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Saturday a.m. things

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Two games left. Still tied for third with the A's.

Nice outing for Edinson Volquez, who has an inside track for a rotation job in 2008, Evan Grant reports. So in September, the rotation for next year, barring injury, seems pretty much set...and when was the last time you could say that about a Rangers team?

Grant also reports that A.J. Murray, Armando Galarraga, or Vicente Padilla will start Sunday's game, with Brandon McCarthy being shut down. Akinori Otsuka has returned to San Diego to rehab his elbow, and if it doesn't get better that way, he may have T-J surgery, which would mean he'd be out until 2009, and would result in the Rangers non-tendering him this offseason.

The S-T reports on the possibility of Sammy Sosa returning next year:

Though the Rangers would consider re-signing Sosa, Daniels said the 38-year-old slugger will first find out which other teams are interested in him and in what capacity.

"Right now, it's probably best for Sammy to at least see what's out there, see what the market is," Daniels said.

Sosa, who enters his 2007 finale hitting .252 with 21 home runs and 92 RBI, became a part-time player platooning at DH against lefties in the final two months of the season.

The Rangers initially benched Sosa to get a look at Jason Botts, who is hitting .245 in 159 at-bats, but the team recently has used Hank Blalock as the designated hitter against right-handers because the third baseman has been unable to play his usual position.

Daniels said uncertainty regarding other positions this off-season will affect what the Rangers do with Sosa. Botts and Frank Catalanotto could get at-bats at DH next season or play outfield (and in Catalanotto's case, first), which would leave an opening for Sosa or another DH.

My guess at this point is that Sosa wants to be a full-time player, which the Rangers aren't going to commit to. So he'll go see what else is out there, and the Rangers will see what they can do with their outfield situation.

If they add a centerfielder and a first baseman (or add a centerfielder and decide to stick with Saltalamacchia at first base), they'll likely go with a Cat/Byrd platoon in LF, Murphy or Cruz in RF, and Botts at DH, leaving no room for Sosa.

If they don't add anyone, though, then you could see Cat playing a lot of first base and Botts getting time in left field, which would mean playing time would be available at DH, at which point the Rangers would probably be interested in bringing Sosa back as a platoon player.

The question would then be, would Sosa accept a part-time role? Or would he even have a choice, given that no other team wanted him at the trade deadline?

Jon Daniels says there's a "decent chance" Rudy Jaramillo will end up becoming a free agent and will listen to offers from other teams. I'm sticking by my prediction that Jaramillo ends up elsewhere.