SEATTLE -- The rumors are out there. Mark Teixeira knows about the speculation, the talk and what may or may not happen at some point this summer. With the Rangers falling out of contention, the possibility is growing that the club may decide to trade Teixeira at some point. It is difficult to ignore. "It's hard not to think about it when people are talking to you about it every day," Teixeira said on Thursday before the Rangers game with the Seattle Mariners. "But my goal is still the same as it was in Spring Training and that's help this team win."
Club officials said the Rangers have not been talking to teams about Teixeira. But events often dictate actions, and the New York Yankees learned on Friday that they will be without designated hitter Jason Giambi for at least three weeks with torn tissue in his left foot. Other teams that could use offensive help include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants. The problem is the Rangers will want pitching in return, and not many contending clubs are in a position to give that up right now. Teixeira is signed through this season, but is arbitration-eligible in 2008 and can become a free agent in 2009. Club officials have acknowledged that the Rangers will at least have to listen to offers but are not going to give him away. They would certainly not be averse to having Teixeira still be with the team in 2008 if they feel they're going to be in a position to contend. "Mark's an important part of this team and community," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Beyond that, there's really not much for me to say. We're being asked to respond to media speculation which I don't like to do. We're certainly not going to do that all summer. It's an unnecessary distraction to the club." Teixeira doesn't want that either and went into Thursday's game hitting .355 in May with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. "I'm not going to let this be a distraction to the team." Teixeira said. "It will probably get old pretty soon, but it's not going to affect me one way or another." As for what might happen this summer, Teixeira said, "I have no prediction. In this game a lot of things can happen. My goal is to help this team win. If I'm traded, I'll help whatever team I'm traded to." McCarthy aims for June 9: The Rangers had hoped that Brandon McCarthy would be ready to return to the rotation on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers. But it appears that it will likely be June 9 against the Milwaukee Brewers. That would allow maximum time for McCarthy to recover from a blister on his right middle finger and, with the Rangers off on Monday, allow the other starters to pitch on their normal four days' rest. The plan now is for McCarthy to have a bullpen throwing session on either Saturday or Sunday, and then pitch a simulated game on Tuesday. If all goes well, he would pitch the following Saturday against the Brewers. "I think that's likely the plan," McCarthy said. "We'll find out a lot this weekend when I get off a mound and know where we stand." Lofton at 40: Kenny Lofton turned 40 on Thursday, becoming the 10th player in Rangers history to play for them at that age or older. He also went into Thursday's game third in the American League with 16 stolen bases. "I'm just happy to be able to still play the game the way it's supposed to be played," Lofton said. "I'm still able to play hard and give 100 percent. I've never been a guy to dog it, and I'm still glad I'm able to give it all I got." Rehab watch: The latest on Rangers' medical rehab assignments: Jerry Hairston was in the lineup for Triple-A Oklahoma on Thursday and Jamey Wright was the RedHawks starting pitcher. Hairston, sidelined with a pinched nerve, will likely play four games with the RedHawks and then rejoin the Rangers on Tuesday. Wright will likely need at least two starts for Oklahoma before he's an option at the big-league level. Brad Wilkerson is still feeling some tightness in his injured hamstring muscle and is not ready to play. Said manager Ron Washington, "He's on his own program. We're going to let him tell us when he's ready." He said it: "If I'm still there, the Rangers would be nice. They've told me they're going to try and get me. But, whoever it is, it'll feel great. It's like a dream come true." -- Irving (Texas) High School pitcher Blake Beavan, a prospect in the upcoming First-Year Player Draft Briefly: John Rheinecker pitched six scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday and has pitched 11 straight scoreless innings since returning from a back injury. ... The Rangers signed three draft-and-follow players on Thursday: pitcher John Maschino, a 17th-round pick from Seminole Junior College, pitcher Christopher Dennis, a senior from Auburn who was their 40th-round pick last year and pitcher Daniel Sattler, a senior from Purdue who was a 44th-round pick. ...Triple-A catcher Miguel Ojeda was given his unconditional release so he can play in Mexico ... Ian Gac was assigned from extended Spring Training to Class A Clinton, and outfielder Craig Gentry was put on the disabled list with a sprained knee. Up next: Right-hander Kevin Millwood comes off the DL to start against the Seattle Mariners at 9:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Safeco Field. Left-hander Jarrod Washburn will pitch for the Mariners.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.