Daniels willing to deal for 'pen help

Daniels willing to deal for 'pen help

NEW YORK -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels talked late Wednesday night with manager Ron Washington about their bullpen. Right now all they can do is talk.

Daniels is looking for ways to improve their bullpen, including having active discussions with other teams, but hasn't had much success. The Rangers have made it clear with other teams that they need bullpen help.

"It's something that we're open to, but it's easier said than done," Daniels said. "There are not a lot of clubs eager to move quality arms right now. We've got to be able to address it right now."

That could mean waiting until somebody comes off the disabled list, and that's not going to be right away. Darren O'Day (hip surgery) threw live batting practice again on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, but still hasn't pitched in games. Scott Feldman could be an option after a couple more outings on a rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues.

Tommy Hunter (strained groin) pitches Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock, but only pitched 3 2/3 innings in his last start. He may need at least a couple more starts before he is an option. Brandon Webb (shoulder surgery) likely needs at least two more starts before he'll be ready to return to the Major Leagues.

O'Day and Feldman could be added to the bullpen. Hunter or Webb could be added to the rotation, allowing Derek Holland to move back to the bullpen.

The Rangers still have Cody Eppley, Pedro Strop, Manny Delcarmen and Zachary Phillips at Round Rock, but don't appear eager to make a move. Delcarmen has extensive Major League experience, but he has allowed three runs in three innings since the Rangers signed him as a Minor League free agent earlier this month. Eppley is pitching the best, though he is still working on his slider.

"We're trying to avoid a constant shuffle," Daniels said. "The bullpen has been exposed the past few days because we have had some early knockouts from our starters and we had guys pitching in situations and roles they are not normally expected to be in.

"For example, we have [right-hander] Yoshinori Tateyama going through the heart of the Yankees' left-handed lineup. That's not what we got him for. It's a combination of a lot of things, but we need our starters to do what they were doing before this past week. It all works together."

The Rangers' bullpen has allowed 18 runs (14 earned) over their past four games, raising their season ERA to 4.52, the third-highest mark in the American League.

"It hasn't been as effective as we need it to be," Daniels said. "We haven't hit our stride yet. It would help if a couple of guys come back healthy, but we need to be more consistent. The bottom line is it needs to be better."

Daniels is not shy about making trades. Last year he made five separate deals to upgrade the club on its way to a division title. Right now, though, not many teams have fallen far enough out of contention to be classified as "sellers."

The Orioles are willing to talk about Koji Uehara and possibly Jim Johnson and/or Kevin Gregg. The Twins are climbing back into the AL Central race, so they're holding on to their best bullpen pieces, but the Royals are willing to talk about Joakim Soria, whose struggles took him out of the closer's role.

The Rangers have had discussions with the Nationals about their deep bullpen, including Todd Coffey and Tyler Clippard, and the Marlins may become sellers again now that they've plummented in the NL East. Their bullpen has been strong, with Burke Badenhop, Edward Mujica, Brian Sanches and Randy Choate all pitching well.

The Giants are looking for catching and are scouting Taylor Teagarden. If there is a big prize out of the bullpen at the Trade Deadline, it could be Padres closer Heath Bell. Or the Rangers could talk to the Cubs about Kerry Wood. Daniels is willing to make an impact trade.

"I'm always open to it, but I'm not sure I see that guy out there," Daniels said.