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Joaquin Arias ready for his chance

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Joaquin Arias' chances to make the Rangers' squad improved in the last 24 hours.

He didn't know it when he spoke with reporters Monday morning, but Khalil Greene's decision not to report to camp moves Arias "up the pecking order," as manager Ron Washington said.

The club will look at internal and external options as part of trying to fill Greene's spot. But Arias finds himself high on that internal list. Now he just has to go out and show that his arm and shoulder are good and that he can handle the shortstop position.

"I don't want to play in Oklahoma again," said Arias, referring to Triple-A Oklahoma City. "I want to play in the big leagues. It's my time."

Arias, who is out of options, said he's pleased with how he performed in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Daniels called Arias "a catalyst" for his team, noting that he played every day at shortstop and hit in the 2-hole. Arias hit .296 with 11 RBIs and six stolen bases in 27 games (98 at-bats). He hit .266 with five homers and 52 RBIs for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. He also stole 24 bases and had 14 doubles (in 504 at-bats).

Daniels said Arias' arm "has improved from where it had been the past couple of years." But Daniels added that Arias had a "7 arm on a 2-8 grade" and isn't sure it's at that point.

"He’s in a better position now to be considreed for this job than he’s been the last two years," Daniels said. "That’s what spring training is for. Joaquin’s going to be given a chance to compete for the job, but he’s going to have to go out and win it. We’ll also be looking at options externally."

Washington said the ability to play shortstop is most important in the utility candidate. He wants Elvis Andrus to play 146 to 150 games this season.