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Thursday, October 14, 2010
Matt Treanor to start; roster, 1B undecided

By Jeff Caplan

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Treanor will catch C.J. Wilson in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series Friday night at Rangers Ballpark, his first action since Game 2 of the ALDS when Wilson was also on the mound.

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As for who will start at first base, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said that remains a topic of disussion. Against New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, Washington's choices are the right-hand hitting Jorge Cantu or lefty rookie Mitch Moreland.

Washington said he has not yet decided on which pitcher he will add to the 25-man roster, which must be completed by 10 a.m. Friday. The Rangers will drop pinch-runner Esteban German and add an 11th pitcher for the best-of-7 ALCS. The most likely candidates are lefty relievers Clay Rapada, Michael Kirkman or Matt Harrison.

As for the first-base discussion, Washington platooned Cantu and Moreland during the regular season, but he stuck with Moreland against Tampa Bay Rays lefty David Price in Game 5 of the ALDS because Moreland played in Games 2, 3 and 4 and Washington said he didn't want to go back to a cold Cantu.

Moreland has never faced Sabathia. Cantu is 1-for-12 in his career against the big lefty with four strikeouts. He did not face Sabathia this season.

"Whatever his decision is, I'll be ready either way," Moreland said. "If he calls for me being on the bench and supporting them, I'll be there. If he calls me late in the game to pinch-hit, I'll be there. If I need to run, defense, whatever, I'll be ready to go."

Moreland was 4-for-20 (.200) against left-handed pitchers during the regular season and said he feels comfortable in the box against southpaws.

"I've always felt like that was something I could do. I've never doubted myself vs. a lefty or felt uncomfortable against a lefty. I've always tried to stick with my game plan and I felt like if I did that -- lefty, right, whomever -- that I would be all right."

Behind the plate, Treanor hasn't played since last Thursday in the Rangers' 6-0 win. He had one of the stranger postseason games in that he was hit in the back by Rays starter James Shields on consecutive lead-off at-bats and both innings results in runs. Treanor has become something of C.J. Wilson's personal catcher. Bengie Molina is expected to start Game 2.

"C.J. is a guy that has a lot of movement on his pitches and throws a lot of breaking balls and Treanor is very good with balls in the dirt and he also calls a a pretty good game," Washington said. "The times he's caught C.J., he's done a good job of getting him through the innings. I want to have him to be a part of this, also, and the one opportunity I give him is with C.J."