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Deal for Teixeira may be held up by third player

Times Staff Writers

Though there is an outside chance they could acquire Chicago White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, it appears to be Mark Teixeira or bust for the Angels, who, according to baseball sources, were rebuffed in their attempts to pry Paul Konerko from the White Sox and have all but given up their pursuit of Cincinnati slugger Adam Dunn.

The Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox are also pursuing Teixeira, the Texas first baseman who in 75 games is batting .299 with 13 home runs and 49 runs batted in, and the Rangers are in the process of leveraging each team against the other in an attempt to drive up the offers for the switch-hitter.

Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman would be part of any package to acquire Teixeira, and the Rangers, who had zeroed in on Ervin Santana before the struggling right-hander was demoted to triple-A Salt Lake on July 18, are believed to be comfortable with left-hander Joe Saunders as part of a deal.

But the Rangers want a third player and are scouring the Angels’ farm system to determine who to ask for. If Texas wants one of the Angels’ elite prospects, such as third baseman Brandon Wood or double-A pitcher Nick Adenhart, trade talks would fizzle. But if Texas would accept a lesser prospect, a deal would be more likely.

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The Rangers are also believed to be interested in outfielders Reggie Willits, Nathan Haynes or Terry Evans as the third player in the deal.

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What was the downside of losing Santana and Bartolo Colon from the Angels’ rotation again?

The rotation has posted a 45-32 record and 4.17 earned-run average including the efforts of the struggling duo, while going 34-15 with a 3.07 ERA minus their contributions. Santana and Colon combined to go 11-17 with a 6.44 ERA.

“I don’t think it’s a weakness at all right now,” pitching coach Mike Butcher said of the rotation. “It’s unfortunate that Bartolo’s down right now. That’s an impact to us, but I think overall the four guys we have in the rotation right now are going to do a nice job.”

Saunders, who took Santana’s spot last week and pitched seven strong innings in a victory over Minnesota, is 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts. And reliever Dustin Moseley, who could take Colon’s spot after the right-hander went on the disabled list Tuesday because of irritation in his pitching elbow, pitched effectively in two starts in April.

“It seems like all year we’ve had young guys kind of stepping up and helping out,” Moseley said.

Of course, the Angels would prefer that Santana and Colon were pitching at their pre-2007 levels. Colon won an American League-high 21 games in 2005 en route to the Cy Young Award, and Santana won a combined 28 games his first two seasons in the major leagues.

“I think it’s gone from where we had depth to where now there are some things we have to look at,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of the rotation, “but I think we’re going to have a rotation emerge that still is going to be championship-caliber and is still going to be the type of rotation that is going to give you a chance to win every time that you take the field. That’s all you can hope for.”

Santana is scheduled to pitch for Salt Lake tonight and could rejoin the Angels next week if he continues to show improvement. He gave up two hits and one run in seven innings in his first minor league start Sunday.

“Right now he’s getting his confidence back and is working on some things,” Butcher said. “We’re going to take it one step at a time with him and deal with what we have right here for right now.”

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Roland Flores, 22, of La Puente was released on $500 bail after being arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assault and battery in connection with an incident in which he allegedly pelted Oakland designated hitter Mike Piazza with a water bottle while Piazza stood in the on-deck circle at Angel Stadium. The case is being reviewed and charges could be filed, said Sgt. Rick Martinez of the Anaheim Police Dept.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

ben.bolch@latimes.com


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