Biggest news has to do with the 5th starter job...the Atlanta Journal Constitution says the Rangers had scouts at John Thomson's start yesterday. Thomson gave up 1 run in 6 innings, and the article says that the Braves want to move him and his $4.5 million salary and get bullpen help in return.
Thomson, of course, should only be an option if the Rangers decide to give up on Juan Dominguez...which is exactly what Jim Reeves is advocating today. He says the Rangers need to give up on Dominguez, but also says that the Dominguez situation is setting up a conflict within the front office:
If Dominguez's poor performance on the mound Wednesday, which left his spring ERA at 8.25, didn't knock him out of the running for the job, Thursday morning's blasé attitude might have done the trick.
Not that general manager Jon Daniels is ready to rule anyone out of a three-horse race in which almost everyone keeps going backward.
That's the difference between the GM and the manager and perhaps a potential battleground for the first minor test of wills between them.
Manager Buck Showalter is having a difficult time disguising his increasing impatience with Dominguez. Daniels clearly would like to see the troubled right-hander step up and win the job.
Thursday's almost-late arrival didn't help his cause.
"He was here when he needed to be here," Daniels said in half-hearted defense of Dominguez. "Juan has shown immaturity and irresponsibility time and again. Am I happy about it? Absolutely not.
"At some point he's got to get over this. But I'm more concerned with physical ability and his performance, and it wasn't there [Wednesday]. That's where [the off-field issues] become more problematic."
This is the first time I've seen in writing what I've suspected for a while...Daniels wants Dominguez as the 5th starter, and Buck Showalter would like anyone but Dominguez in that role.
Kat O'Brien looks at Laynce Nix's progress in coming back from injury, and notes that he's now in a position where he can compete for an outfield job, while GMJ looks like he's headed to the disabled list.
Despite Nix's progress, I'd rather see him in AAA to start the season. Part of the problem is that the Rangers want David Dellucci to start against righthanders and Phil Nevin to DH regularly, which means that a fourth outfielder probably needs to be a righthanded hitter, so he can platoon with Dellucci. Nix, of course, is lefthanded, so that won't work.
My guess is that Nix will start the season in AAA, and the Rangers will have Mark DeRosa split time with Dellucci in the outfield until GMJ comes back.
Jan Hubbard reports on yesterday's game, and indicates that Buck Showalter liked what he saw from Fabio Castro, who at this point I'd give heavy odds of making the team out of spring training.
Hubbard also says Dominguez is likely going to start the minor league game on Saturday, with Edinson Volquez starting the "A" game.