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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Spring cleaning: Bench

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- We continue our spring cleaning by looking at that final spot on the roster.

Spring cleaning: Bench

On a team with so many players returning to their usual roles, there aren't many spots up for grabs. But a spot on the bench is open.

The Rangers need a utility infielder and manager Ron Washington has said he wants someone who can play shortstop.

That's why Yangervis Solarte was sent to minor league camp Tuesday. He was hitting the ball well and playing well, but he can't play shortstop. The 24-year-old will spend time playing second, third and shortstop in minor league camp.

So that leaves Luis Hernandez, Alberto Gonzalez and Greg Miclat to fight for the spot. Washington has worked with all three of them and said Monday that there is no leader right now. It's one of those decisions that will come down to the final week.

All three players a nonroster invitees hoping to prove they belong on the roster. Look for all three to get some more meaningful time at short in the coming games as the team tries to make a decision.

Does this mean that it's definitely someone in camp? No. Other infielders could be released by other clubs the final week of the season, which could increase the Rangers' pool of candidates. But all three players have been pretty solid this spring, so I'm not sure there will be better options available.

Stay tuned.