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February 21, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Richard Durrett

Richard Durrett
  (3:59 PM)

Hello, everyone. The rain is gone here in Surprise, Ariz., and the Rangers had a full workout today. They also had a couple of meetings today, including with the umpire representatives this afternoon.

bill (amarillo)

I get that the Rangers think the bullpen is sure enough even without Francisco, but why did we want napoli? He hasn't hit well recently and if MY stays he won't get much playing time right?

Richard Durrett
  (4:02 PM)

Mike Napoli's main role is to play first base against lefties. That's not to say Mitch Moreland won't play against some lefties, but Napoli will likely get most of the at-bats against left-handers. He can catch, but is the No. 3 catcher at this point. If Michael Young is in the field, Napoli can DH.

Steven (Plano)

Why does Borbon get the starting center slot over Murphy? Murphy proved himself last year and took over the starting job during the 2nd half and playoffs. What is the reasoning Wash has?

Richard Durrett
  (4:05 PM)

It's several things. First, 2010 was Borbon's first full season in the majors and he struggled early. But he battled back enough to hit .275 and show improvement defensively. They want to find out if he can take the next step. If he can, his speed can become a real weapon. The other factor is that if Borbon can seize the center field job, Josh Hamilton can stay in left and save some wear and tear on his body. It is interesting that the playoffs ended with Murphy in left, Hamilton in center and Cruz in right and now that's changed heading into the spring. Murphy will get his ABs and if Borbon doesn't produce, things could change quickly.

Keanu (Honolulu)

Hi Richard, any concerns about the innings logged by CJ Wilson last year? He pitched the most innings in his career by far.

Richard Durrett
  (4:06 PM)

The club will monitor him like they do anyone else, but he's in good shape and the team feels like he can handle it. Wilson settled into a nice routine last year and will keep that in 2011. He'll be watched carefully, but the club is confident Wilson is ready to keep logging innings.

Mel (Novato)

Hi Rich, do you think that Nelson Cruz's hamstring injuries will resurface again or do they have some way to control it?

Richard Durrett
  (4:12 PM)

He was on the disabled list three times last year -- all with hamstring issues. He really focused on that this offseason. He worked out with Darren O'Day's brother (Michael Young, Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Craig Gentry and others did as well) and is doing drills to run properly. O'Day basically showed them a video of the right way to run to help avoid injuries and the players were given instruction on how to improve (I'm told that of the group that went, Gentry had the best running style). Cruz said it's not easy, but he's getting better and believes it really well help his hamstrings.

Candy (Slippery Rock)

Hello Richard, will Elvis Andrus develop some power this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:16 PM)

I sure hope so because I lost a bet in 2010. I was certain he would hit some homers and he didn't hit any. But Andrus' job isn't to show the kind of power that puts balls over the fence. He's the type that could produce more extra base hits and utilize his speed. Andrus just has to keep building on what he did as 2010 progressed. I can tell you that he looks great this spring physically. He gained 10 pounds and it has to be all muscle just by looking at him.

Jesse Saxon (lewisville, tx )

Who has a better shot at making the rotation for the 5th spot? Kirkman, Holland, Feliz? I say 5th spot thinking that Hunter has #4. Or does Hunter have anything to worry about this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:20 PM)

If Brandon Webb isn't ready for the start of the season (and I don't think he will be based on the fact that he's not a mound yet), then that opens things up a bit. I do think Tommy Hunter will get one of those spots. Then you've got Derek Holland, Michael Kirkman, Matt Harrison and possibly Neftali Feliz or Alexi Ogando competing for two spots. I've said all along that I believe Holland will win one of those jobs and I still think that. But it should be fun to watch.

Brandt (Texas)

Richard, how does Josh Hamilton look so far/

Richard Durrett
  (4:23 PM)

He looks good. He took some swings against some live pitching today and is getting prepared. He isn't tinkering with his swing or anything this spring. He's focused on the season, but told me he won't worry about numbers. He didn't do that last year and things worked out.

Cy (Austin, TX)

Richard, will you be chatting live during spring training games this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:24 PM)

Yes. We will do some live chatting during spring training games. I'll let you know our schedule on that as soon as I can.

Brett (Jacksonville)

Hey Richard! It is October 1st - playoffs for the [future] AL West, where did Micheal Young get most of his AB's (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or DH)?

Richard Durrett
  (4:27 PM)

DH. But he'll get some playing time in the infield. Every year, the Rangers have had injuries in that infield. This year isn't likely to be different. But he's the primary DH and that's where he'll get most of his ABs from.

Mitch (Dallas)

Is Murphy considered so poor defensivly at center that he is not an option to play there? It would seem like a good way to keep Hamilton in left and get Murphy more playing time.

Richard Durrett
  (4:28 PM)

I just think they feel Borbon has more speed to play center, which requires covering a lot of ground. But he's got to prove himself.

Trey (Fort Worth)

Who has surprised you the most these past 3 days?

Richard Durrett
  (4:29 PM)

I'd say Neftali Feliz. His changeup looked really good today and he was throwing strikes with the slider. The question is can he be consistent with it and if he is, will he make it tough on this club as they decide whether to make him a starter? Derek Holland also looked good. I like Mitch Moreland's attitude too.

Coby (Tyler, Tx)

How has Chris Davis looked at 3rd so far this ST? Will he get the extra reps with Beltre being sidelined with a hamstring? I bet Dr. Gameday heals Beltre's hamstring

Richard Durrett
  (4:31 PM)

Beltre will be fine. He said his mild strained calf muscle felt better today after workouts. Chris Davis was at third again today and will be for most of the spring. That's because they know Davis can play first and they've got plenty of depth over there. Getting Davis even more action at third only helps his value and versatility.

Russ (Garland)

Hey Richard -- Noticed you didn't include Dave Bush in the options for the final two spots in the rotation. You don't like his chances?

Richard Durrett
  (4:32 PM)

He's in there. I didn't mean to leave him off.

Beau Buchholz (Flower Mound)

How concerned should we be about Brandon Webb not being ready to pitch off of the mound right away? Is there any chance he wont be ready for Opening Day?

Richard Durrett
  (4:35 PM)

Yes, I do think there's a chance he won't be ready for Opening Day. But I wouldn't be too concerned about it. I think this is a smart approach. Webb feels fine. But the club wants a 100 percent pitcher for as long as they can get him. That may not be right as the season starts. So let him get fully strengthened even if it means sacrificing the first few weeks or a month of the season.

Adam (Los Angeles)

Do players typically enjoy the spring training experience or is it an inevitable burden that they dread?

Richard Durrett
  (4:36 PM)

I think they enjoy it, but it gets long for everyone. Spring training is 6 weeks because of the pitchers. It doesn't take the hitters long to get ready. So by mid-March, everyone is counting down to Opening Day.

Ben (McKinney)

Why does Wash have Beltre hitting cleanup and Young hitting 2nd in his lineup right now? Personally I'd go Andrus, Kinsler, Hamilton, Nelly, Beltre, Young....I think that way we get the most out of our lineup

Richard Durrett
  (4:37 PM)

Washington hasn't said what he might do. I think it's possible Kinsler is the leadoff hitter and Young could drop in the lineup. Or Washington could stick with Andrus as leadoff and put Kinsler lower in the lineup. He's in the process of figuring all of that out.

Chris (Plano)

Do you think Scott Feldman can retain his sinker and be able to reclaim the starting pitching spot? I know he will have a lot of competition once he is healthy from surgery but can he be the same person who had a great season 2 years ago?

Richard Durrett
  (4:39 PM)

He could eventually. The problem is that he's only throwing off flat ground right now and won't get on a mound until late March. So he won't even be ready to go for a while. The key will be getting that sinker effective again once he returns.

John (Fort Worth)

what are the chances Brandon Webb is a Rich Harden variety bust this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:42 PM)

I think there's little chance of that. First of all, the contract is much more friendly. It's $3 million guaranteed, much less than Harden. Webb hasn't thrown but four innings in two years, but he's healthy. Let's wait and see how he looks once he's on the mound, but I think he'll end up helping this club.

Jonny (PBG)

When do games start for Spring Training?

Richard Durrett
  (4:42 PM)

Sunday is the first game as the Royals and Rangers play.

Jason (Bmore)

If Feliz wows the staff and forces them to give him a rotation spot, does Ogando become the de facto closer?

Richard Durrett
  (4:42 PM)

He's one candidate. But don't discount Mark Lowe. He's got power and can do the job too.

Justin (Hurst,Tx)

Richard,Have you actually seen Michael paying first base yet. If so how does he look there so far?

Richard Durrett
  (4:44 PM)

Michael did some early work at first base this morning, working on footwork and receiving the ball (check out the ESPNDallas.com Rangers blog for more on that). He won't have a problem learning the position.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Richard, Blanco had 10 doubles in a little over 150 AB's last season. With his good glove is he the first UI ahead of M. Young?

Richard Durrett
  (4:45 PM)

At this point, Blanco is the primary backup at shortstop with Young the backup at first, second and third.

MCHA Mike (Coppell)

Hey RD - sunny skies here in DFW - getting me ready for baseball! Are the Rangers still doing the Claw and Antlers? Or is someone cooking up a new deal?

Richard Durrett
  (4:45 PM)

They are still doing it (though I haven't noticed much of it this spring) and they will still wear the claw and antler T-shirts. No new slogans are planned.

John (Dallas)

Who do you see as a better designated hitter if Michael Young moves to an infield position as a fill in if someone goes on the disabled list? David Murphy or Mike Napoli?

Richard Durrett
  (4:46 PM)

Yes, those two would be the candidates depending on matchups, etc.

daniel (oklahoma)

hey rich ... soo with the rangers changing AAA affiliates ... does that mean all the prospects who were redhawks last year are now players for Round Rock ?

Richard Durrett
  (4:46 PM)

Yes, Round Rock is now the Triple-A affiliate.

Mario (Fort Worth)

Hi Rich, how do you see the rotation being set if Brandon Webb isnt ready for the start of the season, do you see it being C.J,Colby,Tommy,Holland, and Harrison? what do you think ?

Richard Durrett
  (4:49 PM)

Those five are possible. I do think Hunter and Holland will win spots (just my opinion). But you've also got Harrison, Kirkman, Feliz, Ogando, Bush and others competing for spots. My bet is C.J., Colby, Hunter and Holland will all be in the rotation if Webb isn't. Ask me about that fifth spot in a week or two.

Richard Durrett
  (4:49 PM)

Those five are possible. I do think Hunter and Holland will win spots (just my opinion). But you've also got Harrison, Kirkman, Feliz, Ogando, Bush and others competing for spots. My bet is C.J., Colby, Hunter and Holland will all be in the rotation if Webb isn't. Ask me about that fifth spot in a week or two.

Richard Durrett
  (4:50 PM)

Those five are possible. I do think Hunter and Holland will win spots (just my opinion). But you've also got Harrison, Kirkman, Feliz, Ogando, Bush and others competing for spots. My bet is C.J., Colby, Hunter and Holland will all be in the rotation if Webb isn't. Ask me about that fifth spot in a week or two.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Richard, I guess its still up in the air as to if Feliz will move to the Rotation or not? If Feliz stays as the closer will the Rangers find a more frequent role for Ogando? It seems he could lock up the eighth inning role.

Richard Durrett
  (4:51 PM)

He would be a back end bullpen guy in that scenario along with Lowe. That would give the team two hard-throwing righties.

Adam (Los Angeles)

Any word on a contract extension for Jon Daniels?

Richard Durrett
  (4:52 PM)

Nothing done yet, but Rangers claim they are going to get it done this spring. Seems like things keep popping up. I'll be asking Nolan Ryan about that when he returns out here. They need to get that done now.

Adam (Los Angeles)

Give me a dark horse candidate that you think has a legitimate shot at making the rotation

Richard Durrett
  (4:54 PM)

Michael Kirkman. May not be too dark horse, but he was impressive last year and he's focused on throwing a variety of pitches for strikes this spring. He's in the mix.

Jason (Frisco)

Do you think Borbon, Kinsler, and Andrus will fight for the lead-off spot?

Richard Durrett
  (4:55 PM)

I don't see Borbon being the leadoff hitter. I think he'll stay at No. 9. So I think it's between Andrus and Kinsler.

Russ (Garland)

People don't seem to realize that Napoli actually did hit really well against lefties last year

Richard Durrett
  (4:56 PM)

Yes, he did. He hit .305 against lefties last year in 141 at-bats.

Matt (Texas)

I've heard reports that Webb is a week behind schedule all the way to he won't be ready until June or July. Anything new or more definitive on his status?

Richard Durrett
  (4:58 PM)

At this point, he could be a week or two behind. The longer he goes without getting on a mound, the longer that span gets. But no one today said anything about June or July. Webb assures us that he feels good physically.

Ben (McKinney)

I really liked Eric Hurley when he first came up. Do the Rangers still view him as a possible high end starter down the road and when do you think he'll get the chance to be with the big league club again?

Richard Durrett
  (4:59 PM)

They still view him as a guy with upside. He's healthy, but hasn't pitched much the past few years so to think he can be one soon probably isn't realistic. But he was good in the Instructional League and is gaining confidence.

Richard Durrett
  (5:00 PM)

Thanks so much for your questions. We'll do this again soon.