Pregame notes: Too early to call this Rangers series crucial? Not to Melvin

Covering all week here in beautiful, balmy Texas for John Hickey. I have yet to run over an armadillo in my rental car, but it’s a long week …

Asked Bob Melvin before the game if this was a good time to be coming into Texas, even without Josh Reddick and Brett Anderson. He got one of those pained looks on his face like he just got stabbed by an old catching injury.

“They’re playing pretty well,” he said of the Rangers. “You look across the board and one the things I look at is who’s hot and who’s not. And I don’t see a lot of nots. They’ve swung the bat very well and there’s a reason they have the record they do. They’re third in pitching in this ballpark and then on top of that, there’s that offense (2nd in hitting, first in homers). So I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to come in here.”

The A’s trail the Rangers by 13 games in late June last year yet rallied to win the division. So is Melvin fretting about a paltry 6 1/2-game deficit? You bet he is.

“Whenever a team takes the kind of lead they have in our division, certainly it’s a concern,” he said. “You don’t want anybody getting out there 10-11 games this early in the season where you always feel like you’re playing catch-up.”

Other quickies:

–Josh Reddick (wrist) remained in Oakland and has been hitting off a tee there. He’ll rejoin the club in Houston Friday and take batting practice. If that goes well, he’ll go on a rehab assignment.

–John Jaso (shin) is still sore from being hit in the leg and can’t yet get into his crouch comfortably. He’s able to come off the bench to hit, and Melvin hopes he’ll be ready to catch Tuesday.

–Grant Balfour was interviewed on the MLB Channel’s Intentional Talk and players were gathered around a TV in the clubhouse waiting to see if Balfour would slip and drop a swear word on TV. He did — the S word — to howls of laughter. Said Melvin, “Close, but at least he didn’t use the word he uses the most. He’s got one particular word he can conjugate.”

–RHP Chris Resop cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Sacramento.

Carl Steward