Morning nine from Surprise….Harry Houdini’s birthday

A few things to get rolling while remembering that Harry Houdini was born on this date in 1874

1. Still no bullpen session on Saturday for Neftali Feliz. His next step will be an “aggressive” long toss session on flat ground. The Rangers are taking it one day at a time with him but it’s becoming questionable if he’ll be ready for the start of the season.

2. Mark Hamburger had one of those “Come to Jesus” mound meetings that manager Ron Washington is famous for. On Saturday night, Hamburger was trying to protect a 4-1 lead when he got a ground ball double play in the ninth inning. Then he walked the next two batters and that’s when Washington came to the mound. Said Washington, “I just told him he got himself out of trouble with the double play and then walked the next two guys. What is he trying to do. It’s not that difficult. He had a great sinker. I wanted to make sure he didn’t forget that.

3. Josh Hamilton still wants more time in center field before the beginning of the season if that’s where he is going to play. Said Hamilton, “If they decide to play me in left, I’ll play left. But I don’t want to play left and then they decide to play me in center on Opening Day.”

4. Washington said he still needs to see Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin center. Borbon started there on Saturday

5. The Rangers have seen flashes of outstanding stuff from reliever Tanner Scheppers this year. They just want him to go to Triple A Round Rock and pitch regularly out of the bullpen. The Rangers are hoping two years of physical issues are behind him and he can come quickly as an option out of the bullpen.

6. Speaking of Hamburger, he is going to “start” on Sunday against the Angels. With Yu Darvish working in an intrasquad game, the Rangers will pitch Sunday’s game “out of the bullpen.”

7. Pitcher Robbie Ross is from Kentucky so naturally he has a rooting interest in the Wildcats during the NCAA tournament. But he also walked away from a scholarship at the University of Kentucky to sign with the Rangers.

8. With all the contract talk going around in camp, remember that Babe Ruth once took a $23,000 pay cut during the middle of the Depression.

9. Greg Reynolds on the mound and Mike Napoli behind the plate for Rangers and Angels today. Matt Harrison pitches in a Minor League game. Albert Pujols not making the trip.

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