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Notes: Howe saddened by tragedy

Notes: Howe saddened by tragedy

CHICAGO -- The shooting tragedy that took place at Virginia Tech on Monday hit home with Rangers first base coach Art Howe.

It was the kind of event that Howe and his wife Betty wanted to help avoid when they founded the Student Action For Encouraging Respect program after the Columbine (Colo.) massacre on April 20, 1999. Howe was the Athletics manager at the time when he and his wife formed SAFER for the benefit of children in Oakland-area schools.

"Basically we wanted to help young people to pay attention to respect for each other and their peers," Howe said. "It just seemed to us that there is so much lack of respect for people in the world today, so we decided to raise money for kids in school, give out scholarships for some needy kids and start programs to raise awareness for respect.

"We were able to raise a nice amount of money for a good cause and got people more involved. Even if we just helped one kid, it was worth it."

The Howes also took time to visit Oakland-area schools and talk to students in person.

"We spoke about respect for each other and their teachers," Howe said. "We talked about how just because a kid is different, that doesn't mean you shouldn't show respect. That seems to be what happened at Columbine, those kids who did that didn't seem to fit and were looked at as outcasts.

"But just because a kid acts differently or dresses differently doesn't mean he can't be a part of the group. Just because he's different doesn't mean he's bad. Try to get them involved by giving them an opportunity. Everybody wants to be a part of something and kids started putting programs in school designed to accept some kids that didn't seem to be fitting in."

An Oakland magazine honored the Howes as one of the recipients of the 2000 Threads of Hope Award, but the program came to an end after he left the Athletics for the Mets. Monday's tragedy is a reminder of the need for more programs like the one that Howe started in Oakland.

"It's just a shame that that happened and someone would go to that extreme," Howe said. "So many innocent people and their lives taken away. Each of those kids got up to go to school not realizing that would be their last day on earth. What a shame."

Sosa starts: Sammy Sosa went into Tuesday's game with three hits in his last 12 at-bats, including a home run and four RBIs. That was enough to convince manager Ron Washington that Sosa should be in the lineup on Tuesday against White Sox pitcher Jon Garland.

"He started swinging the bat the last three games, making adjustments and hitting the ball well," Washington said. "I didn't want to take that bat out of the lineup."

Washington said it had nothing to do with Sosa playing his first game in Chicago since leaving the Cubs after the 2000 season.

"I really forgot Sammy was coming back to Chicago," Washington said. "I made the decision that we're not swinging the bats well and he's at least producing."

Sosa came into the game hitting .175 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

"I'm going to get hot," Sosa said. "You can put that in your book."

Sosa has started 11 of the Rangers' 13 games. He was at designated hitter for the sixth time and has started in right field five times. There was a time when he had no interest in being a DH, but he has adapted.

"I'm not 17 any more," Sosa said laughing. "I played in Chicago for 15 years every day. Now I have the opportunity to DH and play the outfield three or four times a week. I'll be stronger and able to get some rest. It's a good match for me."

Loe out of bullpen: After throwing 62 pitches in relief on Sunday, Kameron Loe is no longer in the Rangers bullpen. He'll throw on the side on Wednesday and then join the rotation on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics.

Loe has been in the bullpen since the start of the season, but the Rangers are hoping that he'll be good for 75-80 pitches on Saturday.

"If he's pounding the strike zone, he'll get through five with that and then we can piece together the rest of it," Washington said.

Loe did get up to six innings in his last start in Spring Training and said, "My last two outings, I went three innings each. I don't think I've lost much, if any, arm strength."

He said it: "We have to be more solid defensively. We're too good not to play solid defense. We're a lot better than we've shown." -- Teixeira, on the Rangers' recent defensive troubles

Monday's Minor stars: Top performances from the four Minor League teams on Monday:

Gold: Ezequiel Astacio and Wes Littleton combined for five scoreless innings of relief in Triple-A Oklahoma's 7-6 loss to Memphis after starter John Koronka allowed seven runs in four innings. The Oklahoma bullpen has a 0.88 ERA so far this season with 33 strikeouts in 302/3 innings.

Silver: Class A Clinton outfielder K.C. Herren went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in a 7-6 victory over Beloit.

Bronze: Double-A Frisco pitcher Paul Kometani allowed one run in five innings, giving up six hits and a walk while striking out five, while earning his first victory of the season in the Roughriders 7-4 victory over Springfield.

Briefly: Washington moved Ian Kinsler to the No. 7 spot in the order because he wanted a right-handed hitter between Hank Blalock and Brad Wilkerson. Both are left-handed hitters and the White Sox have three left-handed relievers in the bullpen. ... Onan Masaoka, a left-handed reliever who pitched in 83 games for the Dodgers in 1999-2000, has been signed to a Minor League contract and assigned to extended Spring Training. ... Infielder Desi Relaford was assigned from extended Spring Training to Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Frisco first baseman Nate Gold has been placed on the disabled list with a fractured finger.

Up next: Right-hander Kevin Millwood makes his fourth start of the season when he pitches against the White Sox at 7:11 p.m. CT on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field. Mark Buehrle pitches for the White Sox, marking the third time in five games that the Rangers have faced a left-handed 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.

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