"He makes pitches when he has to make pitches," Washington said. "That's what good pitchers do. That's what he's been taught his entire career. I don't think where he pitches makes a difference."The Rangers had strong interest in free-agent catcher Mike Piazza as a designated hitter, but it appears that he could get a two-year, $15 million deal with the Oakland Athletics. The Rangers will likely hold off pursuing any other significant offensive candidates until they get their starting pitching sorted out. "We're focusing our resources on our rotation," Daniels said. The Rangers have talked trade with other teams and have touched base with the Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves, among others. The Orioles are trying to move right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, and the Braves are willing to talk about Tim Hudson and Horacio Ramirez. The Diamondbacks have some good young pitchers who are close to being Major League-ready, and the Rangers have interest in right-handers Dustin Nippert and Micah Owings, among others. The Mets and Phillies are among the teams that have asked about the Rangers' bullpen depth. "We're popular among teams looking for relief help," Daniels said. "There could be a fit there in the next day or two." The most desirable names appear to be closer Akinori Otsuka and left-hander C.J. Wilson, but Daniels made it clear that the Rangers aren't interested in trading either one. They would be more willing to talk about some of their other right-handers, including Rick Bauer, Wes Littleton, Frank Francisco and Scott Feldman. Otsuka led the Rangers with 32 saves. The Rangers have a number of relievers who could end up being a closer, including Josh Rupe and Nick Masset, but they aren't ready to give up Otsuka right now. "We've been hit on him because he's controllable, affordable and successful," Daniels said. "But we've told clubs that we're not looking to move him." Daniels said that the Rangers have also been exploring their options in center field. If they can get both Zito and Padilla, they may settle for an internal option -- either Freddy Guzman or Nelson Cruz. Kenny Lofton and Jay Payton are the two most likely free-agent candidates.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.