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Saturday a.m. stuff

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Rangers beat the Royals in Frisco last night.  Vicente Padilla left after only two innings with forearm stiffness, but says that he'll be fine and will make his next start.

Ron Washington has set the rotation, and Brandon McCarthy will be the #3 starter and Kris Benson the #4 starter.  This is, Washington says, because Benson is better able to handle the "hoopla" surrounding Opening Day (the 4th starter's spot in the rotation is Detroit's home opener), and he wants to control McCarthy's adrenaline. 

Jeff Wilson writes that the Rangers 25 man roster is balanced and well put together.

Wilson also has a Q&A up with Nolan Ryan, talking about the conditioning program that has been implemented, and writes about Kevin Millwood being a particular target of Ryan's emphasis on conditioning.

Jim Reeves says Tom Hicks has figured out that pitching is what is important.

Gary West says that there is a feeling of optimism around the team, and hits on the main reason to believe the 2009 Rangers will be better:

Most of all, though, the Rangers will be better simply because their pitching can’t be any worse.

The Rangers have Frankie Francisco and C.J. Wilson as the closer and primary 8th inning guy, and both pitchers are looking good and ready to turn games into 7 inning affairs.

Richard Durrett looks at the COF situation for the Rangers, and the mix of Byrd, Murphy and Cruz the Rangers are going to be rolling with for at least the first half of the season.

And we have more details on Tom Hicks' loan default...Hicks says that this is no big deal, that he just wants to get the banks' attention so that they can work on some things, and that his desire to get minority investors in (that was announced earlier this week) is so that he can have funds to pay off the banks.