ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers bullpen is officially at full strength, according to manager Ron Washington. With less than three weeks remaining in the regular season, it couldn't have come at a better time.
"Everyone down there is available," he said Tuesday prior to the opener of an important three-game series against the desperate Los Angeles Angels.
Washington said setup man Mike Adams (trapezius muscle) was "ready to go" after playing catch Monday and not having pitched since Sept. 11. Closer Joe Nathan didn't pitch in the three-game series against the Seattle Mariners while recovering from a heavy workload.
"This was us trying to make sure (Mike) and Joe were ready," Washington said. "We gave them the weekend."
Given that Koji Uehara missed 65 games with a strained right lat muscle and Robbie Ross was sidelined the first half of this month with a strained left forearm, Washington was content with how his team responded.
"Through everything that happened," Washington said, "we held it together."
*Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton would have Washington's most valuable player vote if he had one, the manager disclosed after mulling his options for close to 30 seconds. But so would Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. "[Hamilton] and [Beltre] have been very valuable to us. The good thing about it is you guys have to worry about those votes," he said, smiling.
*Washington credited better command for Tuesday starter Ryan Dempster's impressive stretch (six wins since Aug. 1): "Hitting his spots with his pitches, keeping them down. He's not an overpowering pitcher so he's got to rely on hitting his spots. He's been very good."
* Mike Napoli, who was activated from the disabled list last week, is slated to start the first two games of the Angels series. He has nine multi-hit efforts and is 23-for-56 (.411) with eight home runs and 12 RBIs here the last two seasons. Napoli has the best homer ratio all-time at Angel Stadium, going deep every 14.8 at-bats here (56 homers in 827 at-bats).
"I certainly don't want to take that ability away from our lineup," Washington said.
*When informed that Michael Young has 10 hits in his last 20 at-bats, Washington smirked. "I'm seeing Michael Young grinding," Washington said, "like he always does."
*Rangers players held a lengthy team meeting and opened the clubhouse to reporters for only five minutes.