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Rangers' catchers drawing interest

Rangers' catchers drawing interest

ARLINGTON -- Gerald Laird was out of the Rangers lineup on Wednesday night. He'll find out Thursday if that is a permanent arrangement or just temporary.

As the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches, the Rangers continue to see substantial interest in Laird from other teams, but no deal has been completed, as the Rangers have yet to be satisfied in their demand for good young pitching in return.

"It's not a well-kept secret we place a priority on pitching, now and the future," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's not the only singular factor or the only thing we're looking for, but it is a priority going forward."

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The Reds and the Marlins have shown the most interest in Laird. The Yankees were also interested in Laird until they traded for Ivan Rodriguez on Wednesday.

The Rangers continue to get across-the-board interest in four catchers: Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez, but the team isn't looking to move any of them. They are willing to talk about any of them, however.

The Rangers' basic philosophy in all of this is that they will be willing to trade one or more of their catchers if they are offered quality pitching in return. The Rangers have been offered pitching in various trade scenarios, but it hasn't been good enough to for them to pull the trigger.

Daniels said before Wednesday's game with the Mariners that he doesn't expect a deal to get done before the 3 p.m. CT Thursday deadline.

"Things can change, but right now we're prepared to go with the horses we came with," Daniels said.

Laird entered Wednesday with four home runs and 26 RBIs in 54 games and 194 at-bats. Despite missing over a month because of a pulled hamstring muscle, Laird has hit .456 in his last 16 games, while not letting the trade rumors distract him. He believes he'll still be a Ranger after Thursday.

"That's just my gut feeling," said Laird, who talked with Daniels before Wednesday's game. "I just want to play and not worry about this."

The Rangers have also had some conversations with other teams about outfielder Marlon Byrd and infielder Frank Catalanotto, but most of their discussions have revolved around their catchers.

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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