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March 11, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Richard Durrett

Richard Durrett
  (3:13 PM)

Hello, everyone. Sorry for my late arrival. I'm busy packing for Surprise. I'll be there for a few weeks starting Friday.

Keanu (Honolulu)

Hi Richard, is Harden hurt already? His velocity seemed down.

Richard Durrett
  (3:14 PM)

I don't think so. It's too early to say if the shoulder is impact Harden's velocity or not. He's building up arm strength and has said that he's not trying to throw all-out yet because he's working on his control. Let's not panic yet.

Nafis (San Francisco)

Hello Richard, any surprises so far as who has looked good or looked bad in spring training for the Rangers.

Richard Durrett
  (3:15 PM)

Mitch Moreland and Tanner Scheppers have turned heads. Others have been steady, like Ian Kinsler. Not a great spring so far for Derek Holland.

Derrick (Garden City)

Hey Rich, who would be the closer if Francisco goes down?

Richard Durrett
  (3:16 PM)

C.J. Wilson if he's not in the rotation.

Mel (Colorado Springs)

Hi Rich, who do you think will hit more homeruns this year: Vlad or Chris Davis?

Richard Durrett
  (3:16 PM)

Hmmm. Tough one. I'll take Vlad. But I think Davis will give him a run for his money.

Adam (Los Angeles)

If the Rangers are looking to upgrade at the deadline, who would say is "untouchable" in the Rangers organization? (Feliz, Smoak, Andrus, etc...?)

Richard Durrett
  (3:17 PM)

I would first tell you that they probably don't have a true "untouchable" list. There are guys they aren't likely to trade, but you never really know what kind of offer you get unless you listen. But I can't see them trading Feliz or Andrus at all. Smoak probably not, but if Davis plays well and the right deal is out there...who knows.

Derrik (Nacogdoches, Texas)

How has Arias looked? Is he capitalizing on this opportunity? I really would like him to get the utility infielder's job.

Richard Durrett
  (3:18 PM)

So far the reports are mixed. I'll have to see for myself when I get out there, but he certainly will have a chance to seize the job.

Adam (Los Angeles)

Rangers win 86 games this season: Over or under?

Richard Durrett
  (3:18 PM)

I'll take the over. But I put the over/under more like 89. Are you taking that over or under?

DeWayne (Cedar Hill, Texas)

How hard does Harden usually throw because i've heard that his fastball hasn't topped over 91 but I know it is early?

Richard Durrett
  (3:19 PM)

He should be able to throw at least in the mid 90s. And he hasn't done that yet. But, again, let's not hit the panic button.

Corey Bledsoe (Menard, TX)

Durrett, What do you make of the slow fastball speed of Harden? To my knowledge, since he is injury prone he is just casually working himself into 100% but they also say his movement look jerky and tight?? Any relevance to this?

Richard Durrett
  (3:19 PM)

I'll have to see for myself. And I can't wait to do that. We'll just have to see.

Sanjay (AZ)

Would you agree that a week into ST, Matt Harrison has the early lead for the 5th rotation spot? I understand its only been a week, but almost all the other candidates (Holland, Feliz, McCarthy) have been roughed up a bit. Also, Nolan Ryan seemed very keen on wanting a lefty in the rotation in a video he did with TR Sullivan.

Richard Durrett
  (3:20 PM)

There's no doubt the Rangers would prefer a lefty in the rotation. Matt Harrison has shown good pop on his fastball and nice command, based on all the reports. So I could see that he might have a slight lead. But the other candidates are certainly still in this.

Richard (Dallas, TX)

What pitchers do you think are going to be in our starting rotation this year?

Richard Durrett
  (3:21 PM)

All of them. OK, maybe I'm stretching things a bit there. But injuries happen and this club will need the depth. I have no idea on the fifth starter out of camp, but I bet Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz will get in the rotation at some point in 2009. Brandon McCarthy and Matt Harrison too.

Brad (San Antonio)

Considering Josh Hamilton's injury history, what are the chances that the Rangers sign him to a long term contract? Will the potential they see in Justin Smoak effect this decision?

Richard Durrett
  (3:22 PM)

I think they'll wait and see how his body reacts this season. There's still no major rush here. But how he holds up has a big impact on what kind of deal they'd like to try to make.

Ricky (Springdal, AR)

with only room for so many outfielders to play, were does that leeve david murphy. I remembere he had a great first year with the rangers

Richard Durrett
  (3:23 PM)

He's got a great attitude about things, saying he'll have to prove that he deserves the at-bats. But remember: Injuries happen. Heck, they've already happened this spring. So Murphy will get his chances. His bat is too reliable not to be in the lineup on a semi-regular basis. He sure is a nice luxury for this team to have as a "fourth outfielder."

Trey (Fort Worth)

I read an article that Harden seemed to be favoring his shoulder more than normal during his last outing, can you give any more insight into that claim and do you think his health is a concern right now?

Richard Durrett
  (3:23 PM)

I wish I could, Trey, but I didn't see it. I'll be paying close attention when I get out to Surprise again, starting tomorrow.

Amber (Fort Worth)

How much validity is there in the rumors going around about the Rangers shopping Hamilton?

Richard Durrett
  (3:24 PM)

I don't think they are shopping him. Would they entertain an offer or two? Maybe. But actively shopping is something I don't think they are doing.

Hunter (Pasadena, CA)

Hey Richard, First off, I love your blog postings. They get me through the day at the office.Second, has Darren Oliver been doing well at camp? All I have seen on him are the box scores. I feel like he was the best off season move that we made, but all of the attention is on the no. 5 spot in the rotation.

Richard Durrett
  (3:24 PM)

Hunter, Darren is on my list to check up on when I arrive. I can tell you he's going to be a key leader on this pitching staff and was throwing well even before the games began. That was a big offseason signing, if you ask me.

Andy Kane (Dallas)

Who takes over for Marlon Byrd's brutal honesty in the leadership department? Michael Young is a quiet leader that talks with his play. Millwood is gone, who else leads? Thanks!

Richard Durrett
  (3:25 PM)

They need some young players to step up. Guys like Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy. Don't be surprised if Elvis Andrus starts doing some of that too. But you're right: They lost some important leadership and it must be replaced. Darren Oliver will be a guy that can help do that for the staff.

Travis (Greenville)

Last year's pitching staff was much improved, but I still worry that guys like Feldman are not going to be able to replicate last season's performances. How has Feldman looked so far this spring?

Richard Durrett
  (3:26 PM)

He's looked fine, from what I've heard. But I will say that I wouldn't expect him to win 17 games again. Things really went right for him. But he showed he belongs in this rotation and can be a solid pitcher. He's out to prove that last year was no fluke.

David (Dallas)

I think with the new ownership, the rangers will go after a big named starting pitcher before the trade deadline. Any ideas who they could go after?

Richard Durrett
  (3:28 PM)

I wouldn't dare guess at that. But I can tell you that if a trade is available that requires some additional funds, Chuck Greenberg and his group will help with that. So Jon Daniels and staff should be in position to add to this team if needed at the deadline.

Travis (Greenville)

Even when Josh Hamilton was hitting for good average at points last year, his power never showed up. Has he shown signs of regaining the pop he had in 2008?

Richard Durrett
  (3:29 PM)

With his injury, it's too early to tell. But I'm not too concerned about that. He's back to his old swing and if he gets it in groove, you'll see some power, I think.

Travis (Greenville)

I have heard concerns about Borbon's ability to play center field. Is this just because of his weak arm? It can be much weaker than other centerfielders such as Kenny Lofton and Johnny Damon. I would think his range would offset his arm like those guys.

Richard Durrett
  (3:30 PM)

I do think his arm is a concern. But he's worked hard on tracking balls and covering ground. He's still working on the position every day and is focused on improving. At some point, the club just has to turn him loose and I think that's what they're doing. Let's see what he's got.

Travis (Greenville)

Besides last season's sweep of the Indians to begin the year, the Rangers have been prone to slow starts. How important do you think it is for this year's young squad to get off to a hot start?

Richard Durrett
  (3:31 PM)

I think it's important. We see what it did for the club in 2009 and what a bad start did for the clubs in 2007 and 2008. Good starts matter. That won't be easy based on the schedule, either, with Seattle, New York and Boston in the first three weeks. But by good start, I don't mean some crazy winning streak, either. Just some good series wins to start the season.

Richard Durrett
  (3:34 PM)

Thanks, everyone. We'll be chatting more since I'm going to be in Surprise. If any of you are there, be sure to say hello to me on the back fields. Thanks!