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A couple of items this morning...

The S-T has a piece on the "competition" for the second base job...realistically, I don't think there is a true competition. The job should be -- and I think is -- Ian Kinsler's to lose, despite Buck's proclamations that it is a wide open competition.

The reality is, Mark DeRosa coming out this spring and hitting .450 with 5 homers is pretty meaningless. DeRosa performing like at that level this spring is about as relevant to his abilities as Gary Matthews Jr. having a hot spring last year, which prompted the Rangers to give him a starting job, and then be surprised when he fell flat on his face in April.

Either Ian Kinsler is judged ready to be the starter in 2006, or he isn't...that should be the only determination that matters. If he's ready, DeRosa should be the utility man. If he's not ready, DeRosa or (preferably) D'Angelo Jimenez should be the starting second baseman. There should be no "competition" for the job.

Kat O'Brien has some spring notes, particularly on Fabio Castro, who scout Charley Kerfeld says has three major league pitches and throws strikes. To drum home a point that folks may be missing, I want to quote O'Brien here:

The Rangers must keep Castro on the major league roster all season, or place him on waivers and almost certainly lose him to another team.

The chances of working out a deal to keep him and send him to the minors are minimal, because he's not likely to clear waivers, a prerequisite to that happening.

Also per O'Brien, Buck Showalter says that Joaquin Benoit has "a look in his eyes" he hasn't had since Buck has been here. Given Benoit's performance the past couple of seasons, he should be a lock for the bullpen, along with Otsuka and Cordero.