DETROIT -- The Rangers are still looking for a right-handed hitting first baseman as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.The club hasn't ruled out the possibility of looking for a full-time first baseman, and Jorge Cantu of the Marlins would fit that profile. But Texas continues to operate under strict financial parameters and can't take on salary. The Rangers were able to swing deals for Bengie Molina from the Giants and Cliff Lee from the Mariners by getting the other team to pick up salary. But Texas was forced to add extra prospects in the deals and ended up losing 2007 first-round picks Michael Main and Blake Beavan. So now the Rangers appear focused on continuing the search for a right-handed bat off the bench and stay patient with Chris Davis as their everyday first baseman. "We want to give Chris every opportunity to excel up here," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "He was performing exceptionally well at Triple-A and we're hoping some of that success translates up here. We realize the [first-base] position hasn't been as productive as we would like but we're hoping that Chris will seize the opportunity." The Rangers have had some interest in the Orioles' Ty Wigginton, the Red Sox's Mike Lowell and Wes Helms of the Marlins. All would be part-time role players and possible platoon partners with Davis. The Rangers don't seem particularly high on the Cubs' Xavier Nady. But any deal likely won't come down until closer to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. "For quite some time, we have been looking for a right-handed complement," Levine said. "That hasn't changed as a piece we'd like to add." Davis was the Rangers' Opening Day first baseman but was hitting .188 when sent to the Minors on April 23. He was recalled on July 9 after Justin Smoak was traded to the Mariners but went into Tuesday's game with four hits in 29 at-bats since his return from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Davis was hitting .354 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs in 67 games at Oklahoma City before being brought back to the big leagues. "Obviously, I was doing some things in Triple A that got me back here and another chance," Davis said. "I'm still learning about myself as a hitter. I know I can hit up here and I'm constantly working on having good at-bats. I think I've done a lot better job of seeing pitches, swinging at strikes and laying off pitches out of the zone. "The biggest thing is being more direct with the ball and flattening out my bat path. I've done that before and [have] been successful at it. I just need to challenge myself to work on it and get better at it every day."
Cautious Rangers send Nippert to DL
DETROIT -- Dustin Nippert was back working out with the Rangers on Tuesday, one day after getting hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson. Nippert was hit in the side of the head during the sixth inning of Monday's 8-6 win over the Tigers."I really didn't have time [to think] about it," Nippert said. "I remember throwing the pitch, the flash of the ball, it hitting me on the head and going to the ground. After that, everything was slow. "I thought, 'I hit the ground but I think I'm all right.'" Nippert had a contusion on the right side of his head and was experiencing occasional dizzy spells. But the Rangers want to be cautious with him, and they needed bullpen help after Monday's 14-inning game, so Nippert went on the disabled list and Doug Mathis was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. "We just decided to be on the on the cautious side and make sure nothing happens," manager Ron Washington said. "He was going to have four days down anyway before he could do any activity, and the way the game went last night, we needed to get another arm in here." Mathis is 1-1 with a 6.98 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Rangers this season and was 4-4 with a 4.68 ERA in 11 games at Oklahoma City. The Rangers had other options, including Omar Beltre and Pedro Strop, but they needed a long reliever to replace Nippert. Mathis is better suited for that role. "We needed length, that's all," Washington said. "We know Mathis can do that for us."
Vlad out of lineup with Hamilton at DH
DETROIT -- Vladimir Guerrero was out of the Rangers' starting lineup on Tuesday and Josh Hamilton was at designated hitter against the Tigers. Manager Ron Washington made the decision simply to give both some rest and find a way to get David Murphy in the lineup."I just wanted to get Murphy in a game," Washington said. "I'd rather DH Hamilton and let Murphy run around out there in the [outfield]." Hamilton had to leave Thursday's game in Boston with tightness in the calf muscle behind his right knee and was used at designated hitter on Saturday as well. "It's OK," Hamilton said. "This is the time of year that everybody has body aches and muscles tight."
Piniella's place in game appreciated
DETROIT -- Everybody in baseball knows Cubs manager Lou Piniella, but he was quite familiar to teams in the American League West as manager of the Mariners for 10 years from 1993-2002.Piniella announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season, and members of the Rangers were sorry to hear that was the case. "We're certainly going to miss a pioneer," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's a guy who played the game, won championships and influenced many players over the course of his career. He's very knowledgable about the game. I certainly hope baseball doesn't lose him completely. I hope he stays in the game in some capacity. He has a lot to offer." Jackie Moore is the Rangers' dugout coach and worked with Piniella in that role while with the Reds in 1990-92. The Reds won the World Series in 1990 with Piniella as manager. "I talked to Lou after Spring Training and he mentioned that he was thinking about retiring," Moore said. "That's too bad, because Lou is good for baseball. I know there was a lot of frustration, and understandably so. They expected a lot better season. But here again, he needs to stay in baseball. He may need to take a year off to get a breath of fresh air, but I think he'll be back. Lou is like the rest of us. He gets frustrated and has his moments but he lives it and breathes it. It's in his blood."
Texas farmhand Santana suspended
DETROIT -- Rangers Class A outfielder Cristian Santana has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for Formestane, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Santana, who is currently on the roster of Hickory of the South Atlantic League, is effective immediately.
Santana was using Formestane under the direction of a doctor and appealed the suspension. The appeal was denied."We educate our players multiple times a year on the scope and seriousness of taking performance-enhancing drugs," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We're disappointed he tested positive and [we] plan on complying with Major League Baseball's drug policy to the fullest extent. We will provide him with all the resources he needs to get back up and playing."
The Rangers had 19 hits on Monday, but only two were for extra bases. The only other time that's happened was in 1975 in a game against the White Sox,when they had 19 hits and just one for extra bases. ... Matt Harrison threw 80 pitches in relief on Monday night. That was the most by a Texas reliever this season. He threw 127 pitches in a start on May 1 at Seattle. That's the most in one game by a Rangers starter.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.