BALTIMORE -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels acknowledged he is looking for starting pitching in the trade market, but he is hoping the return of some pitchers off the disabled list will be a bigger help to the team.
"We're always going to check around and see if there is an opportunity to improve," Daniels said Tuesday. "It's still early to say how things will pan out."
The Rangers are among the teams that have scouted Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, and they have had interest in him in the past. The Brewers may be willing to talk about Yovani Gallardo, but the latest scouting reports have not been good. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last four starts.
Texas did not have much interest in pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers last week. That's a sign the Rangers aren't looking to fill a hole as much as looking to upgrade if there is somebody available better than what they have.
The Rangers currently have four starting pitchers on the disabled list: Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison. Of those four, Ogando should be back immediately after the All-Star break. Ogando, sidelined with inflammation in his right shoulder, is pitching on Thursday in his second game on a medical rehabilitation assignment and will likely have one more before being activated off the disabled list.
"Hopefully we'll get Alexi back after the All-Star break and take it from there," Daniels said. "That should be a significant step for our club and settle things down. On the whole, our starting pitching has solid for the year, but we're always looking to improve."
Tepesch is sidelined with a inflammation in his right elbow. He could be ready soon after the All-Star break. Lewis, who threw live batting practice on Tuesday, is hoping to begin another medical rehabilitation assignment after the All-Star break as he approaches his one-year anniversary (July 27) from flexor tendon surgery. Harrison, who had back surgery on May 2 to repair a herniated disk, is expected back at the end of August at the earliest.
"The biggest concern is the load on the bullpen over the last month," Daniels said. "Our starters are not getting deep into games with any regularity."
That has put a strain on the setup relievers Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross. But Joakim Soria has pitched two scoreless innings after coming off the disabled list, and Jason Frasor has not allowed a run in his last seven outings. Daniels is hoping those two will help decrease the workload on some of the Rangers' other relievers.
"That's is going to be a necessity," Daniels said. "We need a lot of guys to step up and we're seeing that."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.