CHICAGO -- Andres Blanco started at third base on Wednesday night in the Rangers' 9-5 win over the White Sox and made two terrific barehanded plays. One was on Alexi Ramirez's bunt in the fifth inning and one was one a slow chopper by Gordon Beckham in the seventh.There were two outs and a runner on third at the time. Blanco grabbed the ball on the dead run and threw quickly to first for the out, saving a run. The play made ESPN's top 10 "SportsCenter" highlights. "That's something that makes you feel better at the end of the day," Blanco said. "Part of winning is making good plays." Even more remarkable was Blanco was in the lineup for the first time in 14 games and was making his first start at third base. "They were very good plays," manager Ron Washington said. "That's what you call instincts and athleticism. That's why he's a good infielder."
Vlad may return to lineup Friday
CHICAGO -- Vladimir Guerrero was out of the Rangers' lineup Thursday for the second consecutive game with significant swelling around the left eye. Guerrero was hit by a batted ball that ricocheted off the batting cage while he was taking batting practice before Wednesday's game.The Rangers are hopeful Guerrero will be ready to go on Friday in the series opener in Arlington against the Rays, and there has been no discussion about putting him on the disabled list. "It feels good," Guerrero said before Thursday's game. "It's less swollen. I'm going to go out and try to play tomorrow. But I knew from the time that I got up to on the way to the ballpark that I wasn't going to play." Guerrero has reported no blurriness or any other vision problems. But manager Ron Washington wanted to be cautious. "I don't know what he can see out of that eye," Washington said. "I'm not taking any chances. He's down tonight."
Griffey made quite a splash vs. Rangers
CHICAGO -- If there was an all-time All-Rangers opponent team, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. would undoubtedly be on there.Griffey played in 145 games against Texas, hitting .312 with 97 runs scored, 34 home runs and 115 RBIs. He had a .406 on-base percentage and a .575 slugging percentage against the Rangers, and Griffey is tied for the seventh-most home runs and eighth for most RBIs against them. His 1.099 OPS at Rangers Ballpark is also the fourth highest for a player with at least 100 at-bats in Arlington. Griffey had a .470 on-base percentage there, and a .629 slugging. Don't forget his defense and the great catches he made to take home runs and extra-base hits away from Ruben Sierra, Juan Gonzalez and others. Griffey's retirement ended the career of one of the Rangers' most feared and respected opponents ever in franchise history. "I'm going to try and get ahold of him and congratulate him on an incredible career," third baseman Michael Young said. "In this generation, half the guys in the big leagues, Ken Griffey was their favorite player growing up. Everybody recognizes his greatness. He was baseball royalty. To be able to compete on the same field with him is an honor I'll never forget. "I won't remember him as a DH. I'll remember him as the Mariners' center fielder who hit 56 home runs a year and made all those great catches in the Kingdome." Rangers center fielder Julio Borbon was among those who counted Griffey as his favorite player growing up. "I tried to imitate everything he did," Borbon said. "I was lucky to play against him. I met him in Spring Training back in '08 ... my first year in big league camp. We talked in the outfield before a night game in Peoria. I actually got an autographed jersey. He will always be my favorite player."
Rangers will look for an athletic Draft
CHICAGO -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and Kip Fagg, who is in his first year as director of amateur scouting, briefed the media Thursday on the upcoming First-Year Player Draft. The Rangers have the 15th, 22nd, 45th and 49th overall picks in the Draft, which begins Monday.Among items discussed: Daniels said the ownership situation won't affect who the Rangers pick: "We believe our budget will allow the flexibility we need to get the type of players we want with no restrictions." Fagg said the Rangers are looking for "high impact players. Players with high ceilings, athletic, toolsy players. Guys who have tools, athleticism and are good baseball players. Signability could be an issue for the 15th pick. That's the compensation pick for not signing first-round pick Matt Purke last year. The Rangers don't get compensation next year if they can't sign that player from this Draft. Said Fagg, "There are a lot of players we expect to be there and we really like who are signable. I don't think that's a deterrent." Daniels said signability is not the only issue with that pick.
"You can't afford any surprises," Daniels said. "If a guy fails his physical, there is no recourse. More than financial considerations, you can't afford any surprises."
Rangers pitcher Warner Madrigal has been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and was assigned to Double-A Frisco. He started the season on the disabled list with a strained elbow. ... Scott Feldman's victory on Wednesday was the second consecutive for a Rangers starting pitcher. It's only the third time this season that Texas starters have won back-to-back consecutive games. ... Matt Treanor started at catcher Thursday. Max Ramirez is expectd to be behind the plate Friday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.