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July 31, 2012

Rangers acquire Ryan Dempster from Cubs

The Rangers finally found a starting pitcher at the last moment before the 3 p.m. trade deadline Tuesday by landing right-hander Ryan Dempster from the Cubs.

The trade sends Class A Myrtle Beach third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-hander Kyle Hendricks to the Cubs.

Dempster is second in the majors with a 2.25 ERA for the lowly Cubs. He adds to a Rangers rotation that has been hampered by elbow injuries to Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz and inconsistency from Roy Oswalt. Some with the club are concerned about the health of Oswalt's back going forward.

Dempster, who is a free agent after this season, was scheduled to pitch for the Cubs on Tuesday. He could make his first start for the Rangers on Friday at Kansas City in the spot being held down by Scott Feldman.

Dempster was originally drafted by the Rangers in 1995 before being traded to Florida in 1996 for John Burkett.

The Rangers had to sweat out the last hour after trying without luck to get a pitcher the past week. They came close to acquiring Josh Beckett from Boston over the weekend before the deal came apart. The Rangers couldn't convince Philadelphia to take enough of Cliff Lee's remaining contract to make a deal work, and an injury to Cubs pitcher Matt Garza suffered July 21 made him too much of a risk to commit to the dollars and the prospects.

On the relief front, the Rangers never called Colorado on right-hander Rafael Betancourt and passed on Jonathan Broxton, who went to Cincinnati. The Rangers liked Minnesota righty Jared Burton, who could have made transitioning Alexi Ogando to the bullpen easier, but didn't get anywhere.

On offense, talks about Shin-Soo Choo with Cleveland were never rekindled Tuesday. Contract concerns were a deterrent on Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, but there were also mixed feelings about how much he would impact the club.

Earlier Tuesday, the Commissioner's Office signed off on the trade that sent Geovany and cash to the Rangers and minor-league pitcher Jake Brigham and a player to be named or cash to the Cubs. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba was designated for assignment after the Rangers were unable to find a team that would take him in a trade.

There is another trade deadline Aug. 31, but players who are traded must first clear waivers before they can be dealt. The Rangers have had some success the past few years in August, grabbing Jeff Francoeur in 2010 and Matt Treanor and Mike Gonzalez last year.

-- Jeff Wilson


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