Notes: Sosa rests pursuit of 600

Notes: Sosa rests pursuit of 600

CINCINNATI -- Sammy Sosa took a break from his pursuit of 600 home runs and was out of the lineup on Sunday for the Rangers' game with the Cincinnati Reds.

The focus on Sosa has been 600 home runs, but there might be another honor awaiting him soon: a seventh appearance in an All-Star Game.

Entering Sunday, Sosa was hitting just .247, but he had 11 home runs and was tied for sixth in the American League with 51 RBIs. He leads the Rangers, and is 14th in the AL, with a .354 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Sosa last played in the All-Star Game in 2004, in Houston.

"It's not for me to decide," Sosa said. "Like I've said, if it happens, I would welcome it, but I'm not thinking about it. The numbers don't lie. It would be nice for me to go."

Sosa did see action on Sunday, pinch-hitting in the seventh, and grounded out to shortstop.

All teams must have one All-Star representative. Mark Teixeira was the leading candidate for the Rangers, but he is on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle. Michael Young's chances looked bleak early, but he has been on a tear lately and is pushing his way back into All-Star consideration.

Manager Ron Washington mentioned Young, and relievers Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka.

"They've been the most consistent," Washington said.

Playing in the All-Star Game, being held on July 10 in San Francisco, might give Sosa a chance to compete in the Home Run Derby. He has been a big favorite in the annual contest, and won it in 2000, in Atlanta.

"That was great, but the home run contest wears you out," Sosa said. "Swinging like that, it can mess you up."

Witnessing history: Outfielder Marlon Byrd was among those perched at the top of the dugout when Sosa came to the plate with a chance to hit his 600th home run on Saturday. Sosa's pursuit hasn't generated significant national attention, but the Rangers are eager to see it happen.

"We talked about him getting to 700, but 600, it is exciting," Byrd said. "I saw Jim Thome hit his 400th home run; it will be great to have a front-row seat with Sammy."

The last big milestone achieved by a Ranger came in 2003, when Rafael Palmeiro hit his 500th home run.

"We're all aware of it," Young said. "We'd love for Sammy to get it over [with] as soon as possible. It will be great to be a part of it, considering he'll be just the fifth person in the history of the game to do it. That's an incredible accomplishment. It will be fun to be a part of it."

Metcalf stays in: Travis Metcalf went 2-for-4 on Saturday night, including two doubles off Reds right-hander Aaron Harang, and found himself in the lineup on Sunday and playing third base with right-hander Bronson Arroyo on the mound.

"It was big, but it wasn't big enough to get us a win," Metcalf said. "It was good, though, in my first start against a right-hander [to] get a couple of hits. Obviously, the more times you get in the lineup, the more relaxing it is. But I've still got a long ways to go."

Washington wasn't planning to start Metcalf on Sunday, but then decided to give Brad Wilkerson a day off to rest his right hamstring. Wilkerson, replaced at first by Ramon Vazquez, had started seven straight games at first base since coming off the disabled list and replacing Teixeira.

Extra work at first: Not only has Wilkerson been playing every day, he is getting in extra work on his defense at first before games. He had a rough game in Pittsburgh early in the road trip and Washington, whose specialty as a coach was infield defense, has been his personal instructor.

"I think every day he's getting better," Washington said. "I just wanted to make him aware of the little things that go on out there. Since he's going to be our first baseman until Tex gets back, I don't want him caught naked. Mainly, it's just been about footwork. I just want him to be as good as he can be. I'm enjoying it. I hope he's enjoying it as much as I am."

Wilkerson has played in 168 games as a first baseman over his seven-year Major League career.

He said it: "I was 140 pounds, and if there was a collision, they didn't think I'd win." -- Washington, on why he was moved from catcher to the infield early in his career

Saturday's Minors stars: The Double-A Frisco Roughriders clinched the first-half division title in the Texas League Southern Division with a 6-1 victory over Corpus Christi.
Gold: Frisco pitcher Armando Galarraga won his fourth straight start by holding Corpus Christi to one run in six innings. He struck out five and walked one and is now 5-3 with a 4.55 ERA.
Silver: Outfielder Steve Murphy went 3-for-5 with a home run for Frisco and is now hitting .318 with four home runs and 34 RBIs.
Bronze: Class A Bakersfield catcher Taylor Teagarden went 2-for-4 with a home run in a 5-1 loss to Lake Elsinore.

Briefly: The Rangers and the Florida Marlins both played their 37th road game on Sunday, the most in the Majors. ... Sunday's contest was the Rangers' first day game in two weeks. ... Young's first-inning single on Sunday gave him a 10-game hitting streak. ... The reason right-hander Josh Rupe was put on the 60-day disabled list is because he needed surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow and won't be back until late in the summer.

Up next: The Rangers are off on Monday before beginning a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at 7:35 p.m. CT Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It will be the Cubs' first visit to Arlington. Right-hander Robinson Tejeda pitches against left-hander Sean Marshall.

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