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In Center Field Battle, Flaws Are Front and Center

Flaws Front and Center in CF Battle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Julio Borbon got the start in center field on Tuesday afternoon and he didn't waste much time making an argument in the battle for the starting job.

    Unfortunately, Borbon made the argument that he shouldn't be in the mix for the job. After using his terrific speed to run down a well-hit ball, Borbon watched the ball pop out of his glove and hit the grass for a triple. It's the kind of thing we saw pretty often from Borbon last season until the team finally gave up hope and moved in other directions.

    Borbon made another poor defensive play later in the game when he failed to cut off a ball. It was as if he wanted to make sure that everyone associated with the Rangers got a chance to make their ultimate decision in center with the full recognition that Borbon is far too inconsistent to really trust with the starting job.

    Craig Gentry has done a bit of that himself this spring. Gentry's battled injuries since the start of camp, continuing a trend that stopped him from getting the lion's share of work in center last year after the team moved on from Borbon.

    He's done other things well, including using his speed to beat out two infield hits on Tuesday, but every day he misses with aches and pains is another day that keeps Borbon and Leonys Martin in the mix.

    Martin doesn't have the red flags that Borbon and Gentry have working against them, but he also doesn't have that much working in his favor. There's certainly skill there, but the Cuban refugee hasn't been playing pro ball for a full year yet and, as a result, he needs some polish before he can seriously get into the mix for playing time.

    So that leaves Borbon and Gentry as the two poisons available for the Rangers' choosing. Gentry has been the favorite throughout camp, which makes it hard to believe that Borbon could pass him while he's still dropping fly balls in center field. With Josh Hamilton still slated to spend some time in center, Gentry's injury history isn't as big of a concern as it might be if he was expected to play 150-odd games this season.

    Still, it would be nice to seem him go out and win this job before the month is out instead of simply staying ahead because his flaw is less egregious than that of his competition.