The Morning Nine from Surprise…Update on Nine
1. Julio Borbon – Great person, substantial talent. Could be time to trade him. The Rangers know their best outfield includes David Murphy in left, Josh Hamilton in center and Nelson Cruz in right. They know Craig Gentry offers a right-handed hitting alternative to Murphy even though he has not had a good spring. They know Leonys Martin is their center fielder of the future. Right now Borbon just isn’t a comfortable fit. It could be time to give him a chance to play elsewhere and get something that they need now in return. The guy can play, it just doesn’t feel like Texas is right for him anymore.
2. Josh Hamilton – They are not going to get anything done in Spring Training as far as a long-term contract extension. He is an incredible talent and he is a 30-year-old outfielder with a history of injuries. That concerns the Rangers more than the other stuff. It doesn’t take great baseball analysis to figure out clubs have not had great luck signing expensive free agent outfielders to long-term contracts.
3. Brad Hawpe – The Rangers really like this guy because of his bat and his veteran makeup. They just wish he could play the outfield. They need to figure out a way to keep him around here until he is ready to play the outfield. If they lose him, there is going to come a time during the season they wish they had him. He is a Major League player.
4. Mark Lowe – The hardest throwing pitcher in camp. That may give him the benefit of the doubt over somebody else…say Yoshinori Tateyama. But he has pitched eight innings and allowed four runs, nine hits – including two home runs – and three walks with four strikeouts. The Rangers like him but they also would like to see more than what they have seen to this point in Spring Training.
5. Koji Uehara – The biggest concern with him is his split-fingered fastball has been erratic. Is is the dry Arizona air or is it something else more disconcerting. That’s the pitch that gives him all those alluring numbers against left-handers.
6. Greg Reynolds – The Rangers may have found something when they plucked him from the Rockies for infielder Chad Tracy. He has quietly had a good spring. Pitches in a Minor League game today. A lot of people will be watching. He has not been sent to the Minors yet.
7. Mitch Moreland – Started off 1-for-16. Now he has 12 hits in his last 33 at-bats. That’s .364 if you’re scoring at home. All is well at first base.
8. Robbie Ross – Looks like the Rangers are falling in love again based on Spring Training performance.
9. Mike Adams – Last five outings: no runs, one hit, no walks and five strikeouts. The Rangers eighth-inning guy looks ready to go.