We're still a couple of months away from spring training being in full swing, and 2 1/2 months away from the Texas Rangers taking the field in Houston for the March 31, nationally televised opener.
Heck, the Rangers could still see a couple of personnel changes before that time, possibly even a big one involving someone like Justin Upton. But if we're betting money, we're thinking the Rangers will go into the season with the team they have constructed this offseason, and manager Ron Washington said Thursday that he already has the top part of his lineup made out in his mind.
Washington said Ian Kinsler will once again hit leadoff, even though he drew some ire from Rangers fans after an awful 2012 season that led to many folks calling for Elvis Andrus to move to the No. 1 spot in the lineup. But Washington will stick with his guy and hope Kinsler can get back to the production he put up in 2011 when he proved he's the sparkplug for the Rangers' offense. Andrus, of course, will hit second.
Washington tabbed newly acquired Lance Berkman as the No. 3 hitter, replacing the departed Josh Hamilton and has Adrian Beltre hitting in the cleanup spot as he has for the past two seasons. Washington said he's planning on having Nelson Cruz hit fifth in the Rangers' lineup.
That leaves A.J. Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland, David Murphy and the center field platoon of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin to fill out the everyday lineup.