The Rangers took plenty of flak this offseason for missing out on all of their big targets — namely Zack Greinke and Justin Upton. However, USA Today's Bob Nightengale notes that the team is currently tied for the best record in the American League and also has the AL's best pitching staff despite a host of injuries. Nightengale tells pitching coach Mike Maddux to "take a bow" and praises the organization's recent emphasis on pitching. Here's more from the AL West…
- A deal between the Rangers and another heavily rumored target — Kyle Lohse — was never particularly close, GM Jon Daniels tells Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Dallas. Daniels said the Rangers were very interested in seeing if MLB would allow a one-time sign-and-trade exception for Lohse in order to keep their draft pick, but the situation never reached that point because agent Scott Boras found a market for Lohse. The Rangers never made Lohse an offer.
- The decision to designate Rick Ankiel for assignment "crushed" the Astros' clubhouse, Carlos Pena told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Pena says that every player on the team loved Ankiel, a testament that Brandon Barnes echoed to Smith. Smith notes that Pena is now alone in his role as elder statesman of a young, inexperienced team.
- Jordan Norberto told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he understands why he was released by the Athletics earlier today. He knows the A's are in a tough spot due to injuries and a full roster, but said he loves the organization and fans and would like to re-sign there. Slusser cautions that there will be plenty of interest in Norberto from other teams, and she even adds that she's already been contacted by an AL scout asking how Norberto's rehab is progressing. Norberto has begun throwing after being shut down for a month.