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Do Rangers Have Their Bench Bat?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (18) is upended by Chicago Cubs' Jeff Baker during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park on Tuesday, July 5, 2011, in Washington. Baker was out at second and Aramis Ramirez at first on a double play. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    The biggest glaring weakness the Texas Rangers have had over the past few years, especially in 2010 and 2011 when they were beaten in the World Series playing under National League rules, has been the quality of their bench and the availability of capable pinch-hitters.

    This year, the Rangers might have their secret weapon as veteran utility man Jeff Baker is having quite the spring in his quest to make the Rangers' 25-man roster.

    In Thursday's Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians — the Rangers' first spring victory — Baker went 3-for-3 at the dish after picking up two hits in his last outing.

    Baker is an eight-year veteran, who is trying to make his fifth team after playing for three teams last year. He's played first base, second base, third base, right field and left field during his career and has a career batting average of .266 with 37 homers and 178 RBIs.

    Other bench possibilities include Mike Olt, who seems likely to make the club because of his defensive versatility and Jurickson Profar, who is probably less likely because the front office wants him to play every day and he's roadblocked at shortstop and second base.