MLB notes: Rangers have an eye on Oswalt

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt (L) speaks to umpire Angel Hernandez during the...

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt (L) speaks to umpire Angel Hernandez during the fifth inning of Game 4 of their MLB National League Divisional Series baseball playoffs against St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis, October 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Sarah Conard)

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, Last Updated: 7:29 PM ET

As they rework their rotation, the AL champion Texas Rangers are making a pitch for veteran Roy Oswalt as well as continuing to negotiate with Japanese ace Yu Darvish.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan told reporters he was confident the team would sign Darvish by next Wednesday's deadline.

"My expectation is that we'll get something done," Ryan said.

Also on the radar is Oswalt, 34, who has spent most of his 11-year MLB career with the Houston Astros but most recently with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Dallas Morning News first reported the Rangers had reached out to Oswalt, who went 9-10 with a 3.69 earned-run average last season.

The Rangers paid a posting fee of $52.7 million to Darvish's Japanese team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, for negotiation rights. They have until 5 p.m. ET next Wednesday to sign Darvish or he will return to Japan.

RANGERS TALK WITH FIELDER

The Texas Rangers met with free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder at a Dallas hotel Friday, USA Today reported.

A number of teams seemingly have moved in and out of the sweepstakes for the former Milwaukee Brewers slugger, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners.

The Nationals were considered front-runners until recently when team executives became concerned about the 275-pound Fielder being a viable first baseman for years to come. In Texas, Fielder could become a designated hitter eventually.

KENDRICK, PHILS MAKE DEAL

The Philadelphia Phillies signed Kyle Kendrick to a one-year deal Friday, avoiding salary arbitration and offering depth to their star-studded rotation.

Kendrick, who will likely start the season in the bullpen, will make $3.58 million, according to the Philadelphia News.

The Phillies have a jam-packed rotation that features Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Vance Worley. But Kendrick made 15 starts last year when Blanton and Roy Oswalt battled injuries. Kendrick went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 34 appearances.

EPSTEIN TAKES ON CURSE

Theo Epstein told about 100 elementary school students in Chicago that he believes the Cubs can overcome the Billy Goat Curse, the Tribune reported Friday.

"We can break it, if we stick together, if we have a plan, if we support each other, if we keep focused on what's best as a team, and not what's best for the individual, if we work really hard, if we prepare really hard, someday we can turn this thing around, and yeah, we can win," Epstein said of the Cubs, who haven't won a World Series in 103 years.

The Cubs expect their new president of baseball operations to do in Chicago what he did in Boston in 2004, ending the Curse of the Bambino and helping the Red Sox end an 86-year title drought.

William Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, cursed the Cubs in 1945 when he wasn't allowed to bring his pet goat, Murphy, into Wrigley Field for a World Series game.

BRIEFLY

Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was questioned by Chicago police for seven hours Thursday night and into Friday morning over allegations of sexual assault, ESPNChicago.com reported. A woman accused Castro, 21, of sexual assault last fall, but no charges have been filed ... Third baseman Chipper Jones, who will turn 40 in April, has dropped about 10 pounds to about 222, hoping to lighten the stress on his surgically repaired knees, particularly the right one, which required mid-season arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus ... The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms with veteran free-agent shortstop Jack Wilson on a one-year, $1-million contract. Wilson played 17 games with the Braves last season after arriving in a trade with the Seattle Mariners ... The Braves and Martin Prado have avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year, $4.75-million contract. The infielder/outfielder hit .260 last season with 13 homers and 57 RBI.


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