Ken Rosenthal, with the line that everyone really would do well to abide by during future discussion of Jose Bautista and his insane home run pace: "If Bautista tests positive, it’s a story. If Bautista is linked to PEDs through a government investigation, it’s a story. But if Bautista keeps hitting home runs without a hint of wrongdoing, it’s a baseball story, nothing more." Onward:
● Barry Horn opines that the John Rhadigan experiment was doomed to failure from the beginning due to his lack of previous play-by-play experience, and points out that though Dave Barnett -- who will now work alongside Tom Grieve full time -- and Bryan Dolgin -- who will share second-chair broadcasting duties with Steve Busby on the radio side -- both stand to benefit considerably from Rhadigan's demotion, neither is under contract beyond the 2011 season and both may prove to be only short-term replacements; furthermore, there are apparently people in the Rangers organization who feel that Barnett is lacking in the requisite game-calling energy and enthusiasm, which could prove to be a factor in what ends up happening with him after this season (Dallas Morning News)
[The very last part of this is reminiscent of Vince Cotroneo's ouster near the end of the 2003 regular season, which, according to reports at the time, came about because the Rangers -- or, more specifically, Tom Hicks and his closest advisors -- didn't feel Cotroneo called games with enough passion or excitement or enthusiasm (read: he wasn't enough of a homer for the Rangers' liking), and so he was unceremoniously dismissed and supplanted by Victor Rojas.
Of course, Cotroneo has been embraced by Athletics fans whereas Barnett has taken on this weird sort of lesser-of-two-evils visage, and the Rangers may not be quite so off base in their critique of Barnett as they were with Cotroneo ... but, on the other hand, Rhadigan's penchant for getting too excited at inappropriate moments ended up hurting him in the end, so maybe it's not all that easy to find a happy medium after all.]
● The Rangers reportedly do not believe that Alexi Ogando will wear down as the season progresses despite his projected 150-plus-inning workload and high-stress mechanics, and aren't yet worried about limiting his innings in an effort to ensure he still has something left in the tank going into the season's later months (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[This figures to be the final nail in the coffin of any and all Ogando-to-the-bullpen talk unless his peripherals fall into utter disrepair (unlikely) or he succumbs to injury (likelier than the first, but still unlikely). I thought it was interesting that Peter Gammons specifically lauded Ogando's deceptiveness on the bump during his Thursday morning appearance on Dunham & Miller, stating that in addition to the plus-plus stuff and above-average command, Ogando has kept the opposition off balance by hiding the ball very well against his hip during his windup, thereby making it very difficult for hitters to pick up on exactly what is coming. The longer this goes on, the more convinced you become that the Rangers have something uniquely special here.]
● In addition to being linked to the Padres' Heath Bell, the Pirates' Joel Hanrahan and the Reds' Todd Coffey, the Rangers have reportedly also been "[sending] out feelers" on Diamondbacks setup man David Hernandez, and had inquired into the availability of Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales last week before he was traded to the Red Sox (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[Coffey was already covered yesterday; Hanrahan, a few days before that. Hernandez, a converted starter, could be said to be dominating out in Arizona (22 strikeouts and only one home run allowed in 20.2 innings this season), but he's also unnervingly erratic with the fastball-curveball-change-up mix, as his 13 walks constitute the fifth-highest walk rate among the 70 major league relievers with at least 20 innings accrued thus far this season. Oddly, he also boasts the fifth-worst ground-to-fly ball ratio of those same 70 pitchers, which becomes even more extreme opposite-handed lefty hitters (and thus wouldn't seem to play especially well within the confines of the Ballpark) ... so, you know, there are some things to keep in mind.]