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June 08, 2005

ESPN Column

Soriano Tweaks Ham, Takes Seat
ALFONSO SORIANO slightly pulled his hamstring while running out a grounder on Sunday. While his injury is not considered nearly as serious as the pull that forced him out of the last three weeks of last season, he has rested the last two games except for a pinch-hit appearance. He is not expected to start until Friday, perhaps. Sit him tomorrow and listen for breaking news. Barring such news, you probably should keep him in the lineup unless you have a quality replacement. Soriano’s replacement is MARK DEROSA, who is not worthy of your team. I’ll update this column if I learn anything, or you can write me at tex05@scottlucas.com.

Drese DFA’ed, Rodriguez Coming
Three months after signing a two-year extension and two months after starting on Opening Day, RYAN DRESE finds himself jobless. Apparently unwilling to give him the chance to improve his fortune as a reliever, Texas startlingly removed Drese form the 40-man roster. Drese had allowed a ghastly 96 hits in 69.2 innings, partly a function of his grim strikeout rate of 2.6 per nine innings. He also had hurt the team with terrible glove work in his last two starts and partook in an in-game, dugout melee with catcher and management darling Rod Barajas over pitch selection. Should no team claim Drese, who is owed about $450,000 for the rest of this season and $1.7 million in 2006, Texas will assign him to AAA. Given his dreadful performance, AL-only owners may safely drop him.

Texas intends to recall RICARDO RODRIGUEZ to take his place in the rotation. In 11 starts in AAA, Rodriguez has a 2.95 ERA and eight homers allowed, 23 walks and 47 strikeouts in 79 innings. Fine stats, if not awe-inspiring. Rodriguez pitched well in four Major-League starts in 2005 before a liner connected with his elbow, but in 150 career innings he has an ERA of 5.05 and a bland K rate of 4.8 per nine innings. What to expect? Probably not much more than what Drese should have offered: plenty of innings and an ERA in the mid-fours. Rodriguez is 27, not some hot-shot prospect. Owners in need of pitching in AL-only leagues can give him a shot; mixed-league owners should watch and wait. The Rangers face some tougher competition in June and several quality offenses in July.

Other Pitchers
The departure of Drese appears to grant shaky starter PEDRO ASTACIO some security in the short term. Should Astacio collapse, Texas might move JOAQUIN BENOIT into the rotation. Similarly optionless, Benoit has pitched very well in long relief and might at least earn some higher-leverage innings. KENNY “Koufax? ROGERS faces Florida on the road, Washington at home, and the Angels in Anaheim. CHRIS YOUNG will face Atlanta and Washington at home followed by Houston on the road.

Interleague Play Continues
Texas completed the second of six consecutive games in National League parks on Wednesday night. RICHARD HIDALGO drew the short straw on Tuesday while DAVID DELLUCCI rested on Wednesday. KEVIN MENCH may play again tomorrow then sit out on Friday or Saturday. He is a Delaware native who grew up loving the Phillies, and Showalter might be kind enough to give him another start in front of all the fans for whom Mench bought tickets. Texas plays three games this weekend in Florida and three in Houston during June 24-26.

Roster Moves
Texas recalled outfielder GARY MATTHEWS only one day into his rehab assignment. Matthews had been recovering from a hamstring pull and was not expected back before the weekend. Matthews should resume his platoon with LAYNCE NIX and will offer a smidgen of value in larger AL-only leagues. Texas also waived CHAD ALLEN, who had batted an empty .283 as the DH against lefties, and probably will send down ANDRES TORRES when they recall Rodriguez. The Rangers might use freshly recalled infielder MARSHALL MCDOUGAL as the wrong-end DH when they need one. RON MAHAY hit the DL with an inflamed ERA.

Posted by Lucas at June 8, 2005 01:44 AM