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Rangers' deal for Lowell remains on table

Rangers' deal for Lowell remains on table

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Rangers officially announced the signing of free-agent pitcher Rich Harden on Thursday evening, but they are still on hold in a trade with the Red Sox for infielder Mike Lowell.

"There are different layers to this thing," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday morning. "Both clubs are evaluating it and the general parameters are understood. Both clubs know what's on the table and continue to work through it."

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The Rangers would send Max Ramirez to the Red Sox in return for Lowell, who hit .290 with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs in 119 games and 484 at-bats this past season. He is a 12-year veteran who has played exclusively at third base his entire career but could play some first base for the Rangers, along with serving as the right-handed designated hitter.

He would be the right-handed bat that the Rangers have been looking for this offseason, and it does not appear that the club will be able to re-sign outfielder Marlon Byrd. Daniels has met with his agent, Sam Levinson, and it appears those discussions are all but over.

"I don't think it's realistic in the current situation," Daniels said. "We haven't eliminated it but it's unlikely. We'll look to fill that role elsewhere."

Lowell is scheduled to make $12 million in 2010, but the Red Sox are likely to pick up $8-9 million of that, although Commissioner Bud Selig must approve such a large amount. The Rangers also want to review Lowell's medical records. He had hip surgery after the 2008 season and missed three weeks in July because of a strained right hip.

Ramirez had some wrist problems in 2009 while hitting .234 with five home runs and 43 RBIs in 76 games and 320 at-bats at Triple-A Oklahoma. But he is currently playing winter ball in Venezuela, where he is hitting .236 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs in 50 games and 182 at-bats.

The Rangers acquired him on July 27, 2007, from the Indians for outfielder Kenny Lofton. He played in 17 games for the Rangers in 2008 and hit .217 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 46 at-bats.

The Rangers were able to set up the deal for Harden after trading pitcher Kevin Millwood to the Orioles for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later on Wednesday. That deal was completed on Thursday when the Rangers added left-handed reliever Benjamin Snyder, who was taken by the Orioles with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft.

Snyder, 24, was 4-4 with one save and a 2.88 ERA in 34 games, including five starts, for Double-A Connecticut in the Eastern League. For the year, left-handed batters hit just .146 off him. Snyder had a 2.04 ERA in his 29 relief appearances, with opponents batting just .210 in those games.

He will come to Spring Training as a candidate for the Rangers' bullpen as a left-handed setup reliever.

"We've had real good reports on him as left-on-left guy," Daniels said. "He's durable, has a strong body and has multiple pitches, but our scouts like his left-on-left breaking ball. He'll be in the mix."

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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