Ryan Rua was most likely the Texas Rangers' preference all along to come out of the spring winning the starting left field job from the time the Rangers decided to keep the job in-house and not go sign a free agent to fill it.
It was basically between Rua and fellow youngster Jake Smolinski, and despite his slow start to the spring, Rua ended up running away with the job as the favorite over the past month or so.
“I like the upside of Ryan,” new manager Jeff Banister told reporters. “He got off to a shaky start, but after he calmed down, the power showed up, the ability to hit the ball the other way showed up. There will be some growth there for him, but I like him.”
Rua is tied with Smolinski this spring for the team lead with eight extra-base hits, and his September call-up last year resulted in an eye-popping 14 RBIs in 28 games to go with seven doubles and two homers.
Rua appeared serious about improving this year as he reported to spring training noticeably bulked up from last year. It'll be really interesting to see what he does given a larger sample and after pitchers start to get a book on him.