Notes: Hicks eyes greater soccer share

Notes: Hicks eyes bigger soccer share

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Owner Tom Hicks is involved in some serious negotiations involving the ownership structure of the Liverpool Football Club but stressed it will not affect the Rangers.

"There will be absolutely no impact whatsoever," Hicks said.

Hicks owns 50 percent of Liverpool, the English soccer club in the Premier League, and is in discussions with several different investor groups about purchasing the other 50 percent owned by George Gillett. Those investors could be a part of the Liverpool ownership or they may end up being partners in Hicks Sports Group, which also owns the Rangers and the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars.

Either way Hicks will still be the Rangers owner and he will still maintain his strict philosophy of keeping separate the finances of all three sports teams. Contrary to reports out of England, Hicks said no revenue generated by the Rangers will be used in any Liverpool deals.

"I'm bringing in new investors to buy out Gillett but that won't effect the Rangers," Hicks said. "All three teams are separate."

Hicks was here for the weekend, mainly to enjoy a couple of games. There is no serious Rangers business on his agenda and he's pretty much leaving everything to general manager Jon Daniels and club president Nolan Ryan.

"The owner only gets involved when there are issues," Hicks said. "With Nolan and J.D. in charge, there are no issues. There are issues in Liverpool. I'm very involved in Liverpool."

McCarthy has inflammation: Pitcher Brandon McCarthy underwent an MRI on his sore right elbow/forearm Saturday afternoon and the initial diagnosis is severe inflammation with some fluid in the area. McCarthy will likely need a cortisone shot, but the medical staff is still discussing the situation to decide on the proper course of action.

The Rangers do not seem to think that the problem is related to the ligament.

McCarthy left Friday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers with continued soreness in the elbow. He was supposed to be the Rangers' No. 4 starter, but it appears highly unlikely that he'll be ready by the start of the season.

Total fitness in baseball: There is an alternative to performance-enhancing drugs.

Rangers strength coach Jose Vazquez and club consultant Jay Hoffman have provided it by publishing a book called "Total Fitness for Baseball." The 180-page book is a complete primer for maintaining peak physical performance for players of all ages.

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"We're trying to get kids away from performance-enhancing drugs and into proper nutrition and training," Hoffman said. "It's designed to help adolescents up to the professional athlete -- step-by-step -- in strength, speed, agility and flexibility and how to maintain it."

Vazquez is in his third year as the club's strength and conditioning coach. Hoffman is the chair of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at the College of New Jersey. He consults for the Rangers on performance-enhancing drugs and the club's prevention program was commended in the Mitchell Report for its effectiveness.

Washington waits on Wilson: C.J. Wilson, sidelined with soreness in his left elbow, is hoping to be ready to return to game action next week after one or two sessions in the bullpen. He has made just one appearance in a game so far this spring, on Feb. 29, but doesn't feel he's falling behind.

"That's the benefit of being a reliever," Wilson said. "You can miss a week and not lose too much ground."

He can't fall too far behind. Manager Ron Washington made it clear that Wilson still hasn't officially won the closer's job yet.

"We'll see," Washington said. "It's still out there. He needs to show he can throw the ball over the plate. Just like everybody else. He has to show he has stamina. Just like everybody else. But he's got time. We still have 20 days."

He said it: "He took care of me quite a bit when I came up. He'd take me out to dinner and always took care of it. We'd sit together during games and talk or watch video and talk. I learned from that more than anything else." -- Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood on former Braves teammate Greg Maddux, who pitched against Texas on Saturday.

Briefly: Hank Blalock returned to the lineup for the first time in eight games after missing time because of a sore shoulder and back/neck stiffness. Blalock was used at designated hitter on Saturday and is expected to do that again on Sunday. He could return to third base on Monday against the Padres. ... Frank Francisco threw two scoreless innings on Saturday, but the Rangers still want him to develop a split-fingered fastball.

Up next: Left-hander Kason Gabbard and right-handers Scott Feldman, Wes Littleton and Robinson Tejeda will pitch against the Angels at 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in Tempe, Ariz. The Rangers will also play a "B" game in the morning against the Royals, with right-hander Warner Madrigal and left-hander Bill White scheduled to pitch.

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