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Rangers seeking righty hitter to play first

Rangers seeking righty hitter to play first

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers continue their search for a right-handed-hitting first baseman. Many rumors are floated, but Jorge Cantu with the Marlins and Ty Wigginton with the Orioles appear to be their main targets.

Bigger names have surfaced, including Derrek Lee of the Cubs and Adam Dunn of the Nationals, but that is likely to be over-reaching. Both players cost more money than the Rangers could afford and both come with question marks in other areas.


The Rangers' main goal is to find a right-handing-hitting first baseman that could complement and possibly platoon with Chris Davis. Wigginton and Cantu can do both and more.

Cantu can also play third base. That gives the Rangers some insurance in case something happens to Michael Young. Wigginton, who was on the American League All-Star team, can play third as well and can also play second base. That helps cover the Rangers in case something were to happen to Ian Kinsler. In both cases, the two players do offer some versatility beyond the Rangers' main need of looking for someone who can hit left-handed pitching.

Wigginton was hitting .249 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs in 246 at-bats for the Orioles entering Tuesday. He was hitting .253 with a .343 on-base percentage and a .368 slugging percentage against left-handers.

Cantu was hitting .260 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs in 366 at-bats for the Marlins entering Tuesday. Against left-handers, he was hitting .250 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 84 at-bats.

But Davis, a left-handed hitter, was back in the lineup against left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Athletics on Tuesday night. He also wasn't expressing any worries or concerns about the Rangers' trade discussions.

"Whatever," Davis said. "That is my exact quote. Whatever. I'm not concerned with what's going on outside the field. I feel with the effort I'm bringing and the intensity I'm bringing ... if they feel like I'm the guy, then I'll give them 110 percent.

"If not, I'll do whatever they want me to do. As long as the team is winning, I can't complain."

Davis, since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 9, was hitting .213 with no home runs and two RBIs in 14 games and 47 at-bats entering Tuesday. He was 3-for-12 against left-handers.

Davis actually hit left-handers well during his two-plus months at Triple-A. Davis, the Rangers' Opening Day first baseman who was sent to Triple-A on April 22, was batting .411 with a .460 on-base percentage and a .607 slugging percentage against left-handers before being brought back to the Major Leagues.

"I've always hit left-handers coming up through the Minor Leagues," Davis said. "I feel more comfortable with my approach against them lately though."

Right now, the Rangers' only right-handed option at first base is Joaquin Arias. But he hasn't started there since Justin Smoak was traded to the Mariners on July 9. Manager Ron Washington is comfortable going with Davis against left-handers and does see some improvement against them since he returned to the big league club.

"He's not chasing pitches as much," Washington said. "He's taking left-handers deep in the count more than I saw before. Chris is coming along, but it's a slow process. But he's coming along."

The Rangers would still like to get him some help. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. CT on Saturday and the two identified as the likely candidates are Wigginton and Cantu.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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