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Daily Dose: Rangers sticking with Davis

General manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the Rangers will stick with Chris Davis and Derek Holland despite their respective struggles. Davis is batting just .204 with an MLB-high 94 strikeouts in 206 at-bats, putting him on pace to break Mark Reynolds’ single-season record of 204 with plenty of room to spare, but will get a chance to right the ship because Daniels doesn’t want to “bail on him.”

Davis was never a good bet to hit .285 again, but striking out in 46 percent of his at-bats is absurd even for his standards and he almost can’t help but make more contact going forward. If the Rangers truly stick with him, Davis should be able to hit .250 or so with 15-20 homers over the final 100 games. He’s batting .375 with 12 homers and nine doubles in 112 at-bats when he actually makes contact.

Daniels’ decision to stay with Holland is perhaps more surprising, because unlike Davis he’s yet to experience any success in the majors. Holland has a 6.63 ERA over 36.2 innings split between the rotation and bullpen, but Daniels said that the plan is to “let Derek pitch every fifth day and give him a chance to improve.” He’s a strong long-term prospect, but may not be quite ready to thrive at 22 years old.

While the Rangers utilize their spot atop the AL West to show patience, here are some other notes from around baseball ...

* John Smoltz’s final rehab start will come Wednesday at Triple-A and he’s set to join the Red Sox’s rotation next Thursday versus the Nationals. There have been tons of rumors about Boston shopping Brad Penny to make room for Smoltz, but the Red Sox announced Tuesday that they’ll put off the difficult decision by going with a six-man rotation for now.

* David Ortiz went deep again Tuesday and narrowly missed a second homer as he drove in a season-high three runs. Ortiz hit .185 while homering once through the May, but has gone deep four times in 36 at-bats this month while bringing his OPS up from .570 to .663. His season totals are still going to be ugly, but Ortiz is definitely showing some serious signs of life again.

* For now at least Dontrelle Willis remains in the Tigers’ rotation despite his 6.60 ERA, but manager Jim Leyland announced Tuesday that his next scheduled start will be skipped. Willis has allowed 28 runs on 37 hits and 28 walks in 34 innings, including handing out eight free passes in his last outing, and Zach Miner will get the call against the Brewers this weekend.

* Ervin Santana was scratched from his Tuesday start with a sore forearm, but is hoping to avoid the disabled list after an MRI exam cleared him of any structural damage. Sean O’Sullivan pitched very well in Santana’s place versus the Giants and will likely stick in the rotation for however long he’s sidelined. Meanwhile, the plan to replace Scot Shields with Kelvim Escobar has been put on hold for now.

AL Quick Hits: Torii Hunter (ribs) is planning to rejoin the lineup Wednesday after losing a battle with the still-unbeaten outfield wall ... Travis Hafner homered and drove in three runs Tuesday for the second straight game ... Robinson Cano and Joe Mauer both had 4-for-4 nights Tuesday ... Roy Halladay (groin) played catch Tuesday and is still hoping to make his next scheduled start ... Denard Span remained sidelined Tuesday by an inner-ear infection, but the Twins got Michael Cuddyer, Joe Crede, and Glen Perkins back ... Felix Hernandez tossed a two-hit shutout Tuesday in San Diego ... Kenji Johjima (toe) is set to begin a rehab stint at Triple-A this weekend ... Gil Meche threw shutout ball for the second straight start Tuesday, this time with a complete game ... Carlos Quentin (foot) jogged and took batting practice Tuesday, but remains weeks from returning ... Frank Francisco (shoulder) reported no problems following a bullpen session Tuesday.

NL Quick Hits: Ivan Rodriguez homered Tuesday while tying Carlton Fisk for the all-time record in games caught ... Johan Santana refuted former pitching coach Rick Peterson’s claim that his surgically repaired knee remains an issue ... Willy Taveras finally snapped his 0-for-32 streak Tuesday, but Emmanuel Burriss and his 0-for-27 were sent back to Triple-A ... Chris Volstad was knocked around for eight runs Tuesday and has served up the third-most homers in the NL ... Casey Kotchman came off the disabled list Tuesday, with Daily Dose favorite Barbaro Canizares heading back to Triple-A ... Brad Lidge (knee) reported no problems following a bullpen session Tuesday ... Chris Young looks DL bound with a sore shoulder after failing to make it out of the third inning Sunday ... Brandon Webb (shoulder) has a bullpen session Friday and hopes to return around the All-Star break ...Edinson Volquez (elbow) threw from 110 feet Tuesday, but isn’t close.