Spring cleaning: OF, Utility INF, Bullpen
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's yet another night game in Surprise for the Rangers, so that means players won't be arriving in the clubhouse until after lunch. So while we wait for that, here are a few thoughts:
* My bet is that the Rangers' utility infielder is still in camp. The club has kept an eye on other outside options, but so far it's between Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Hernandez. Both can play shortstop, a prerequisite to the job. Gonzalez had a good game Wednesday, collecting a couple of hits and nearly hitting a grand slam. He made all the defensive plays he needed to at short. Both players will get some more chances as spring winds down.
* The Rangers continue to search for a right-handed outfield bat for the bench. Craig Gentry could certainly still make this roster, but the club is looking at all options to give manager Ron Washington as much flexibility as possible with his roster. This is the time when clubs are finalizing their rosters and looking at options. It's possible that both Julio Borbon and Gentry make it, but we'll see.
* Some clubs have called the Rangers about bullpen pieces. Texas has four spots locked up: Scott Feldman, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan. In a seven-man pen, that leaves three spots. One of those could be a left-handed role, with Robbie Ross, Neal Cotts and Michael Kirkman still in camp. Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe and Yoshinori Tateyama remain in the mix. But the Rangers do have extra arms, so if they wanted to make a move they could (Uehara and Lowe can be free agents after the season). They could trade either Uehara or Lowe or send Tateyama to the minors (he has an option left). Or they could keep all three and go without a left-handed reliever.
* As long as Neftali Feliz has a good bullpen session today and reports no issues with his stiff shoulder, the club is expected to announce the rotation this afternoon. The likely lineup: Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Feliz (probably in that order as well). That puts Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman in the bullpen.
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.