Notes: Barajas 'in a zone'

Notes: Barajas 'in a zone'

KANSAS CITY -- The home run barrage by Rod Barajas through the opening two games of the Kansas City series featured four strikingly similar drives down the left-field line.

One hit the screen attached to the foul pole. One hit the foul pole itself. One zipped just inside the foul pole, and another was only about 15 or 20 feet off the line.

Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo said there's a key to keeping the ball in fair territory rather than seeing it hook foul.

"It's about staying inside the ball and that's what Rod has been doing," Jaramillo said. "He's thinking a little more left-center rather than down the line. If you're thinking down the line, that's when you hook balls foul a lot of times. He's in a good position and seeing the ball well. The hand speed and the reactions are there for him, and he's trusting in the approach that he takes to the plate."

With two homers on Thursday and two more on Friday, Barajas became just the sixth player in club history to hit multiple homers in consecutive games. The only other Rangers players to accomplish the feat were Rusty Greer, Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.

"He's in a zone," Jaramillo said. "He believes in himself and he's swinging at good pitches."

Barajas, who entered Saturday's game with five homers over a three-game span, is expected to get a day off on Sunday.

Manager Buck Showalter said he's planning to go with Gerald Laird behind the plate for the final game of the Kansas City series.

Winning record? The Rangers appeared doomed to a losing season when they dropped nine games under .500 on Aug. 21. But a recent surge by Texas has rekindled hopes of a second consecutive winning season.

While a plus-.500 record certainly wouldn't erase the disappointment over not reaching the playoffs, it would at least enable the club to head into the offseason with a more positive feeling.

"Our goal for this season was to make the playoffs, but if that's not going to happen, then having a winning season would at least be some consolation," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "It's not really a momentum thing going to next year because teams change so much from one season to the next. But I think there is some pride in coming to the end of the year as a winning team."

Around the horn: The Rangers expect to have left-hander C.J. Wilson and infielder Marshall McDougall back with the club on Monday. ... Showalter has talked with backup catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. and explained the need to look at Laird during September. That means Alomar will probably have limited playing opportunities the remainder of the season. "There's nobody more professional than Sandy Alomar," Showalter said. "He was Gerald Laird at one time." ... The Rangers continue to monitor closer Francisco Cordero, who missed a couple of games earlier this week with a sore triceps muscle. Cordero suffered his eighth blown save on Friday.

Coming up: The Rangers will get another reading on highly touted prospect Edison Volquez on Sunday in the finale of the Kansas City series. Volquez allowed six hits and five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings in his Major League debut last Tuesday. Kansas City will go with left-hander Jimmy Gobble.

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.