A week to go before Opening Day...
And the big story this morning appears to be the bullpen situation. Evan Grant has a piece on the unsettled pen, with only four spots locked in. Grant suggests that if C.J. Wilson goes on the d.l. (which at this point appears likely), both Erasmo Ramirez and Fabio Castro could end up on the roster, leaving one spot available for Antonio Alfonseca or Scott Feldman. Grant laments the lack of a true long man, outside of Joaquin Benoit -- who the Rangers want to use in more of a setup role -- but it seems that Castro might be an ideal candidate for that job. Otherwise, John Wasdin -- who has had an abysmal spring -- might sneak back into the bullpen mix.
Grant also says the Rangers are going to try to sneak Jon Leicester through waivers. Leicester, whom the Rangers got for a PTBNL (ultimately, Clint Brannon) early in the offseason, is out of options.
T.R. Sullivan also talks about the bullpen situation, saying that Alfonseca is close to nailing down a roster spot, leaving two bullpen slots open.
In another sign that the 5th starter spot may be coming down to Juan Dominguez and R.A. Dickey, Dickey is coming back on three days rest on Tuesday to pitch. Dominguez will start and Dickey will follow him.
The fact that Dickey is being slotted to pitch on the same timetable as Dominguez, rather than Edinson Volquez, suggests that those are the two finalists at this point.
On the outfield front, Sullivan indicates that GMJ is likely to start the season on the disabled list -- no big surprise -- and that that could lead to Mark DeRosa platooning in left field with David Dellucci. Bleah.
Sullivan also mentions that Brad Wilkerson is expected to be ready for Opening Day, despite his shoulder issue.
In the "feature" category, Jan Hubbard has a piece on Kevin Mench's hot spring, and Sullivan has an article on this being a big season for Buck Showalter.