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A 2 for 3 night for Sosa last night, including a home run, prompted someone in the comments to ask why I'm not providing regular Sosa stat updates, like I supposedly was earlier in the spring.

Because they don't prove the point I was trying to make anymore. Duh.

I'm still not sold on Sosa being anything other than Phil Nevin Redux, of course. But I've been wrong before...

Evan Grant still doesn't seem sold on Sosa, either, in his spring report for yesterday. He also mentions the shaky outings for Bruce Chen and Wes Littleton yesterday, that may cost them spots on the Opening Day staff. Littleton's mechanics apparently are still off, which likely means he'll spend a few weeks in Oklahoma getting back into whack.

Edinson Volquez is heading to A-ball, in a dramatic move by the Rangers to try to salvage Volquez's talent. I've seen it suggested that John Hart and Buck Showalter rushed Volquez to the majors in 2005 for off-the-field reasons, and that that has resulted in stunting Volquez's develop and wrecking his confidence. I don't know if that's the case, or if this is the right move, but it seems to be an act of desperation, in an effort to get Volquez back on track.

Other notes from Grant include Ron Washington saying Robinson Tejeda is the #4 starter, and his shaky early outings haven't changed that. The #5 starter situation is still up in the air, although Washington is apparently going to keep the first four starters on regular rest, so whomever ends up as the 5th starter is only getting 3 starts in April anyway.

That could play out a couple of different ways...Chen and Kam Loe both are better fits to pitch out of the pen than Jamey Wright, so if the 5th starter is going to swing between the pen and the rotation, they'd seem to be the most attractive options.

Grant also suggests that if Loe is going to be the 5th starter, he could start the season in AAA and not be called up until April 10 (when the 5th starter will be needed for the first time), to allow the team to keep 8 relievers.

I don't know that that really makes that much sense, though, personally. I guess the Rangers could keep Rick Bauer around for an extra week, and see if they can generate more interest for him then or try to sneak him through waivers after the season starts, but having 8 relievers for a week wouldn't seem to be something that should be that much of a priority.

And the transcript from Grant's chat session yesterday is up.

T.R. Sullivan has updates on Kam Loe and Vicente Padilla. Loe is reportedly much improved, and he'll be starting on Sunday, while Padilla pitched five innings in a minor league game yesterday. Sullivan says that Padilla reported "minor soreness," and Mark Connor said he had command issues.

This Padilla situation is worrisome...the last thing this team needs is Padilla to end up going under the knife and missing the season, which would mean the rotation would suddenly be Millwood, McCarthy, Tejeda, and two of the Wright/Loe/Chen guys. And with Freddy Garcia going down in Philly, Jon Lieber, everyone's favorite fallback option, isn't necessarily on the market anymore, since Lieber is going to have to move into Garcia's slot in the Philadelphia rotation.

Also from Sullivan, Victor Diaz and Freddy Guzman have been optioned, and Desi Relaford and Drew Meyer have been sent back to the minor league camp. No big surprises there...

Dave Sessions has a piece on LSB fave Gerald Laird in the S-T today, and Gil LeBreton has a column on Hank Blalock, replete with quotes from Washington about the improvements Blalock has made defensively.

Finally, the Rocky Mountain News says the Rangers are still interested in both Clint Barmes and Byung-hyun Kim, for whatever reason.