Rangers may look for help behind plate

Rangers may look for help behind plate

ARLINGTON -- Rod Barajas is prominent among possible catchers whom the Rangers are scouting as spring moves into summer, and the July 31 Trade Deadline gets closer.

The Rangers had interest in Barajas in the offseason as a free agent, and industry sources said the club will have interest again if the Mets look to move him.

The Mets are not in a selling mode yet. But they are sitting in last place in the National League East, while Barajas is off to a strong start. He went into the weekend series with the Yankees hitting .276, with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in his first 33 games.

The Rangers have been making a number of calls to other clubs in search of possible catching help as Barajas' name has come up. If the Mets do sell, Major League officials said it won't be until much closer to the trade deadline.

Barajas agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract with the Mets early in Spring Training, with up to another $1 million possible in performance bonuses. That's a contract well within the Rangers' strict financial limits.

The Rangers have been satisfied to this point with the combination of Matt Treanor and Max Ramirez but still have some concerns. Treanor is 34 and has never been a regular at the Major League level.

The Rangers are 16-8 in games Treanor has started, but he is 9-for-50 in his last 17 games to drop his batting average from .265 to .214. The Rangers have been impressed with the work he has done with the pitching staff but don't want to wear him down as the hot summer progresses.

Treanor caught three games in a row but was out of the lineup on Friday; Max Ramirez got the start and will also start on Saturday. Manager Ron Washington said Treanor will catch on Sunday and likely get both games in Kansas City on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We just have to protect him as best we can," Washington said. "I haven't seen anything that's caused alarm."

The Rangers started the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden as their catchers, but both are in the Minor Leagues and not expected back anytime soon. Saltalamacchia is with Triple-A Oklahoma City, trying to straighten out his throwing issues, and Teagarden, after going 3-for-27 to start the season, is at Double-A Frisco.