T.R. Sullivan talks about three rookies who supposedly have shots at the #5 starter spot, although of Josh Rupe, Edison Volquez and Thomas Diamond, I still think only Rupe has any kind of realistic shot of making it.
Sullivan also identifies Rick Bauer, R.A. Dickey, C.J. Wilson and Juan Dominguez as candidates, and reminds everyone that Dominguez has to "earn" the #5 starter spot if he wants it. Wilson is still sidelined with a hamstring strain and is only throwing off the front of the mound, so I can't see him being in the rotation come Opening Day, and while Buck has his weird mancrush on Dickey, I've got to believe they'll send him back to AAA to work on his knuckler for a full season.
Bauer is a scrub journeyman, who doesn't seem to bring anything to the table, but Buck has tended to lean towards the scrub journeymen types coming out of spring training -- remember, Mickey Callaway was in the Rangers' 2004 rotation to start the season, and Pedro Astacio was there to start 2005 -- and the philosophy seems to be, start with the vets and send the guys with options to the minors, so I wouldn't be surprised if Bauer ended up starting the season in the rotation.
Daniels had this to say about Bauer:
"If you look at our track record, look at how many times players have made our Opening Day roster or been up early in the season who weren't expected to at this time in Spring Training," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Chad Allen last year, and Rod Barajas the year before. Mark DeRosa, Gary Matthews, Ron Mahay, Carlos Almanzar. All those guys came in to camp off the roster. Everybody is going to get a fair look."
Daniels is disseminating a bit -- Almanzar was on the 40 man roster, and Barajas in 2004 and DeRosa in 2005 were both expected to make the 25 man roster as backups -- but still, he's clearly leaving the door open for Bauer...
Of course, I'd also set the over/under on starts Bauer gets at 4.5. But in any case, it seems like the #5 starter job is going to come down to Bauer, Dominguez or Rupe.
Sullivan also has Twenty Things to Know About Vicente Padilla, which I imagine was a little harder for him to do than the 20 things about Adam Eaton, since the #1 thing to know about Padilla is that he doesn't talk to the media.
There's also a feel-good T.R. Sullivan piece on old friends John Mayberry Jr. and Steven Murphy being reunited in the Rangers system, if you're into that sort of thing.