Looking Ahead to Rangers Spring Training 2009

Rangers have looming questions in Surprise, Ariz.

The eyes of the baseball world have been straining on Alex Rodriguez’s sullied past now for almost a week. Lost in all the outrage and the hoopla is the actual season, which is rapidly approaching.

Rangers’ pitchers and catchers report this Saturday, so let’s forget about syringes and confessions for a while and talk about the anticipation and widespread hope that accompanies every spring.

The Rangers come into camp with myriad questions and an equal amount of excitement. Namely:

The dynamic between Elvis Andrus and Michael Young should be interesting, for good or for ill. It will probably be good, eventually, though learning a new position (for Young) and adapting to the Major Leagues (for Andrus) could take a considerable amount of time.

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Young pitching will be on display in Surprise, though it will only be a hint of things to come. Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz seem to be the wave of the future but, barring a ridiculously impressive showing, neither will be on the roster on opening day. Still, it should be fun to see how the two fare against big-league hitters.

Health seems to be the wild card for this Rangers team. Derrick Turnbow and Brendan Donnelly have both been among the top relievers in the league, and both have been hampered with injuries over the last few seasons. Health should be top priority for both in camp.

Other Rangers coming off injuries include Hank Blalock, Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson and Brandon McCarthy. Wilson will likely be in a setup role, if healthy, and McCarthy will battle for the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.

New, old faces will also look to return to form in Texas in 2009. Along with the aforementioned Turnbow and Donnelly, veterans Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel will fight for a spot on a young and crowded roster.

Scott Crisp is a Dallas writer. He rambles on at examiner.com/dallas.

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