With Opening Day less than two weeks away, there's a lot of Rangers stuff out there in the news today...
Evan Grant has a new DMN newsletter out, that starts off with a lengthy explanation about why the Rangers need to keep Robinson Tejeda in the starting rotation, despite his struggles this spring. He also fields, among other things, why he's not too concerned about Brandon McCarthy being a flyball pitcher, Hank Blalock's defense, and the prospects of trading Rick Bauer and Francisco Cruceta.
Richard Durrett talks about Tejeda's outing yesterday, and the improvement he showed over his last couple of appearances.
Durrett also has some notes on the bullpen, with Eric Gagne seeming satisfied with his first "A" game outing of the spring. Gagne gave up a homer to the first batter he faced, but it was on a hanging curveball, which is Gagne's third pitch...I don't imagine he's going to be throwing a ton of curves in the regular season. And Gagne says in the S-T that he wouldn't have thrown a curve in that particular situation in the regular season.
Ron Washington says that there are five spots locked up in the bullpen -- Gagne, Akinori Otsuka, Ron Mahay, C.J. Wilson, and Joaquin Benoit -- and that one of the final two slots will likely go to one of the pitchers competing for the 5th spot. This means that Scott Feldman, Wes Littleton, and Frankie Francisco are all vying for the last spot in the pen.
While I think Littleton earned a spot with his performance last season, he's having issues with his mechanics in regards to his release point, which is causing him major control problems. If he's having to work out his mechanics, he needs to do that in AAA, not the majors, so if he doesn't get it fixed in the coming week, I don't have a problem with him being optioned.
Over in the S-T, Dave Sessions also runs through the bullpen situation, analyzing who has jobs and who is competing for the remaining spots.
Durrett also has yesterday's "Spring Report," with Washington talking about his desire to see the team be more aggressive on the basepaths. And although "Desimania" appears to have petered out, we do have some "Katamonium," with Matt Kata hitting .484 this spring in his bid to win a utility job.
Kevin Sherrington has a column up on "Ameriquest" disappearing. He is, not surprisingly, happy about the change.
And Jim Reeves has a column on Ron Washington, contrasting his style with his predecessor and comparing him to (ugh) Ozzie Guillen.
The Rocky Mountain News says Byung-hyun Kim has generated "tepid interest" from three teams, the Rangers being among them. I can't imagine the Rangers would like to trade for Kim at this point, though...
And the San Francisco Chronicle says Eric Gagne had some interest from the Giants before signing with Texas, while Russ Ortiz strongly considered an offer from Texas before signing with the Giants.