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Notes: Strength in the message
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05/23/2003  9:16 PM ET 
Notes: Strength in the message
By Jesse Sanchez / Vote now for the 2003 All-Star game
John Thomson has increased his stamina under Rangers strengthening coach Fernando Montes. (Aaron Harris/AP)
ARLINGTON -- One of the first things Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez did last week when the Rangers were in Boston was walk across the diamond at Fenway Park and thank Rangers strength and conditioning director Fernando Montes.

"I've known Manny for so long," said Montes, who worked with Ramirez while both were in Cleveland. "He just said thanks for showing him what it takes to stay in shape in the big leagues. He said I'm one of the reasons he still does what he does."

Montes' strict regimen of daily exercise and weightlifting is also paying dividends for the Rangers. Pitcher John Thomson credited Montes for increasing his strength and stamina after throwing a complete game last week. Rafael Palmeiro credits Montes for helping him maintain his durability.

"Fernando is about as good as it gets," Palmeiro said. "He has some new things, but change can be good."

Part of Montes' routine in Spring Training was an obstacle course, work in the swimming pool, and the "Ranger Run" -- an exercise similar to running the lines on a basketball court. During the season, starting pitchers use a program designed to maintain their endurance. Position players and the bullpen also have specially designed workouts.

The work is beginning to pay off, Montes said.

"I see improvement in individuals and I pretty much see it every day," he said. "The players' bodies are changing and developing more muscle. I'm not here to make them bulky, but to maintain a good weight to maximize their potential."

Montes said he heard a little whining and complaining about his workouts in Spring Training, but all that has changed. The players know the hard work will help them in the long run.

Just ask Ramirez.

"Which teachers do you remember the most? The ones that were hard on you, right?," Montes said. "This is kind of the same thing except for these kids are a lot older and a whole lot richer."

Helling returns: Former Rangers pitcher Rick Helling returned to Texas on Friday and is scheduled to start against the Rangers for the first time Sunday. He and his family are staying at the home of former Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver.

Helling went 68-51 in parts of eight seasons with the Rangers from 1994 to 2001. His 687 strikeouts with the Rangers rank him eighth on the club's all-time list.

"It's going to be different, but I'm going to try to treat it as much as a regular game as I can," Helling said.

Rehab updates: Doug Glanville started in center field for Triple-A Oklahoma on Friday and could join the Rangers as early as next Tuesday in Tampa Bay. Glanville had arthroscopic surgery on a torn hamstring tendon behind his left knee on April 23.

Chan Ho Park will make his fourth rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Frisco. On Thursday, he allowed 13 hits and seven earned runs with four home runs in a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma. Park has been on the disabled list with a strained lower back since April 28.

Monthly luncheon info: Rafael Palmeiro and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew will appear at the DR Pepper Texas Rangers Luncheon on Friday, June 13, at the Diamond Club. The luncheon, which begins at 11:45 a.m., will honor Palmeiro for reaching the 500 home-run mark.

Tickets can be purchased at the luncheon or by calling (817) 273-5100.

Around the horn: Alex Rodriguez received the 2002 Babe Ruth Home Run Award in a ceremony prior to Friday's game. Ruth's grandson, Tom Stevens, presented Rodriguez the bronze sculpture of "The Babe". ...On Saturday, the first 8,000 children in attendance will receive an Alex Rodriguez blue bat courtesy of Powerade. ...Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and George P. Bush, the son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew of President George W. Bush, each threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Upcoming: Saturday vs. Baltimore (7:05) -- Omar Daal (2-5, 5.03) vs. John Thomson (3-4, 4.78)
Sunday vs. Baltimore (2:05) -- Rick Helling (2-4, 5.56) vs. Joaquin Benoit (2-1, 4.56).

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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