Last Call from the Desert…Geovany Soto, Joe Ortiz

desert “Not even close.”

Derek Holland, when asked if his latest stomach ailment was as bad as last summer’s virus.

General manager Jon Daniels was asked about free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse on Monday and it still seems like the Rangers are still sitting this one out. Said Daniels, “I don’t want to get into anything on anybody specific. Our position hasn’t changed. We’re certainly open to upgrading, we’re always looking at that. But it’s got to be the right fit.”

Daniels on the number of pitching injuries in camp: “But we went into it knowing those guys would be out. (Martin) Perez is really the only new injury. McClellan kind of, but he was coming back from a shoulder (injury).”

Tuesday night will be one of the biggest nights in Puerto Rico baseball history but Geovany Soto will have to watch it from Arizona as he has all month. Puerto Rico has advanced to the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico reached that game by defeating two-time champion Japan in the semifinal on Sunday night. According to the ratings, 74 percent of televisions in Puerto Rico were tuned into the game in the ninth inning.

“It’s amazing,” Soto said. “It makes us all proud and makes us feel good to see our boys give 100 percent like that. We want to see them win it all.”

Soto, who was acquired from the Cubs on July 30, played for Puerto Rico in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but decided against it this time around. He is coming off a season in which he hit .196 with five home runs and 25 RBI in 47 games with the Rangers.

“They traded me and this is my first Spring Training in Texas,” Soto said. “I wanted to get ready and get some at-bats under my belt. I wish I could be there but I felt I needed the at-bats and focus on getting back on track.”

Pitcher Evan Meek on the Rangers catchers this spring, “All the catchers in this camp have been great. They really take the time to get to know the pitchers and what you want to throw, your strengths and your weaknesses. They have all been tremendous.”

Manager Ron Washington on left-handed reliever Joe Ortiz, “Fearless is the right word…keep doing what he’s doing, pounding the strike zone and making them swing the bat.”

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