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Friday, January 21, 2011
GM talks about adding a bat off the bench

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jon Daniels wouldn't discuss anyone by name, but the general manager was asked about adding a veteran bat amid reports (including this one on of the club's continued interest in Manny Ramirez.

"One of the things we have looked at recently is a veteran hitter to complement the rest of the lineup," Daniels said. "How does that kind of guy fit in if we sign him, and we may not? It's one of those things you may not be able to perfectly define it sitting here in January, but these things have a way of working out in June, July and August. Guys get hurt, guys scuffle, things happen. That's our thought process in potentially looking at another hitter. Let's be prepared for all possibilities."

Daniels said that while the lineup is right-handed hitting heavy, it would make more sense for the veteran bat of the bench to be right-handed since that person would likely impact the outfield and first base spots in terms of playing time and most of those players are left-handed.

He said looking at the culture of the clubhouse and how a new addition might impact the chemistry of the group is part of the decision process (you can read in between the lines here).

"We've done a pretty good job of taking those things into consideration," Daniels said. "I think Wash and his staff and our veteran players have done a real good job of creating an atmosphere that guys that maybe have some baggage or a reputation from somewhere else have a chance to maybe fit in here a little bit better. I don't think it's a coincidence that Milton [Bradley] had arguably his best year to date here. There are absolutely players we don't want to bring in here and have turned down and others that we'll continue to do our due diligence on."

He added that Mitch Moreland will be given the opportunity to be the club's primary first baseman.

"Our intention is to give him every chance to be our regular first baseman," Daniels said. "Does that mean 120 games or a 150? I don't know. A lot of that is going to be up to how he performs and how Wash feels best to divvy the playing time."

But the club can protect him some against tough lefties with a veteran bat on the bench.

"I think Mitch is going to hit left-handed pitching long-term," Daniels said. "As a rookie, do you want to throw him out there to the wolves? I think you'd like to have the ability to protect him somewhat."

That means Young could play first base against the tough lefties and a right-handed bat, like Ramirez for example, could play in the DH spot in those situations. So we'll see what happens. But if someone like Ramirez comes in, the club would have to make a few changes to get him some at-bats. That likely means Young's at-bats would decrease a little and so would Moreland's. How much remains to be seen. Stay tuned.