What we know in the desert…Day 5
Here is what we’ve learned so far in the desert…
* Manager Ron Washington said his starting rotation is Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman and Brandon McCarthy. He added that’s “tentative.” The feeling is McCarthy, more than anybody, has to earn his spot. He has looked good early but everybody is still watching and waiting.
* Jason Jennings and Kason Gabbard are coming back from elbow surgery and are being brought along slowly. That’s to be expected. What is significant is C.J. Wilson is also coming back from elbow surgery and is full speed ahead. He looks good so far.
* Brendan Donnelly is an early bright spot in the bullpen.
* Chess is still big in the Rangers clubhouse. Frank Francisco introduced the game last year and that was a big development. Chess is not only a game in the clubhouse but a bonding experience among teammates, just like cards and cribbage. Francisco is emerging as a team leader similar to Francisco Cordero a few years ago.
* Andruw Jones is similar but there is still caution. He tried to play Winter Ball in the Dominican but still looked lost with a lack of bat speed. Still the most compelling story in camp, even more so than Elvis Andrus.
* Still wondering if Marlon Byrd’s knee is going to be an issue this spring.
* Yes Chris Davis is here. Not much to say about him yet but obviously he should play a big part of the Rangers offense this year. Waiting on games to begin to see if he can pick up from last season.
* Michael Young is getting his work in at third base. Waiting on games to measure progress. Prediction: turning the 5-4-3 double play will be quite revealing, one way or another.
* Pitching coach Mike Maddux is revealing little about his pitching staff, other than lauding them for their effort in the fielding drills. Not tipping his hand on anything.
* Warner Madrigal has the same Mad Dog scowl on his face from dawn to dusk.
* If you hire Jackie Moore to run Spring Training, expect Spring Training to run quite efficiently.
* Still not sure who will hit cleanup, but Hank Blalock does appear quite accepting to his new role of designated hitter.
* Max Ramirez may end up playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
* Eric Hurley. Big loss. Thomas Diamond. Could be a big story
We are just getting started.