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Sunday morning Rangers things

March 23, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Neal Cotts throws against the San Francisco Giants in the fifth inning at Scottsdale Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
March 23, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Neal Cotts throws against the San Francisco Giants in the fifth inning at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

Another win for Texas, as they took down the Cleveland Indians, 7-4, last night. Ian Kinsler definitely seems ready to start the season.

T.R. Sullivan has his game story here.

Evan Grant has his game report here.

Richard Durrett has his rapid reaction here.

The big news from last night's game was the muscle strain suffered by Neal Cotts, who was battling with Robbie Ross and Yoshinori Tateyama for the last bullpen spot. Cotts is expected to be unable to throw for seven to ten days, and his injury means that Ross is the last lefty standing. While the public statements, at the beginning of spring training, were that Ross and Martin Perez each had a chance to earn a bullpen job this spring, I don't think anyone really took those claims seriously. Now, though, after Ross has impressed all spring, and after every other lefty (besides the now-injured Cotts) had disappointing springs, he's viewed as the favorite for the final bullpen spot.

It is worth noting that Tateyama has also earned praise this spring, and as of a week ago, he was being talked about as someone who had a job nailed now. With Koji Uehara and Mike Adams both quite effective against lefthanders, the Rangers may decide to start the season with seven righties in the bullpen, and have Robbie Ross go to the rotation at AAA Round Rock.

One factor that works against Ross is that the Rangers' 40 man roster is currently sitting at 39, and the Rangers will need to add whoever is named to the team as the utility infielder to the 40 man roster by Opening Day, which means that for Ross to be added, someone else would have to be dropped. Matt West would be a candidate for the 60 day disabled list, but I doubt that the Rangers would want to lose a full year of team control of West by having him on the 60 day d.l. all season if he needs Tommy John surgery. The situation is exacerbated if the Rangers do end up trading for a righthanded hitting outfielder, since that player would also need to be added to the 40 man roster.

Other than West, the primary candidates who would be in danger of being dropped from the 40 man roster would seem to be Cody Eppley, Mark Hamburger, and Brandon Snyder, although if Snyder makes the team as a bench player, he obviously wouldn't be able to be dropped to make room for Ross.

So it may be that Tateyama ends up on the team instead of Ross because of 40 man roster issues as much as performance issues.

Ross says he wants to be in Texas, and wants to make the Opening Day roster.

Kevin Sherrington says we shouldn't expect dominance from Neftali Feliz right away, as he transitions from the bullpen to the rotation.

Jeff Wilson has a story on Josh Hamilton, who talks about his desire to play centerfield and his desire to stay in Texas beyond this season.

Evan Grant has the rundown on the minor league rotations, although there is still one spot open in AAA, which would be filled by Robbie Ross if he doesn't make the major league bullpen.

The S-T's notes talk about Ross and Cotts being the final two lefties in camp, and Mike Napoli being open to talking about a contract extension during the season, with Napoli saying that the two sides weren't very far apart when talks were going on earlier in the offseason.

Sullivan's notes talk about Josh Hamilton's groin, Michael Kirkman's "impressive" spring (although if it were that impressive, he would be on the Opening Day roster instead of being sent down), Adrian Beltre's stiff back, pitchers getting sent to the minors, and Kyle Hudson being traded to Tampa Bay.

Hudson being dealt leads me to wonder if the decision hasn't already been made to have Julio Borbon and Leonys Martin both start the season in AAA. If that's the case, there would be no place for Hudson to play, and it would make sense to move him.

The S-T talks to Elvis Andrus about his five favorite shortstops.