ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – It’s August and the Texas Rangers once again are thinking about next season.

“The unfortunate thing is that I’ve been here three years and it seems like that at the end of three years, we’re right where we started,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said Tuesday before the start of a 10-game homestand.

When the Rangers left for their longest trip of the season two weeks ago, they had a winning record and still were in the chase for the AL wild card. A 1-12 trip, the worst in team history, pretty much knocked them out of contention with six weeks to go.

“We want to win,” shortstop Michael Young said. “The last thing we want to do every August is think about next year. … We want to win right now.”

Manager Buck Showalter had dinner Monday night with owner Tom Hicks and general manager John Hart. He said they had a good meal and a lengthy discussion about the team, though he wouldn’t go into details about what was said. “It wasn’t like going to the principal’s office,” Showalter said. “It was a conversation about the Rangers. Tom is a good man with a good heart, a pure heart for the Rangers.”

Hart wasn’t at the Rangers game on Tuesday night against Seattle. He was in Frisco watching the team’s Double-A team, looking at players who could be called up when active rosters expand Sept. 1.

At this point a year ago, the Rangers were just a half-game out of first place in the AL West. They remained in contention until the final week of the regular season and finished just three games out of first.

Last year’s third-place finish behind the Angels and Oakland marked the first time Texas wasn’t last since 1999, when the Rangers won their third division title in four seasons.

Instead of trying to reach their goal of getting into the playoffs this season, the Rangers are now trying to avoid last place again.

Seattle is at the bottom of the AL West standings, but started the series just four games behind the sinking Rangers.

During their trip, the Rangers were swept in series against Boston, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay. Their only victory came in the middle of a three-game series at Cleveland.

“It was the most miserable part of any time I’ve been here,” Young said.

“I’ve never been more unhappy as a Ranger than the last two weeks,” Teixeira said. “Nothing’s going right. A lot of things are going on, and none of them are positive.”

AP-ES-08-23-05 2009EDT


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