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June 01, 2011

Wednesday's pregame Rangers notes

Matt Harrison played catch without tape over the blister on his left index finger, and pitching coach Mike Maddux said that "it looks pretty good" that Harrison will start Thursday at Cleveland. The final decision, though, won't be made until sometime Thursday. Dave Bush will start if Harrison can't go.

Manager Ron Washington said that he will start trying to protect Arthur Rhodes by having a right-handed reliever warming behind him. Right-handed hitters are batting .300 against Rhodes this season with three homers, including the game-winning two-run homer from Evan Longoria on Tuesday night. Washington took the blame for the loss because he didn't have Neftali Feliz warm in time to face Longoria after Johnny Damon had singled off of Rhodes.

The first round of American League All-Star balloting will be released later today. Washington said that he is monitoring stats, especially pitchers, for the seven selections he will make for the AL team. He said that Michael Young and Alexi Ogando would be strong candidates for manager's picks if they continue at their current production and if they aren't voted in by fans, in Young's case, or by their peers.

Play opens today with the Rangers holding a half-game lead in the AL West over ... Seattle, which has won eight of its past 10 games. Last-place Oakland is only 2 1/2 games back. "I certainly would like to step away from them," Washington said. "What it's going to come down to is being able to close out games."

-- Jeff Wilson

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