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Loose Rangers ready to 'claw' for title

Updated: October 27, 2010, 11:38 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Halfway through batting practice Tuesday, almost all the Rangers' hitters had big, white splotches on their deep-red practice jerseys. The reason: On the eve of the World Series, they were attacking one another with a rosin bag.

Michael Young sneaked up behind Elvis Andrus, who was getting ready to hit, and slammed the rosin bag into the middle of his teammate's back. Everybody broke out laughing. Josh Hamilton launched the bag over the top of the batting cage and bounced it at the feet of trainer Jamie Reed. Then Hamilton picked it up and walked over to Nelson Cruz and dusted him all over his back with the bag; all the Rangers were cracking up.

"Let's keep it clean," Cruz yelled, in a flat, admonishing tone.

"Yeah, listen to the voice of reason," said hitting coach Clint Hurdle, mocking Cruz, who is known for his sense of humor.

The Rangers have had an excellent collective outlook all year, having fun as they do their work. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur said that as soon as he saw his teammates flash the antlers and claws in the first innings of the team's Division Series against Tampa Bay, he knew that their success would continue; he knew that Texas players would continue to be relaxed and confident.

The Rangers will win or lose this series. But they look absolutely comfortable on the stage.

Notables

• It may mean nothing, it may mean something: C.J. Wilson, who is slated to start Games 2 and 6 in San Francisco, looks to be able to flat-out rake at the plate.

Wilson was blistering line drives through the middle in his batting practice rounds, then muscled up a bit with his later swings and began mashing the ball to right-center field.

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