Tidbits from the Rangers' workout day
Cantu, Francoeur to be in Game 1 lineup against Rays' Price
ST. PETERSBURG -- Here are some notes and quotes from the Rangers' workout at Tropicana Field on Monday: The Rays will start left-handed pitcher David Price in Game 1, so manager Ron Washington said Jorge Cantu will start at first base and Jeff Francoeur will be in the outfield. Both are right-handed hitters and Washington said, "That's the way we've done it all year, and we're going to continue to do what's got us here." The Rangers appear to be leaning toward adding left-hander Derek Holland and right-hander Dustin Nippert to a bullpen that already includes Neftali Feliz, Darren Oliver, Darren O'Day and Alexi Ogando. That would give the Rangers six relievers. The Rangers are still debating whether to carry a seventh reliever or go with utility infielder Esteban German for his pinch-running abilities. The playoff roster doesn't have to be set until Wednesday morning, and the Rangers are going to wait before making a final decision. The Rangers are locked in with Cantu and Mitch Moreland as their first basemen. Outfielder David Murphy (strained left groin muscle) is taking batting practice but still not testing his injury with full-speed running. The Rangers are hopeful he'll be ready by Wednesday but are still waiting to see how he progresses. Josh Hamilton, in preparation for facing Price, took batting practice off left-handed reliever Clay Rapada but wasn't happy with the results. Asked if it helped, Hamilton said, "No, not really." Hamilton, coming back from his ribcage injury, on his health as of Monday: "I woke up this morning really sore. Going through the day, though, things started loosening up. I'll get the soreness out and get ready to play." Hamilton, who was originally drafted by the Rays, on returning to Tropicana Field to face his old team in the playoffs: "Really all of that is over. The first time I came back was great. I got a nice ovation. Since then, it's been the normal 'you stink' stuff. Texas is now my home. I have fond memories of the Rays, and it's cool to come back full circle from where I was to where I am now. I still root for them, except when they're playing us." Feliz was the American League Rookie of the Month for September. He had six saves and did not give up a run in 11 innings. He also set a new Major League rookie record with 40 saves on the season. Former Rangers manager Bobby Valentine will be working the Rangers-Rays series as an analyst for ESPN on their radio broadcasts. Washington on the Rangers' road troubles this season, which includes getting swept in three games at Tropicana Field back in August: "I don't think you care where you are once you get in the playoffs. We feel if we play our type of baseball, it doesn't matter whether you are at home or on the road. I'll take our best game on Wednesday, and I don't think the road will matter." Washington on the Rangers' relative lack of playoff experience: "The message I'm going to send is it's just baseball. Once the first pitch is thrown and the first catch is made, it's just playing baseball. There will be some anxious energy, but not because we're afraid. At this point, it's just who plays the best on a given day. I'll take our best game against anybody's best game -- no matter who it is -- and when it's over, I'll take my chances." Cantu was originally signed by the Rays, playing with them from 2004-07, and said, "It means a lot to be here, I couldn't pick a better spot to begin my postseason career, right where I started it all. It doesn't get any better facing your old team. But once you cross the lines, it's all battle." Cliff Lee on pitching at Tropicana Field: "It's still 60 feet, 6 inches. It's not going to rain, I know that. There's no wind. There's no rain. The elements are going to be perfect inside. For me, it's no big deal. Every place is the same unless it's windy or something. That's not going to be the case in Tampa." Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman on facing Texas: "The Rangers are an incredibly talented team. They pitch well. They've got a lot of really good offensive players. They catch the ball. They've got a power bullpen. It's definitely going to be a tough matchup. And having home field is something that can only help us. And I think it will be a good series."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.