Banister: AL West division 'up for grabs'

Rangers begin 2nd half 6 games behind 1st-place Angels

Banister: AL West division 'up for grabs'

HOUSTON -- The Rangers open the second half of the season on Friday in third place in the American League West. They are six games behind the first-place Angels and 5 1/2 behind the Astros, who lost six straight to end the first half.

"This is a division that is up for grabs," manager Jeff Banister said. "We know what is in front of us. I think we are confident in what we can do. We have to play well. Everyone in the division understands that. It will come down to the bitter end.

"I would like for us to be a little bit closer, but it is where we are at. I have confidence our club has another run."

The last time the Rangers were in Houston, they swept three games from the Astros May 4-6. That started a stretch of 44 games where the Rangers went 29-15 and reached six games over .500. But they lost 15 of their last 20 to end the first half.

"We've already washed those games off," Banister said. "We're not going to get off the process of treating each game individually. When it is over, it's over. You learn what you need to learn from it and move on. We're a ballclub that thrives best when we wash it off and move forward."

Worth noting

• Pitcher Ross Detwiler has rejected outright assignment to Triple-A and is expected to be released on Friday if he clears waivers.

• Third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter Prince Fielder were excused from Thursday's workout at Minute Maid Park. Fielder was excused because he played in the All-Star Game. The Rangers want to give Beltre an extra day to rest his sore left thumb.

• Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo showed up at Minute Maid Park with an impressive tan after spending the All-Star break at South Padre Island with his family.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.