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August 17, 2012

Friday's Rangers notes: More on Dempster, Oswalt

Ryan Dempster didn't join the Rangers on their trip to Toronto for what the team called "personal reasons."

It's not believed to be serious, and Dempster is expected to rejoin the Rangers when they return to Texas on Monday. With Dempster unavailable, Roy Oswalt is scheduled to start Saturday.

Oswalt last pitched Aug. 8 in Boston, but said he threw about 40 pitches when he warmed up Wednesday in New York.

"We'll see how it goes," Oswalt said. "Should be interesting."

Oswalt didn't know how how many pitches he would be able to throw. He found out that starting was a possibility Thursday, and said he might throw off a mound again today.

Manager Ron Washington said Oswalt's start should be viewed as nothing more than a spot start at this point.

As far as how the rotation will set up when Dempster returns, Washington said he didn't know. He expects to have that sorted out later this evening, though.

Here are a few other notes:

* Nelson Cruz is out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game. He has right hamstring soreness, and the Rangers are being precautious with the AstroTurf at the Rogers Centre.

* Mike Napoli, on the disabled list with a strained left quad, jogged today but is "taking it slow." He can still throw and hit, but hasn't squatted or blocked balls yet.

* Ron Washington on Michael Kirkman: "The more he's gotten the ball, the more comfortable he's getting and he's got a feel for his breaking stuff. The key to Kirk is just being able to throw strikes. ... If he can continue to pound the strike zone, his role can become bigger and bigger. It's be nice to have he and Robbie [Ross] down there."

-- Drew Davison

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