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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Notes: Brad Hawpe to DH both games

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers don't have many open spots left on the Opening Day roster. But they do need to figure out the final bench spot.

They'll have the backup catcher (Yorvit Torrealba), the utility infielder (up for grabs) and the fourth outfielder (we'll call that David Murphy for now). That leaves one slot open. It appears that's down to keeping two center fielders (Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon) or going with Brad Hawpe or Conor Jackson.

Hawpe and Jackson have work to do if they want to claim that spot. Neither has jumped out and seized it.

"I know they can hit, we just have to see them swing the bat," manager Ron Washington said.

Hawpe has dealt with minor injuries this spring and because of that will play in both games today. Washington asked Hawpe if he wanted the additional at-bats and Hawpe agreed. He could also get some action in minor league games to get more at-bats.

Washington acknowledged that it was a "possibility" the club could keep an additional center fielder on the bench.

Other notes:

* Washington said the decision to pitch Alexi Ogando in the Cactus League game Friday night and Derek Holland in a minor league game was mainly so the club could stretch out Holland exactly the way they want to. He's scheduled to throw 75 pitches and could do that in five or six innings, depending on how things go. The other benefit is to keep Ogando stretched out and allow him to face big league hitters. Washington isn't concerned about Feliz's shoulder.

* Yorvit Torrealba will catch the night game in Goodyear, with Mike Napoli handling the duties at home this afternoon against the Cubs.

* Matt Harrison is not expected to start Saturday's game against the Angels. It's likely he'll also pitch in a minor league game, which means that for the next three days the Rangers could have starters in the Cactus League games that won't likely be in the five-man rotation when the season starts.