ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers aren't taking anything for granted. But at some point, a team has to try to line up its rotation for a possible postseason berth. Manager Ron Washington said his rotation is lined up the way he wants it now.
He said if form holds and the Rangers clinch before the final day, Cliff Lee would start the first game of the American League Division Series (which right now looks like at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 6).
Washington is planning for Lee to pitch in the final regular season game of the season on Oct. 3. If the Rangers need to win the game to make the playoffs, Lee would be in position to start it for them. If not, he'd likely go a few innings (almost like a regular side session) and be ready for Game 1.
Lee remains scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Yankees after dealing with a strained muscle in his lower back.
* RHP Frank Francisco still has not thrown since hurting a muscle in his side on Aug. 27. He said he's been working out and going through treatment, but isn't at the point of throwing yet. He added that he's expecting to get another MRI on Monday and if that shows no damage, he could begin to ramp up his rehab. Since he's a one-inning reliever, manager Ron Washington isn't as concerned about having him pitch in multiple games. But if he's not back by the final week of the season to throw in a game or at least pitch to hitters in a simulated game, he may not make the postseason roster.
* SS Elvis Andrus says he's 100 percent and that he could have played the last two games in Toronto, but Washington didn't want him on the Rogers Centre turf. He added that he'll continue to get treatment on the hamstrings and do everything he can to keep them in good shape. "I can't say I won't have something happen, but I feel good right now," Andrus said.
* LHP C.J. Wilson flew back to Texas ahead of the team. "He should be the most well-rested Texas Ranger," said Washington, who got back to Dallas around 2:30 a.m. with the rest of the team.
* Washington clearly expects utility infielder Andres Blanco to be on the postseason roster. Blanco has played well the last few weeks and the club was confident enough in him to rest Andrus those final two games in Toronto. That could mean Cristian Guzman may not make the postseason roster. We'll see.
* Washington praised lefty Clay Rapada, who could be an important situational lefty out of the bullpen down the stretch and possibly in the postseason (yes, he's eligible. He could replace an injured player).