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Rua Leading LF Derby After Rough Start

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    Ryan Rua #16 of the Texas Rangers (R) high fives batting coach Dave Magadan #14 after a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim the MLB game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Rua hit a solo home run in the ninth inning that turned out to be the game-winning run. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

    After having a nice showing in a September call-up last year, the Texas Rangers had basically decided that a bulked up Ryan Rua would essentially have the starting left field job to lose heading into spring training as the front runner of a bunch of relative no-names and a couple of veterans trying to catch on.

    And for a good while, Rua did his best to lose the job as he had more strikeouts than hits in his first 23 Cactus League at-bats.

    But since then, Rua has turned it around and had another big game at the plate on Monday night against the Reds with a bases-clearing double and a triple to help the Rangers tie the Reds.

    “As spring goes on, I feel myself getting more and more comfortable,” Rua told the Star-Telegram. “I’ve seen a lot of pitches, had a lot of 3-2 counts. Overall I feel like I’ve progressed well over the last few weeks. “It’s definitely a good thing getting that confidence going.”

    The left field job appears to be between Rua and fellow youngster Jake Smolinski, who also excelled in a small sample in 2014 and was outshining Rua early in the spring. But now Rua appears to have taken the lead back in the derby, and deep down, that seems to be just what the Rangers wanted.