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Notes: Pitching focus of Draft

Notes: Pitching focus of Draft

ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg will be in Orlando on Thursday to announce the club's first pick in the First-Year Player Draft.

The question is if he'll get to announce the name Blake Beavan.

Beavan is a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher from Irving (Texas) High School who the Rangers have scouted and talked to about being their first pick and the 17th overall selection in the Draft. The Rangers have five of the first 54 picks in the Draft and would love to start it off by taking Beavan.

"If I'm still there, the Rangers would be nice," Beavan said last week. "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."

Beavan is one of a number of high school pitchers that the Rangers are looking for in a Draft that leans strongly toward high school players.

"I would say the overall quality of the Draft is maybe a little above average," Rangers scouting director Ron Hopkins said. "It's a solid high school class and a below average college Draft. There are a lot of good high school arms."

The Rangers biggest needs appear to be pitching, and Hopkins said the Draft is deep with left-handers.

"There are a lot of pitchers we are interested in," he said. "I don't want to say we're targeting pitchers. We're going to take the best guy. We've seen a lot of them in high school and college, interesting kids we'd like to have in our system."

The Rangers lost their first pick to Toronto for signing Frank Catalanotto, but gained the 17th overall pick from the Astros for losing Carlos Lee and the 24th overall pick from the Angels for losing Gary Matthews Jr. They also receive three sandwich picks (35th, 44th and 54th) in the compensation round for Lee, Matthews and Mark DeRosa.

"Our focus, honestly, is to get the best players we can get, not just with five of the first 54, but the second round, third round all the way through," Hopkins said.

A big issue is signability. That's where agent Scott Boras comes into play. Boras represents some of the top talent in the draft but clubs have often had a hard time signing them. Major League Baseball has what is called slot money, a recommendation for what clubs should pay for every slot. Teams try to abide by it, but Boras does not want to settle for slot money.

Boras' clients that the Rangers might select include: Rick Porcello (RHP), Matt Wieters (C), Mike Moustakas (3B), Matt Harvey (RHP), Julio Borbon (CF) and Andrew Brackman (RHP).

"For us, it would come down to if the value is there," Hopkins said. "We plan to draft, for the most part, players who are signable for slot money. If we go in a different direction, that decision will be made from above."

"The reality is we want to get the best guy we can with each pick with the biggest ceiling and a low floor, a guy who is not a high risk. The time to take a risk is later in the draft when you're not paying through the nose."

Teixeira not worried: First baseman Mark Teixeira said he would not be surprised if the Rangers traded him, but he is not worried about all the talk with trade rumors to Baltimore, his hometown, and the New York Yankees.

"I wouldn't say [the rumors] are going out on a limb," he said before Wednesday's game against Detroit. "I hear all of these [trade rumor] stories, and I just laugh at it. ... My biggest thing is that I want to win."

Teixeira said the team has not approached him about a long-term deal.

Kinsler running smooth: Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler got his ninth and 10th stolen bases of the season in Tuesday's victory over Detroit. Kinsler has 10 home runs to go with his 10 stolen bases, and he is just the second Ranger player to have 10 stolen bases and 10 home runs in his first two major league seasons.

Kinsler said a 20-20, or even a 30-30 season, is not on his mind.

"I try to make my stolen bases worth something," he said. "At the end of the year, I just want to look back on my season and know I played hard."

Greer debut: Ranger great Rusty Greer begins his first stint as a head coach with the Colleyville LoneStars of the Texas Collegiate League. The LoneStars begin their season tonight against first-year Brazos Valley Bombers.

Greer became a fan favorite for his great plays during his nine-year career with the Rangers from 1994-2002.

Local players honored: Two Dallas metroplex players were selected to participate in the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic on August 7 in San Diego.

Left-hander Walker Kelly from Arlington Heights High School and left-hander/catcher Jordan Swagerty of Prestonwood Christian Academy were invited to the fifth annual game held at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the San Diego State campus.

Both players were honored on the field before the Rangers faced Detroit on Tuesday.

He said it: "Those guys have a lot of work to do. They need to make sure they make the right choices. I want to [be in the draft room], if they let me up there. It's amazing what they have to decipher. ... it's a tough job." -- Manager Ron Washington, on the Rangers' draft staff

Tuesday's Minor League stars:
• Gold: Class A Bakersfield starter Michael Schlact threw seven scoreless innings as the Blaze beat Stockton, 9-0.

• Silver: Kevin Mathis went seven innings, giving up one run, leading Double-A Frisco to a 6-2 victory over San Antonio.

• Bronze: Triple-A Oklahoma outfielder Jason Botts went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI as the RedHawks defeated Colorado Springs, 5-4.

Minor moves: Jose Marte was sent from Arizona Rookie League to Class A Clinton. ... Ian Gac was sent from Class A Clinton to Rookie League Arizona. ... Jared Locke was released from Class A Clinton... Juan Jimenez was released from Rookie League Arizona.

Up next: The Rangers conclude their three-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas right-hander Kameron Loe takes the mound against left-hander Mike Maroth of Detroit.

Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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