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Sunday, September 18, 2011
Craig Gentry giving Rangers a spark

By Terry Blount

SEATTLE -- Want to know how fast Craig Gentry is?

He hit a routine chopper right to Seattle first baseman Mike Carp in the fourth inning when Carp was only 10 feet from the bag. But when Carp looked up after leisurely fielding the grounder, his eyes were as big as boulders on Mount Rainier.

Carp saw Gentry zooming down the line, soon to reach the bag. So Carp ran quickly to first and jumped like a kangaroo to stomp the bag a half step before Gentry.

Carp won’t make that mistake again, nor will anyone else who has seen Gentry run.

"I’m a speed guy and an on-base guy," Gentry said before Saturday’s game. "So when I’m in there I want to do whatever I can to score runs. I want to do whatever I can to get things going for the team. I always want to be aggressive on the bases and do whatever I can to give our team an edge."

Gentry’s amazing speed is something to see. The 27-year-old outfielder also is getting it done at the plate.

He started in center field Saturday and singled to left in his first at-bat to bring home the first run of the game for the Rangers. It was his fourth RBI in his last four games.

Gentry realizes his starting assignments won’t happen often, if at all, if the Rangers makes the playoffs. But he’s thankful to get in some on-field action for now.

"It’s always good to get some playing time so you feel comfortable and have confidence in yourself," Gentry said before Saturday’s game. "Not playing for a long time, you feel a little rusty out there."

Gentry speed makes it easier for him to get to line drives in the gaps, but he doesn’t feel pressure to take charge on every fly ball when he has Josh Hamilton and David Murphy or Nelson Cruz in the outfield with him.

"It’s comforting to me knowing when I look to my right and my left I have outstanding outfielders there," Gentry said. "It makes this team that much better. Having those guys out there you don’t feel like you have to get everything. You know they can pick you up because they’re all great outfielders."