GM: Goal is playoffs -- 'There is no give-up'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his staff are lamenting their absolutely awful injury luck, they're doing it behind closed doors. It's easy to picture a box of tissues sitting on a conference room table with the group getting a good cry out. Or someone constantly texting Yu Darvish to make sure he’s OK and not merely the next victim.

But that, of course, doesn’t solve the problem or cure the club’s psyche in what is still early in the season.

"I can’t guarantee anything other than the fact that there is no give-up," Daniels said. "That’s not cliché. It’s the truth. It’s May. It’s May."

In fact, Daniels is adamant about where this club wants to be in October.

"Our goal is to make the playoffs," Daniels said. "That’s the bottom line. We’ve got a bunch of guys we expect will come off the DL and a bunch of guys that will be the first to tell you they can perform better. We’ve got to maintain a positive outlook and believe in ourselves as an organization."

OK. Do you truly believe that?

"Absolutely," Daniels said.

The number of excuses, should this season continue a downward trend, are numerous. Daniels resisted the temptation to blame curses or his medical staff, though he acknowledged the club will look at all of its processes and procedures to be sure there isn’t more they can do to avoid injuries.

"I felt in the last five, 10 years we’ve had one of the best medical staffs in the game," Daniels said. "We constantly have our people called on by other organizations and recognized in the industry. We have a pretty good track record. The last 18, 24 months it’s a different story. It’s almost like paying the piper for how good things were previously.

"We’ve got to ask the tough questions and which of these injuries are in a category that there are some things about them we can control better."

There’s nothing the club can do when a boxer bulldozes Derek Holland on the stairs of his home or a motorcycle runs over Joe Ortiz’s foot.

But those are just a few of an inordinately high number of injuries this year. The Rangers have packed what seems like two season’s worth of disabled-list stints into less than two months.

"I think as an industry, we have to look at things," Daniels said. "Is there a new normal? Our practices are good as they can be based on the information we have. The question is whether the information is still 100 percent accurate. Have things changed? Has the way players have been used to this point in their careers changed, and does that impact how we have to look at things? I don’t know the answer, but we’ve already started looking at some of that."

Does the GM second-guess his offseason and the lack of pitching depth?

"I don’t think too much about different free agents, but I review the thought process," Daniels said. "Some of the trades I think about. The [Matt] Garza trade [last July] cut into our available pitching depth. We traded some closer-to-the-big-league guys. You’re constantly assessing and evaluating decisions. There’s more focus now on developing our guys."

Daniels made it clear that he’s not simply moving on to 2015 and leaving 2014 behind. No, he’s not thinking about being a "seller" at a trade deadline yet, one that is still more than two months away.

"Two years ago, we were running away with the [AL West]," Daniels said.

Rangers fans can finish Daniels’ thought, as the club watched a comfortable American League West lead disappear in the final week of the 2012 season. Manager Ron Washington certainly remembers. The skipper said he doesn’t ask himself whether the injuries will ever stop.

"My concern is the guys I do have, not the ones who aren’t here," Washington said. "I don’t have time to think about that. We have to look at what’s in front of us. That’s the focus."

It’s not an easy thing to do, but that's the plan and it's one that won't change.