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2009 Texas Rangers

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Spring training site

Surprise, Ariz.

2008 record

79-83, second in AL West (21 games behind Angels)

New faces

OF Andruw Jones (free agent, Dodgers); SS Omar Vizquel (free agent, Giants); RHP Derrick Turnbow (free agent, Brewers); LHP Eddie Guardado (free agent, Twins)

Biggest offseason acquisition

A year at the bargain bin for the Rangers. A few years ago, all of the above players were All-Stars. But none of the four even received a major-league deal this offseason. Jones has more upside than the others, if he can figure out why his production the last two seasons fell off a cliff. But of the four, Jones is the one who's probably least likely to make the opening-day roster.

Gone but not forgotten

OF/DH Milton Bradley (free agent, to Cubs); C Gerald Laird (trade, to Tigers); IF Ramon Vazquez (free agent, to Pirates); RHP Jamey Wright (free agent, to Royals); RHP Kameron Loe (to Japan)

Spring training battles

The infield will have to shake out, as Michael Young is moving from shortstop to third to make room for 20-year-old prospect Elvis Andrus, who has promise with big-league hitting ability but isn't quite there with the glove (32 errors in Double-A; enter Vizquel as player/coach). And as usual, this team has some gaping holes in the starting rotation.

Projected lineup

  • 2B Ian Kinsler
  • 3B Michael Young
  • CF Josh Hamilton
  • RF Nelson Cruz
  • DH Hank Blalock
  • LF David Murphy or Marlon Byrd
  • 1B Chris Davis
  • C Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden
  • SS Elvis Andrus

Projected starting rotation

  • RHP Kevin Millwood
  • RHP Vincente Padilla
  • RHP Scott Feldman
  • LHP Matt Harrison
  • RHP Brandon McCarthy

Projected bullpen

  • RHP Frank Francisco (closer)
  • LHP C.J. Wilson
  • LHP Eddie Guardado
  • RHP Derrick Turnbow
  • RHP Warner Madrigal
  • RHP Josh Rupe
  • RHP Dustin Nippert

Biggest strength

1-2-3 in the order, no doubt. Kinsler, Young and Hamilton are three of the best in the majors, and Cruz could be on his way. This is a team that's well-stocked in the minors as well.

Glaring weakness

The two top pitchers in the rotation each have a history of injuries, which doesn't bode well. Manager Ron Washington could have his hands full managing this pitching staff.

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