Notebook cleaning: Bullpen, OF tidbits

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's a night game here in Surprise, meaning everything starts later than normal today. So I'm cleaning out my notebook a little bit. Here are some notes that didn't quite get on the blog the past few days:

* Koji Uehara pitched better in his last outing as the split-fingered fastball had a little more bite. "I kept the ball down," Uehara said through a translator. But the pitcher also admitted that the dry Arizona air is still taking away the movement from his splitter (that's the case out here in the desert). "I hope that's what it is and that it gets better when we get back," Uehara said.

* Brad Hawpe hit a home run Saturday and is swinging the bat well in batting practice. But he still can't make a throw from the outfield and he's a left-handed hitter. What the Rangers really need is a right-handed bat, making it difficult to imagine Hawpe making the team. But as he points out, you never know what may happen late in spring training. He's healthy after dealing with the mild strains of both hamstrings at points this spring. He can handle all the infield duties, but his arm isn't healed enough to make the throws needed i a game from the OF.

* The Rangers continue to search for a right-handed outfield bat that could essentially platoon with David Murphy. This is the time when some teams may start to trim rosters and make more guys available. The question is whether the club will find a suitable option that's better than what they have currently. Craig Gentry hasn't seized the spot this spring as the club hoped, but he's still got time. He left Sunday's game because of dehydration.

* Mark Lowe, who is expected to pitch tonight, said he's continuing to work on his slider and changeup, but feels like overall he can throw his four-pitch assortment for strikes more consistently than he could a year ago. He said he is making progress and knows he needs to see some better results. "I've got some innings left and I'm getting there," Lowe said.