Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers Spring Training: My Top 10 Observer-ations

10. Pitchers and catchers report today. Means backyard pool parties and bikinis can't be far behind.

9. Whatever happens the first week of camp, it can't be more shocking than a year ago when manager Ron Washington announced that he had snorted cocaine the previous season.

8. Last year's motto: It's Time! This year's: 3 More Wins! I'm curious to see if the defending American League champs with the reigning AL MVP have a swagger about them this spring. In the past it's always been a barrel full of ifs.

7. Not that there aren't still ifs, right Brandon Webb?

6. The first time new third baseman Adrian Beltre dives to his left, stops a grounder down the line and throws to first for an out, the Rangers will be a significantly better defensive team.


5. If first baseman Mitch Moreland can consistently hit lefties, the Rangers will be way ahead of the game. No more wondering if/when Chris Davis can hit an off-speed pitch will be one less headache.

4. I'll be out in Surprise in March and, like all of us, I'll dissect and nitpick spring training to the smallest fiber. But, remember, a year ago at this time the Rangers were counting on Jarrod Saltalammachia behind the plate, Scott Feldman and Rich Harden on the mound and Cliff Lee was a Seattle Mariner. Translation: A lot can/will change by mid-July's trade deadline.

3. I fear the Rangers are going to miss Clint Hurdle. Not only as an aggressive hitting coach, but also as a sounding board in the clubhouse. Reminder, Thad Bosley is now the team's third hitting coach in three years.

2. Regardless of where he plays -- center or left -- isn't it going to be impossible to take the aggression out of Josh Hamilton? Still, Julio Borbon locking down center would go a long way toward saving Josh. Hamilton staying healthy and MVP productive is one of the biggest keys to the season.

1. Just like you knew he would, Michael Young -- unhappy or not -- will report to Surprise, Arizona Saturday on time and conduct himself like a classy professional. "I expect Michael to be here," Washington says. "No doubt."

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt