Saturday, March 31, 2012
Julio Borbon wants to finish strong
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers outfielder Julio Borbon doesn't want to let one memorable play -- or the inability to make that play -- define his spring.
Julio Borbon has had some hiccups in what has been a relatively solid spring, but is focused on doing the little things better.
Those at Surprise Stadium, plus fans watching back in Texas, saw manager Ron Washington's animated chat with Borbon after the outfielder couldn't get a squeeze bunt down late in a game a few days ago. Borbon had two chances to put the bunt down and wasn't able to do the job. Washington's comments afterward showed his frustration.
But Borbon chalked it up to another lesson learned in his career. The 26-year-old knows he can't control what the club does with the final roster spots the next five days, but he can control playing better and trying to do the little things better.
"Decisions have to be made and I'll be understanding, whether they go one way or the other," Borbon said. "I just want to finish strong. I started that way and I think that can help me finish that way, too."
Borbon came into spring knowing that a good performance could earn him a spot on the 25-man roster. He played all of winter ball, and after an average regular season, Borbon played well in the winter ball playoffs. He came into spring in a groove and continued it with good at-bats and solid play in the outfield, where outfield coach Gary Pettis said he saw improvement.
But not unlike last spring, Borbon has still had some moments where he wasn't able to execute. He wasn't in the on-deck circle on time in a game near the end of spring last year and had some error-filled games. Overall, Borbon's 2012 spring has been much better, but he knows he must cut down on the mental mistakes and make sure he's able to do what's asked of him in critical situations (like the squeeze bunt).
"Sometimes, coming into the game as I have the last week or so without starting, it gets me to appreciate what it takes to come off the bench," Borbon said. "I'm not used to that. Even when you're aware of the game while you're on the bench you can get distracted by it, depending on the pace of the game. You have to focus on every step. Not just staring at the game, but staying with it.
"I've found myself a couple of times, depending on the score, not doing that enough. I need to re-group and focus on that better. Sometimes you might come into the game late and not expect to get an at-bat, but things change and you do. You have to be prepared."
He said his Wednesday night miscue was a reminder of that.
"I'm not looking for excuses," Borbon said. "I just want to get better, and for me I think that's focusing on every little thing I'm doing, whether it's late in a spring training game or in the regular season or whatever."
Borbon said he anaylzed what he did wrong and has done his best to move on. He notes that he's made some good plays this spring and done some things well and doesn't want to just think of only that one play.
"I know I can make that play," Borbon said. "I know I have to, but I'm not sitting here wondering if I can. I've done it many times and I know I can do it. The next time, I'm going to execute it as I've done before."
The outfield bench spot remains a decision looming for the Rangers, who must have the roster set Wednesday morning. It's possible that both Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon make the club. It's also possible that another bench player comes in a late-spring trade. The team is still looking for right-handed outfielders.