SURPRISE, Ariz. -- This is infielder Adam Rosales' first spring training with the Texas Rangers. That means it's also his first time heading to the back fields for early-morning sessions with manager Ron Washington and special assistant coach Tony Fernandez, who won four consecutive Gold Gloves in the late 1980s.
"They are awesome," said Rosales, a utility infielder who bounced between the Rangers and A's a few times last season. "They get the blood flowing and set the tone for the rest of the day. There's so much information that he [Washington] has and Tony has about the small, intricacies of fielding, especially the middle infield. Every day I'm learning."
Those "intricacies" that Rosales is talking about include tricks to being sure you're in the right position to make a play. Fernandez stresses balance, and works on showing players the right footwork to achieve it. All of it is designed to turn double plays quicker and get to ground balls faster.
"The game is all about inches and any way you can get that edge is what they're stressing," Rosales said.
But it's how Washington presents that information and teaches players that separates him from other instructors.
"He has so much enthusiasm and passion," Rosales said. "His knowledge, his wisdom and how he conveys it are amazing. He makes you feel like a Gold Glover out there. He gives you confidence. He's a great teacher."