SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Martin Perez and right-hander Neil Ramirez are making quick impressions in their first Major League camp. Both are two highly regarded pitching prospects and are showing why here in the first few days."They're young and they can manipulate the ball down in the zone," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Martin has looked impressive and Neil Ramirez has stood out," said Danny Clark, the Rangers' Minor League pitching coordinator. "Those two guys are impressive in how they are handling big league camp." Perez, who is ranked 29th in MLB.com's list of Top 100 prospects, has a shot at winning a job as a left-handed reliever even though he has been a starter for most of his Minor League career. "We're looking at all of them," Washington said. "He's here and he's left-handed. ... If he proves to be better than the others, then that's something we'll look at. He's in big league camp. He's not here to collect the meal money."
Throwing live BP, poised Darvish 'locked in'
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Professionalism and mound presence. Those are the two things that stood out for Rangers officials as they watched Yu Darvish throw his second live batting practice of Spring Training on Saturday."Just watching him work, he's locked in what he is doing," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Darvish threw 22 pitches over five minutes with Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate. Minor Leaguers Mike Olt and Jake Skole were the hitters. Danny Clark, Texas' Minor League pitching coordinator, stood behind the mound and said Darvish's approach to the workout is something young pitchers can emulate.
"When he is on the mound, his presence is very good," Clark said. "Young pitchers, especially when front-office types come around, have trouble keeping their presence. I thought he was locked in. You could tell it wasn't just another exercise."Darvish did not speak after the workout. Torrealba spoke with him and said Darvish wasn't happy with the command of his fastball. "His command was a little bit off ... a little bit wild," Torrealba said. "I thought he did a good job. He used all his pitches and his two-seamer [sinker] was money." Darvish will throw again Monday, but this time to Major League hitters.
Utility infielder watch begins
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Ron Washington did some early infield work with Luis Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte on Saturday. He will do the same with Alberto Gonzalez and Greg Miclat on Sunday. They are the four candidates in camp to be the utility infielder.The Rangers aren't sure who will fill that role, but Washington remains adamant that it will be somebody who can play shortstop. "Be able to catch the ball and do the little things," Washington said. Gonzalez has the most Major League experience of the four. He has played 378 games over the past five seasons with the Yankees, Nationals and Padres. That includes 124 games at shortstop. Hernandez has played 120 games with the Orioles, Royals and Mets, including 80 games at shortstop. Miclat, acquired from the Orioles for catcher Taylor Teagarden, and Solarte, a Minor League free agent, have never played above Double-A. Solarte, who hit .329 last year at Double-A in the Twins' organization, has the least experience playing shortstop.
Full-squad workouts to commence Sunday
All Rangers players have reported to camp and the first full-squad workout takes place on Sunday morning. Infielder Michael Young reported on Saturday and joined the workouts on the back fields.Manager Ron Washington will meet with his team before the workout and give his annual speech. It is likely to be short and to the point. "Stay healthy, that's the main thing," Washington. "Our focus should be getting ready for the 2012 season." Washington isn't likely to bring up Game 6 of the World Series when the Rangers were one strike away from winning it all. "I never thought about it," Washington said. "They know about Game 6." "I don't think it's a big deal," Young said. "My mind is the same it has been the last few years. This team has been very successful. We didn't achieve the ultimate goal, but we still did great work and we're going to keep after it. We're going to focus on putting on the uniform and beating people."
Michael Young played one game at shortstop last year, but manager Ron Washington said he could play there this spring. Said Washington, "I'm not afraid to put Michael at shortstop." Shortstop Elvis Andrus is going to be limited for the next few days after having a plantar's wart removed from his left heel on Friday. Washington on the difference between left-handed starters Derek Holland and Matt Harrison: "Derek Holland is a power pitcher. Matt Harrison has power, but also some finesse. Harrison has a better feel for his offspeed stuff. When Holland first came up, he had a wicked changeup. He needs to get that back and keep developing his breaking ball." Pitchers have been throwing live batting practice to Minor League hitters. On Sunday, they'll start throwing to Major League hitters. Washington said some of them will swing and some will just "track" pitches. Said Washington, "It's up to the hitter." Washington said he was impressed that Julio Borbon played a full season of winter ball. Said Washington, "That means he cares and wants to get better."
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.