|Rangers' Minor, Mariners' Leake face off amid trade talk|
The Texas Rangers' Mike Minor and Seattle Mariners' Mike Leake know that when they take the mound Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Park, it might be their last starts with their respective teams.
Minor (8-5, 2.86 ERA) and Leake (8-8, 4.27) have both been mentioned as candidates to be moved by the July 31 trading deadline.
What has been different is how the two veteran pitchers have reacted to the trade rumors.
"If it happens, it happens," the left-handed Minor told MLB.com after his last start, a 4-3 loss at Houston on Friday. "It's there, but it's more about staying in the routine and keep on pitching. I see it, you guys (reporters) talk about it. I've got to do my best to kind of keep it external, out of the clubhouse. I'm trying to do a job."
At the All-Star break, it seemed as if the Rangers might be buyers at the deadline in their chase for an American League wild-card berth. But an eight-game losing streak since the break dampened those plans.
"It does make us mad," Minor said. "We've played well all season, then we lose a couple of games and we're supposedly ready to deal guys when we have 2 1/2 months left in the season. ...
"I don't want to go anywhere. My name was talked about in the offseason, so I'm used to it. It seems like ever since I signed, I've been a topic. It's like I signed here just to be traded."
First-year Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he understood the frustration.
"It is distracting when the idea of us being sellers gets thrown out there," Woodward said. "Players don't want to hear that. They still have the belief that we are going to win a World Series. I don't ever want to take that away from them."
Leake perhaps enhanced his trade value in his last outing Friday, when he took a perfect game into the ninth inning of a 10-0 victory against the Los Angeles Angels. Luis Rengifo spoiled the perfect game and no-hitter with a single to right field leading off the final inning, but Leake finished with his second career shutout.
As for the trade talk?
"I think I've been talked about being traded for almost a year now. It's kind of normal right now," the right-hander told MLB.com.
Leake said he felt his last start was more important because it might have been an audition for a playoff team.
"I was kind of forcing myself to think that way as well, especially since it really was (important) in a way," Leake said. "It was a perfect-game chase. I think that's similar to throwing in a playoff situation. If the opportunity presents itself, I would think about it. It might happen."
Minor has defeated Leake and the Mariners twice this season, striking out a season-high 13 in seven innings of a 15-1 victory April 27 at Seattle. He fanned 11 in a 10-9 victory May 20 at Texas, allowing two runs in six innings.
Minor is 3-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 career appearances (seven starts) against Seattle; Leake is 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA in eight career starts versus the Rangers.
Both teams might be missing sluggers in the series finale, as Mariners outfielder Domingo Santana (right elbow) and Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo (right wrist) left Tuesday's game early.
According to the Seattle Times, Santana is to have an MRI exam on Wednesday. An X-ray of Gallo's wrist, meanwhile, showed no broken bones, The Dallas Morning News reported, but he too could undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media