By Jason K. Thompson
As the regular season is drawing closer, more and more questions are popping up in Surprise. When will Salty and Hunter be ready? Will Rich Harden continue to struggle when April rolls around? Will Elvis Andrus ever be able to have a day off? Can we really expect Vlad to have a come-back year? Will Kinsler be OK to go on opening day? Remember when we were excited for the season to start?
Personally, I'm OK with Teagarden as the full-time starting catcher, and I'm not too worried about Rich Harden, especially with Matt Harrison, Dustin Nippert and CJ Wilson looking good right now. But the really troubling thing for me is the infield. When they signed Khalil Green, everything was peachy. He's a solid backup in the infield, especially at short. But when they had to release him, all of a sudden you're looking at Arias or German as backups, and neither one of them look like they can handle it. Ron Washington likes to get everybody involved, and he likes to give young players frequent rest, which is why Omar Vizquel was such a Godsend last year. If Elvis Andrus gets hurt, this team is in SERIOUS trouble. But it's not only him, because I wouldn't feel comfortable with any of the guys we have available to step in at any infield position. Arias just doesn't have what it takes, especially at the plate, and if Teagarden is the catcher, you can't afford to have another OBP black hole in the lineup.
It's a weird feeling now; it feels like we're the favorites and we're just trying to patch everything together to stay on top. But don't forget: this team hasn't really proven anything yet, and we still have holes to fill. Can the Rangers win with what they've got right now? Sure. But I, personally, would feel a lot better with someone on the bench who can actually play baseball.
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