Brian Fuentes’ name pops up in trade speculation

It is sweltering here at Rangers Ballpark, as we expected. The forecast called for the temperature to hit triple digits, though at first pitch tonight, it was 97 degrees. Toss in some humidity and, well, I’m happy to be watching the game from an enclosed press box. …

The lineups:

A’s — Crisp CF, Weeks 2B, Reddick RF, Cespedes DH, Smith LF, Inge 3B, Moss 1B, Norris C, Pennington SS; Ross RHP.

Rangers — Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton LF, Beltre 3B, Young 1B, Cruz DH, Murphy RF, Torrealba C, Martin CF; Feldman RHP.

–Yoenis Cespedes is serving as DH for the second straight day, even though manager Bob Melvin said yesterday Cespedes would be in the outfield. I think sometimes Melvin regrets trying to be up front and honest with us, because then when he changes his mind, he’s got to explain himself. “I think we’ll rotate guys around,” Melvin said of his outfield group. He noted that with Texas pitching a lefty in Matt Harrison on Friday, Cespedes would play the outfield that day. I take that to mean Cespedes will play left field Friday, with left-handed hitting Seth Smith probably out of the lineup and Jonny Gomes at DH. Cespedes said after yesterday’s game that his hamstring felt good and that he’s OK playing the outfield, so I don’t think it’s a physical issue with him.

–The rumor mill is officially off and flying with the A’s, as Jon Heyman of cbssports.com is reporting that Oakland is looking to deal reliever Brian Fuentes. Fuentes has been viewed as a logical trade candidate most of the season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the A’s try and deal him. The tough part will be finding a taker because not only has Fuentes struggled to a 6.85 ERA this season, he’s making $5 million. That’s obviously a very steep price tag for a situational reliever who isn’t getting outs. He also has a $6.5 million club option for 2013, though that can be bought out for $500,000. Expect the A’s to have to eat a healthy portion of his salary in any deal involving Fuentes.

The veteran lefty has fallen down the A’s bullpen totem pole, with Melvin going to lefties Jerry Blevins and Sean Doolittle before him in several situations. Melvin said he’d like to work Fuentes into more low-pressure scenarios so he can have some success and get back on track. “I’d like to get him a soft landing,” the manager said.

At any rate, he’s not the only veteran who will surface in trade rumors in the coming weeks. Fellow reliever Grant Balfour, center fielder Coco Crisp, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon and catcher Kurt Suzuki are all potential trade targets. Stay tuned …

–One last note: Colon threw a bullpen session today and came out of it well. He’s on tap for another one, but Melvin said he’s unsure if the right-hander will come off the DL before the All-Star break.

Joe Stiglich