Monday, February 27, 2012
Texas skipper works with utility infielders
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has already spent time with most of the club's utility infield candidates.
Washington was on the back field on Sunday with Alberto Gonzalez, who participated in the manager's 12-minute set of drills.
"He looked good as we started," Washington said. "But I killed his legs. It was just the first day. He'll get used to it."
Washington put Luis Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte through the paces a few days ago. The only one he hasn't worked with yet is Greg Miclat, but that day is coming soon.
Utility infield is one of the few open positions in camp and Washington, an infielder in the big leagues and someone who still loves coaching infielders, wants to be sure he sees all of them up close.
Hernandez, 27, played 17 games with the New York Mets in 2011 (44 at-bats) and has 120 games in the majors in his career. Gonzalez, 28, has 378 major league games to his name, including 102 of them in 2011 for San Diego. He hit just .215, but played in 46 regular season games in the Venezuelan Winter League, batting .253 with four homers and 16 RBIs, so he comes to spring training with some confidence. Miclat, 24, was aquired in a trade with Baltimore as the player to be named later from the Taylor Teagarden deal. He's never played in the big leagues and this is his first big league spring training. He hit .280 with two homers and 24 RBIs in Double-A last season. Solarte, 24, hit .317 in 32 games in Venezuela this winter after playing in Double-A in 2011.
Washington would prefer a utility infielder who can play shortstop, though he isn't afraid to use Michael Young there if needed. We'll see which of these candidates steps up in the coming weeks.