Uncertainty about when Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Nick Tepesch will be available and how effective they will be has pushed starting pitching to the top of the Rangers' wish list ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
The Rangers have scouted Cubs right-hander Matt Garza extensively, as they did last July before he got injured, and general manager Jon Daniels confirmed that the Rangers are involved in active talks on multiple fronts.
Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando are expected to be activated from the disabled list next week, but the Rangers will still have Martin Perez and Ross Wolf in their rotation. Garza would be an upgrade over both of them, and would fit in ahead of Ogando in the rotation.
Lewis had his first rehab start Wednesday night and could go again Monday with mid-August as a target for his retunr. Harrison threw his first bullpen session since having a second back operation May 1. He threw 25 pitches at 75 percent, saying all went well, but he likely won't be ready until late August.
Tepesch has played catch three straight days, but there are no plans for him to get on a mound.
There are no guarantees that none of the three will have a setback, so Daniels isn't counting on them to be impact arms down the stretch.
"The guys we're activating in the next few days, I feel pretty good about," Daniels said. "Our goal is a lot bigger than just to be in position."
Jeff Baker and Craig Gentry will be activated Friday, giving the Rangers two more right-handed hitters to help balance out the lineup. Bakers was the major-league leader in home runs against left-handed pitchers before he suffered a sprained thumb last month.
Daniels, though, said that the Rangers could use another right-handed bat.
"You could really go both ways," he said. "We're having active conversations."
-- Jeff Wilson