Surprise positional outlook: Bench
We'll make a few assumptions as we start discussing the bench. One is that the starting outfield is Josh Hamilton, Craig Gentry and Nelson Cruz. There are no guarantees on anything, but Gentry will be given a chance to earn the job and at this point, we'll slot him there.
That leaves David Murphy as the next outfielder on the list (and someone we discussed in our left field outlook earlier this week) and puts the fifth outfield spot up for grabs. Julio Borbon, Leonys Martin and Brad Hawpe will be in camp. Martin, just like Engel Beltre, probably isn't ready for the big leagues quite yet. He hit the ball very well in Double-A last year, but then struggled at Triple-A. He's worked hard this offseason on several facets of his game and we'll see what he's got in Surprise.
|RANGERS POSITION OUTLOOK|
| Jan. 23: Catcher |
Jan. 24: First base
Jan. 25: Second base
Jan. 26: Third base
Jan. 27: Shortstop
Jan. 30: Left field
Jan. 31: Center field
Feb. 1: Right field
Feb. 2: DH/Utility
Feb. 3: Bench
Feb. 6: No. 1 starter
Feb. 7: No. 2 starter
Feb. 8: No. 3 starter
Feb. 9: No. 4 starter
Feb. 10: No. 5 starter
Feb. 13: Middle/long relief
Feb. 14: Late-inning relief
Feb. 15: Coaches
Feb. 16: Manager
Feb. 17: Front office
The club is still in the market for a utility player that can handle shortstop. So that's likely a bench spot there. Luis Hernandez was signed to a minor league deal and can play short, so he'll get a look. Others will trickle in as well (similar to what the club did in 2010 before deciding on Andres Blanco).
And as we discussed in our Surprise positional outlook opener, Yorvit Torrealba comes in as the backup catcher. But he'll get plenty of playing time in the heat and both Napoli and Torrealba could be in the lineup at the same time some, as well, something we saw in 2011.
So we'll see how it all shakes out. The utility infield spot and how the Rangers handle the final outfield spot in forming their bench will be interesting this spring.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.