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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Notes: Geovany Soto motivated to improve


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto knows that his job is to back up starter A.J. Pierzynski. He's committed to doing that the best way he can.

Geovany Soto
Geovany Soto said he spent the offseason really working on his swing.
"We have a good team and our goal is to win the World Series," Soto said. "I want to do everything I can to help us win. Anything I have to do, I'll do."

The 30-year-old knows that he hasn't performed at the plate like to his capabilities. He hit .196 with the Rangers in 2012 and .228 with the Chicago Cubs in 2011. But it's not as if he hasn't hit well before, batting .280 as recently as 2010.

"I can do it, but I think in the past I haven't worked on my swing in the offseason the way I should have," Soto said. "This offseason I really worked at getting it consistent and figuring things out. I feel good."

Soto is also going to spend the spring on his footwork and making better throws to second base. The Rangers as a whole didn't do a good job against runners and manager Ron Washington said it's the responsibility of everybody -- pitchers and catchers -- to do a better job there.

Soto looked around the clubhouse Wednesday and saw plenty of unfamiliar faces. He plans on catching as many bullpen sessions as he can and talking with guys to begin the process of learning all the new pitchers.

PODCAST
The Rangers are in full training mode in Surprise, Ariz. Ben and Skin discuss which players are key, who needs to step up and more.

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Other notes:

* Washington spoke briefly to the pitchers and catchers before the first workout. He told them to work hard and stay healthy. And he stressed the importance of fielding practice and making the little plays.

"No part of the game can be taken for granted," Washington said.

* Many players also took physicals Wednesday and more will later this week with the position players due to report Friday. There are a handful of them already here, and Adrian Beltre joined that list. Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Mike Olt, Craig Gentry, Engel Beltre and others are in camp and working in the batting cages with hitting coach Dave Magadan.

* Yu Darvish is scheduled to throw a light bullpen today and will likely speak to the media for the first time this spring. There's a noticeable difference in the level of coverage compared with 2012. Only 10 or so Japanese reporters are on hand. There had to be 80 or more at this time last spring.