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Notes: Washington wants Sosa back

Notes: Washington wants Sosa back

MINNEAPOLIS -- Add Sammy Sosa to manager Ron Washington's wish list for 2008.

Sosa, who is finishing the season as a part-time player, has said that he wants to keep playing for the Rangers in 2008, and Washington is all for it.

"My recommendation is they bring him back," Washington said before Wednesday's game with the Minnesota Twins. "The guy is an RBI machine. He hasn't done anything not to bring him back."

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Sosa is a free agent after the season. He met with general manager Jon Daniels in Oakland earlier on the road trip, and the Rangers haven't ruled it out. Daniels said it will be something they talk about internally, and with Sosa after the season.

Sosa went into Wednesday's game hitting .254 with 20 home runs and a club-leading 90 RBIs. But he has proven to be a much better hitter against left-handed pitchers than right-handers. He was hitting .328 with a 1.002 OPS against lefties and .224 with a .265 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage against righties.

Ultimately, the Rangers' interest in him for 2008 may be as a platoon player.

"I'll wait and see what other personnel they bring in," Washington said. "I'd certainly like to have him on the team in some capacity. He's good in the clubhouse, and it's obvious what he does between the lines when there are runners on the basepaths. He may not be the old Sosa, but he can still pick up runs."

Sosa did not start in any of the three games in Minnesota, but Washington wants to play him on the final homestand against the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He knows Sosa is still a fan favorite.

"That will enter into it," Washington said. "It might be his last hurrah in Texas. I'm going to get him in some games. I don't know how many."

Hunter interested in Texas: Washington still has center field as a No. 1 priority, and one of the best on the free agent market was sitting in the opposite dugout Wednesday night. Torii Hunter also lives in Texas in the offseason, making his home in The Colony, which is 45 minutes away from the Ballpark in Arlington.

Hunter said he is definitely interested in playing for the Rangers, but also made it clear he is interested in playing for a winner.

"I love Texas, actually," Hunter said Wednesday. "That's one of the places I'm going to look and see what happens ... see what's going on and what moves they make. I'm the type of player where I'm at the point where I want to win.

"I've got a chance to make a decision and see where I want to go, pick out a team, and I want to make the right decision. My family is so important, and I'm hoping the Texas Rangers make some moves and I'll be right there."

Hunter wasn't specific on what moves he wanted the Rangers to make.

"I'm just watching," Hunter said. "Whatever moves they're making, if they're good, then I'm going to do it because they really do have a better chance than anybody [of signing me]. I love the ballpark. I know a lot of people that work there, and I know a lot of people in the Dallas/Arlington area. It's like home.

"I still want to win, though, that's what matters to me."

Blalock throws: Hank Blalock played light catch on Wednesday and reported some improvement in his sore right arm. But he is still not ready to play in the field and the Rangers still aren't sure if he'll be able to play defense before the season is over.

"We just have to wait," Washington said. "He hasn't given up trying to get out there. We still have 11 games left. We'll still try to get him out there for four or five games. If not, we'll wait until Spring Training."

No winning record: With Kason Gabbard shut down and Kevin Millwood now 9-13, the Rangers' starting rotation will have something in common with the 1972 and 1985 teams.

They will not have a starting pitcher with at least 10 starts who has a winning record. That has only happened twice previously. The Rangers' starting rotation went into Wednesday's game with a record of 40-62, a winning percentage of .392 that is the fifth lowest in club history.

Gabbard is 2-1, but with just eight starts. The Rangers had five pitchers with at least 10 starts: Vicente Padilla (6-9), Brandon McCarthy (5-10), Kameron Loe (6-11), Robinson Tejeda (5-9) and Millwood.

He said it: "It would be nice to get back out there, but I don't want to take any at-bats away from [Ramon Vazquez]. He has played great and deserves to be out there. But last night is out of my mind. That doesn't bother me in the least. I'm a confident defensive player. I'll make my adjustments and move on." -- Shortstop Michael Young, who was used at DH on Wednesday the day after making three errors in a game

Briefly: Catcher Gerald Laird, still sidelined with a sore right knee, said he's feeling much better and could return to the lineup on Thursday at home. ... The last time a Rangers shortstop had three errors in a game was Jeff Huson on July 17, 1992, against the Baltimore Orioles. ... The Rangers did not have a strikeout in Tuesday's game for only the second time this season.

Up next: The Rangers open a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at 7:05 p.m. CT on Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. McCarthy pitches for the Rangers against right-hander Victor Zambrano for the Orioles.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Leslie Parker contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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