The Rangers extended the contracts of GM Doug Melvin and Manager Johnny Oates yesterday for two years. Terms of the deals were not released.

Melvin worked with the Yankees and the Orioles before joining the Rangers in October 1994. Oates also has been with Texas since October 1994. He managed the Orioles from 1991 to 1994.

The Rangers also cleared OF Rusty Greer to play after being hit in the eye by a ball last week. He was struck by the throw during batting practice in Kansas City, breaking his nose.

GETTING HIS CHANCE: Only hours after flying into Dallas on Saturday to join the Devil Rays against the Rangers, Jimmy Morris, 35, was sitting in the bullpen and bemoaning how tired he was.

"But then I was like, `You know, it would be better to go in and get it over with and get the nervousness out of me,' because my heart was pounding," he said.

With two out in the eighth, Devil Rays Manager Larry Rothschild summoned Morris, a left-hander, to face shortstop Royce Clayton. Morris, who only four months ago was a high school baseball coach and science teacher at a West Texas high school, struck out Clayton on four fastballs. Morris is the oldest rookie since Minnie Mendoza, 38, with Minnesota in 1970 and the oldest rookie pitcher since Diomedes Olivo, 41, with Pittsburgh in 1960.

NO SALE: The deadline for the sale of the Athletics passed yesterday with the team's future still uncertain.

Oakland government officials and the current owners, Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann, have exchanged letters about the team's fate since major league baseball owners last week failed to vote on the proposed $122.4 million sale of the club to a locally based group.

Officials of the Joint Powers Authority, which oversees the publicly owned sports complex where the A's play, asked Schott and Hofmann to extend the sales deadline or promise to keep the team in Oakland until at least 2004, three years beyond their current agreement. But Schott and Hofmann said through their lawyers that they needed more time to respond to the requests.