The Texas Rangers will appoint either Jim Leyland or Doug Rader manager, maybe as early as today, while AL champion Milwaukee is set for 1983 with Harvey Kuenn off "interim" status and on a one-year contract announced yesterday.

Joe Klein, Rangers' general manager, dropped Bobby Valentine, New York Mets staffer with no managing experience, off his list--while terming him a sure-fire major league manager "within three years." So Texas will go with either Rader, three years manager at AAA Hawaii, or Leyland, Chicago White Sox third base coach previously quite successful in 11 years managing in the minors.

The Brewers evidently offered Kuenn a two-year deal--G.M. Harry Dalton saying the hometown guy had been "just what the doctor ordered" in taking over a 23-24 club and guiding it on a 72-43 pennant drive. Dalton said, speaking of doctor's orders, the only hesitation over Kuenn "was his health, and the medical people said he could come back."

Said Kuenn, survivor of coronary and kidney crises and a leg amputation: "I'm not going to say I never felt stress. When you saw me sitting on my hands, it was because I didn't want to shake in front of everybody. But I felt good all year, except for the seventh game of the World Series . . .

"After next year, we can look further . . . I wouldn't want to tie the club down for two years. And maybe I wouldn't want to stay."