Haren deal adds intrigue for Halos, Rangers
Texas players keep focus on own club as race heats up
ARLINGTON -- Despite the Angels' newest acquisition, the Rangers insist they're still worrying about only themselves.After the Angels acquired ace pitcher Dan Haren from the D-backs in exchange for Joe Saunders and three other players, Rangers players said they're focusing strictly on themselves and not the clubs trying to catch them in the American League West. "It doesn't really matter what other teams do. It's the least of our concerns," third baseman Michael Young said. "One of the strengths of this club is focusing on ourselves. It doesn't really matter what other teams do.
"We have respect for the teams in our division and we know there's a lot of talent out there. But we feel like it's best for us to focus on ourselves and find ways to improve."Second baseman Ian Kinsler agreed. "It doesn't really bother me," Kinsler said. "We're going to have to win games regardless of who's pitching. It's not mind-blowing or anything like that." Rangers general manager Jon Daniels understands the move the Angels made as they try to erase a deficit that's stretched to seven games. "Not surprised. Not to say we knew about it by any stretch, but they're a very well-run organization and they're opportunistic," Daniels said. "I don't think we expected that they were not going to look to improve their club. They've got a very good pitcher." Added Angels catcher Jeff Mathis: "Nobody here is quitting, and nobody in the front office is quitting. They're trying to do everything they can to give us a little fire. We've got to do it on the field, too. We're not out of this. There's time to get it together. You can't think about making it all up in a hurry. If we just start playing consistently and putting it together -- pitch, hit and play defense -- we can make a run." Haren will be a familiar opponent for the Rangers, as he spent three seasons with the Athletics from 2005-07. But his career numbers against them are far from spectacular, going 3-5 while compiling a 4.29 in 10 career starts. "He's a good pitcher just like the rest of the guys, and that's no different than anyone else, really," Kinsler said. "We've faced him before when he was in Oakland. He's a quality guy and we're just going to have to battle him like all the other guys." Added Young: "The Oakland days were a lot time ago. We saw him once last year in Interleague, but we haven't faced him for a while now. The Angels are going to do whatever they can to improve their ballclub, just like we will." But no matter how Haren's numbers against the division-leading Rangers look, Daniels still believes the Angels are the team to beat in the West until another club claims the division. "Regardless of what the standings say, I've always felt they're the team to beat," Daniels said. "Until somebody beats them, they're the class of the division for a while now. I've always looked at them as a formidable opponent." It's certainly a move that has the Angels excited, as the addition of Haren may combat any added momentum the Rangers received when they traded for left-hander Cliff Lee. "We feel we got a pitcher who is in a select group of guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Put Dan Haren in with the guys we've got, that's a real formidable front of a rotation." Added Mathis: "I'm also excited by the guy we're getting. I'm excited to see what he can do and help us out. You can never have too much pitching, and he is really good." But whatever effect Haren has on the Angels' second half, Young maintains the Rangers will still focus solely themselves as they try and claim their first division title since 1999. "That's not our business," Young said. "It doesn't concern us one bit what other teams do. We just worry about ourselves."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.