. Wilson, Ron Mahay or Joaquin Benoit) to Atlanta for Saltalamacchia, shortstop prospect Elvis Andrus and a minor-league pitcher.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that the Braves clubhouse was "abuzz" over talk of acquiring Teixeira, with Braves players excited about the idea of adding him. That, of course, can only help Daniels' negotiating stance...

Also from the J-C piece is talk of the Rangers including a reliever in the deal, with the Braves preferring C.J. Wilson or Eric Gagne, while the Rangers are more willing to deal Ron Mahay.

Of course, despite all this talk of a deal being close, the New York Daily News says that Teixeira isn't likely to go anywhere because of Daniels' unreasonable demands. This is as part of an article that discusses how Brian Cashman absolutely refuses to part with Philip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy...

And on other Rangers trade possibilities, the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Indians feel the Rangers are asking too much for Kenny Lofton, hindering trade talks there.