ARLINGTON -- Having displaced the Angels, three-time defending champions, as American League West kingpins, the Rangers have taken flight this season with a variety of imports -- including former Angels Vladimir Guerrero and Darren Oliver, who enriched the cast as winter free-agent acquisitions.
The Rangers didn't stop there. They kept infusing their roster with home improvements, most notably southpaw Cliff Lee, who became their instant ace, and catcher Bengie Molina, yet another former Los Angeles performer.
"They made some moves all the way through the season," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "As the season went on, their club became deeper and deeper. As the winter goes on, it remains to be seen [what they will do]. We have enough on our plate not to concern ourselves with other clubs. They've got a deep club and benefited from it."
Scioscia said he planned to congratulate Ron Washington, who came up in the Dodgers' system with him, on his triumph this season and included Washington among a collection of worthy Manager of the Year candidates.
"A lot of teams have come together this season, and a lot of guys have done an unbelievable job," Scioscia said, putting Washington in that category along with two of his former coaches -- Joe Maddon and Bud Black -- and the likes of Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Joe Girardi and Bobby Cox.
Weaver gets final start; Haren in flux for finale
ARLINGTON -- Jered Weaver will make his final start of the season, as scheduled, on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark, but it has not been determined if Dan Haren will work the season finale on Sunday.
"He'll be out there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Weaver, who would be a leading candidate for Hard-Luck Pitcher of the Year if such an award existed. "Dan threw a bullpen and felt good. We'll see where we are on Sunday. He's got a lot of innings under his belt, that's for sure."
Haren has worked 222 total innings, including 88 in 13 starts for the Angels since his arrival from the D-backs. He's 4-4 since returning to the American League, but he has yielded three or fewer earned runs in each of his past seven starts, spanning 47 innings. Overall, Haren is 11-12 with a 3.93 ERA in 33 outings, with 203 strikeouts in those 222 frames.
Weaver is 13-12 in 32 starts, going 217 innings and striking out 229 hitters. He has a shot at the Majors' strikeout lead, trailing Felix Hernandez by three and Tim Lincecum by two. The Mariners shut Hernandez down for the season, and Lincecum likely is done with the Giants closing in on the National League West title.
Reflective of the tenor of his season, Weaver is 2-3 in his past six starts while allowing 11 earned runs in 43 1/3 innings -- a 2.28 ERA. His season ERA is 3.02.
Haren ranks seventh in the Major Leagues in innings pitched. Weaver sits 11th, one spot ahead of Saturday starter Ervin Santana, who has thrown 216 1/3 innings.
Aybar has to laugh off unfortunate foul location
ARLINGTON -- Appearing as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Thursday's 3-2 loss at Rangers Ballpark, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar had an at-bat he'd like to forget against Darren O'Day, the Rangers' sidearmer who once pitched for the Angels.
Taking a swing at a pitch moving in on him, Aybar foul-tipped the ball off a part of his anatomy around the midsection that left him in obvious pain. Gathering his breath, and his senses, Aybar continued the at-bat, ultimately flying out to left field.
Reaching the dugout, he was met by hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, who had a few words through a knowing smile.
"Man, you hate it when something like that happens," said right fielder Torii Hunter. "It's a tough game, man. Sometimes it's really tough."
Aybar recently returned to active duty after undergoing an MRI that revealed a suspected sports hernia. No surgery was required. In June, Aybar damaged his left meniscus in a collision at second base.
"I haven't had much luck this season," he said.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.