Opening Day creeping ever closer, and we still don't have a 5th starter...
T.R. Sullivan says that the fifth starter slot is still undecided, although R.A. Dickey appears to be the "last man standing" because of his "heart and character." Unfortunately, heart and character don't get batters out, and if Dickey is really the choice, I think the Rangers need to be scouring the waiver wires and looking for possible trade partners.
Jim Reeves backs Dickey, while painting him as someone who doesn't get a break, doesn't get any respect. That's nonsense, of course...Dickey is playing for a manager who loves him and who is going to bend over backwards to try to find a slot for him on the major league roster. Reeves claims Dickey has "earned" the 5th starter spot, but that would be true only if you ignore his competition's track record prior to this spring...
In the DMN, Evan Grant says things are still up in the air, although he said that Dominguez was unusually talkative after the game, and offered several quotes from Dominguez, which is pretty unusual.
In the S-T, Jan Hubbard shrugs his shoulders on the 5th starter issue, although he seemed to have a more favorable take on Juan Dominguez's outing than on Dickey's, blaming some of his problems in his bad inning on bad defense behind him.
Hubbard says that the Rangers had been trying to convert Juan Senreiso into a pitcher, but when that wasn't working, agreed to give him his release so he could try to jumpstart his career with another team. He's signed with Kansas City.
Also on the subject of prospects, Hubbard indicates that John Danks and Thomas Diamond appear slated to start the season at Frisco, while Edinson Volquez will be in Oklahoma.
C.J. Wilson was unimpressive in a minor league game yesterday, failing to crack 90 mph on the gun while fighting a stomach virus. It seems more and more likely Wilson will either start the season in AAA or on the disabled list, allowing the Rangers to keep Erasmo Ramirez (who is out of options) to start the season.
Kat O'Brien has a feature on Hank Blalock...a lot of stuff on the tattoos, but she also says that he came to camp in great shape -- to the point it was commented upon by the other players -- and that he's acknowledged that he might have been subconsciously trying to pull the ball too much since his home run against Eric Gagne in the All-Star Game.
Reading between the lines, it sounds like Brad Wilkerson is the Rangers' leadoff hitter, if he's healthy.
USA Today has their Rangers preview up, focusing on the Soriano trade and Ian Kinsler's taking over at second base. For what it is worth, they project R.A. Dickey as the 5th starter, and Laynce Nix as the starting centerfielder.