Rough outings yesterday for Matt Harrison and Chris Ray. Harrison, after his fast start to the spring, has had some issues his last few times out, and you have to wonder how much slack he'll be cut when Tommy Hunter comes off the disabled list in a few weeks.
With the season kicking off on Monday, we have the season preview stories out today.
Jeff Wilson writes that the Rangers' pitchers are looking to improve again after taking a big step forward in 2009.
The Rangers -- players, coaches, organization -- expect the 2010 team to be a playoff team.
Michael Young thinks this team is ready to take the next step, and thinks he'll be in the playoffs for the first time in his career in 2010.
Kevin Sherrington has a column on what the Rangers will do in 2010, predicting 89 wins and a 2nd place finish behind the Angels.
Gil LeBreton writes that the Rangers' future is bright, and castigates the national writers who, seemingly in auto-pilot mode, characterize this as a heavy hitting team with no pitching. LeBreton says that high expectations for the Rangers are warranted right now.
On the other hand, as Anthony Andro writes, Rangers teams carrying high expectations have flopped in the past.
One of the things we've talked about here is the importance of 2010 not being another 2005, when the Rangers followed up a season of surprising success with stagnation, regression and disappointment. Evan Grant compares 2004-05 to 2009-10, and looks at the differences between the situations.
Grant also ranks the Opening Day roster in terms of importance to the team, and I find some of the rankings rather odd. Elvis Andrus 16, behind Darren Oliver and Chris Ray (among others)? C.J. Wilson third, higher than any other pitcher?
One of the jobs that was open at the start of spring training is apparently still open...neither Jarrod Saltalamacchia nor Taylor Teagarden will be the true "starting" catcher. Instead, both players will split time behind the plate.