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Notes: Melhuse is odd-man out

Notes: Melhuse is odd-man out

ARLINGTON -- Travis Metcalf's record-tying performance in Wednesday's doubleheader may have pushed catcher Adam Melhuse off the roster.

The Rangers needed an extra pitcher after Wednesday's doubleheader and called up reliever Scott Feldman from Triple-A Oklahoma. To make room, the Rangers designated Melhuse for assignment.

Metcalf might have been the player dropped, but not after going 3-for-4 with eight RBIs in the doubleheader. That tied the club record for most RBIs in a doubleheader, held previously by Toby Harrah and Bobby Bonds.

"We just couldn't turn around and send him out," manager Ron Washington said. "That's why we did what we had to do today."

The Rangers have been looking to trade Melhuse but have been unable to find an interested team. He was acquired from the Oakland Athletics on June 9 but was hitting .219 and was not getting any playing time behind the plate. The Rangers have been going strictly with Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia since the trade deadline passed.

Melhuse did get three starts at third base but he is not a third baseman. Still, Washington has known Melhuse for several years during their days in Oakland and said it was difficult to designate him for assignment. The Rangers have 10 days to trade him or let him go.

"It was difficult for me because I know what he brings to the table," Washington said. "He's a winner. He felt bad because he couldn't contribute more for us, but I know what he can do. He just hasn't played in a while. We made all these trades and got all these young guys and they have to play."

Otsuka return "highly unlikely": Akinori Otsuka has probably pitched his last game for the Rangers this year.

General manager Jon Daniels said it's "highly unlikely" that Otsuka will be able to return to the mound before the end of the season.

Otsuka said he was told by Dr. James Andrews that he has tendinitis in his right elbow. The plan now is for Otsuka to rest for two weeks and then begin another throwing program.

"We're going to give him as much rest as he needs," Daniels said. "We've done this before, we'll try it again and hopefully we'll have better results. If not, surgery will be a possibility."

Otsuka's situation could complicate his future with the Rangers. He is 35, he is making $3 million and he has two years of arbitration left. If the Rangers have concerns about his health and his effectiveness beyond this year, it could impact their decision to tender him a contract for 2008.

"We haven't gotten that far," Daniels said. "That's something we'll have to consider but we'll see what happens between now and then."

Blalock watch: Hank Blalock, trying to come back from shoulder surgery, is not happy about the way he has been throwing from third to first and is backing off his throwing program for a couple of weeks.

Being able to throw from third to first is the final step for Blalock and the Rangers hoped that would happen by now so that he could be ready by Sept. 1. That's not going to happen.

Blalock is going to concentrate on building up arm strength for the next few weeks before he starts trying to throw from third to first. Basically Blalock wants to set up deeper at third base so he'll get to more grounders, but his arm strength is not to the point where he can do that.

"If it takes a couple of extra weeks so that I can play deeper the rest of my career, I'm going to do that," Blalock said.

Wright on Saturday: The Rangers are planning to start Jamey Wright on Saturday against the Seattle Mariners unless he is needed in relief before then.

As a precaution, the Rangers pulled Triple-A Oklahoma pitcher Armando Galarraga out of his start against Nashville. Galarraga would be an option if the Rangers are unable to go with either Wright or Mike Wood.

Vicente Padilla starts on Sunday against the Mariners, followed by Kason Gabbard on Tuesday and Kevin Millwood on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. Thursday's starter is up in the air.

The White Sox are planning to counter with John Danks, Jon Garland and Mark Buehrle.

Laird scratched: Laird was a late scratch from Thursday's lineup because of flu-like symptoms. He is day-to-day. Washington also gave second baseman Ian Kinsler and center fielder Marlon Byrd a day off after they were the only two players to play all 18 innings of Wednesday's doubleheader.

He said it: "I'm not counting Seattle out. You talk about talent, they have some of the best. And they're starting to play together. The last few years they're starting to play like individuals. Now they're playing like a team." --Washington on the Mariners

Minor Stars:
Gold: Triple-A Oklahoma third baseman David Matranga was 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored in the RedHawks 10-2 victory over Nashville.

Silver: Oklahoma first baseman Nate Gold hit a home run for the third consecutive game and now has an eight-game hitting streak. He is batting .438 (14-for-32) with six home runs and 11 RBIs during the streak.

Bronze: Double-A Frisco outfielder Steve Murphy was 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a 14-3 loss to San Antonio.

Up next: Millwood pitches for the Rangers at 7:30 p.m. CT on Friday against the Mariners. Right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches 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.

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