Righty first baseman still a want for Texas

Righty first baseman still a want for Texas

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."