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Notes: Dellucci uncertain about Classic

Outfielder having second thoughts about leaving camp

David Dellucci enters Spring Training with a good shot at playing time this season after hitting .251 with 29 homers and 65 RBIs in 2005. (Paul Battaglia/AP)

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- David Dellucci showed up for Spring Training on Monday and is in no hurry to leave.

Dellucci is supposed to go to Florida in March to train with Italy for the World Baseball Classic, but the Rangers outfielder is clearly having second thoughts about that.

"It's a tough time for it," Dellucci said. "It's a tough decision for me. The closer it gets, the harder it is for me to leave here. This is my team and this is my job.

"I'm going to think it over. I was with my girlfriend talking about it, putting up the pros and cons and it was kind of lopsided."

There is also a matter of competing for a job. Dellucci is going to get playing time after hitting .251 with 97 runs scored, 29 home runs and 65 RBIs in 2005.

That's easily his best year in the Major Leagues, but the Rangers outfield/designated hitter situation is crowded with Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench, Gary Matthews Jr. and Laynce Nix, as well as DH Phil Nevin.

"Competition is nothing new for me," Dellucci said. "I've had to prove myself every year. If it was different, something is wrong. But I've shown I can perform on a consistent basis. I batted leadoff for most of last year and did a pretty good job.

"I've shown I can bat first, bat fifth and hit for power. My job right now though is to get ready for the season."

Dellucci is also concerned that he is not the greatest player when it comes to Spring Training, although he hit .255 with two home runs and eight RBIs last year in Arizona.

"Usually I come down here and struggle, and then the last week, I turn it on and I'm ready for the season," Dellucci said. "I'm making that prediction early enough so that I'm not making excuses. But that's part of my concern."

Even if he decides not to play for Italy, which seems to be which way he is leaning, Dellucci said the process has been worthwhile.

"The best part is I've learned a lot about my family," Dellucci said. "I had to come up with so many documents to prove I was Italian. I learned so much that I never knew before.

"I dug up the boat certificate that my great-grandfather had when he came over to this country. That's a pretty neat deal."

Closer Francisco Cordero is also undecided about playing in the WBC and said Monday that he has not made a decision.

Castro impresses: The early buzz in camp is over left-handed pitcher Fabio Castro. Castro, who turned 21 last month and stands 5-foot-8, was acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Royals after being taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Chicago White Sox.

"He has a really good arm," catcher Rod Barajas said. "You can see the potential with him. He's got a great fastball and, on top of that, he threw a few changeups to me that were above average. As far as the breaking ball, it moves a ton, it's just a matter of getting it across."

Despite the trade, Castro is still a Rule 5 pick and would have to be offered back to the White Sox if he doesn't stay on the 25-man roster all season. Teams have been known to keep Rule 5 picks by trading for them, but they have to clear waivers first.

The Rangers believe he would be claimed and may clear a spot in the bullpen for him.

"You hope he pitches well enough to make us keep him," manager Buck Showalter said.

Team meeting: The Rangers were holding their annual team meeting Monday night on the eve of the first full-squad workouts.

In the past, Showalter has held the meeting at Luke Air Force Base, which is directly south of the Rangers complex. This year, it's being held across the street at the public library.

"I've got a couple of things I want to say," Showalter said. "Most of it is stating the obvious. This team has been through a lot together, they know where we fell short. I'm not going to insult their intelligence."

Owner Tom Hicks also flew in to Arizona to address the team at the meeting.

Knuckleball option: The Rangers are expected to have all right-handers in the rotation, and one concern is the similarity of style may allow opponents to get comfortable.

One option to counter that is including knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the rotation, and club officials have made it clear he is a candidate for the fifth spot.

"It would be a different look for sure," Showalter said. "He's going to get a good chance. That would certainly break up the pattern. But at the same time, you're going to take your five best pitchers."

Loe keeps pushing: Pitching coach Mark Connor said early in camp that Kameron Loe has been throwing in the bullpen like it's Game 7 of the World Series.

Showalter said that's no longer that case.

"It's now more like the sixth game," Showalter quipped.

Loe is expected to be Texas' fourth starter, but with a long line of good young pitchers in camp, he's not taking that for granted. He's out to win that job.

"If you don't have that feeling, something's wrong," Loe said. "Every single guy in here wants that job as badly as I do. It's up to me to work hard, win that job and make the most of it."

Briefly: The Rangers are expected to know by Tuesday if designated hitter Erubiel Durazo will accept their offer of a Minor League contract. Talks with outfielder Danny Bautista seem to have ended. ... First baseman Mark Teixeira's wife, Leigh, delivered a baby boy early Monday. Jack Gordon is the couple's first child. ... Those expected to miss Tuesday's workout are pitcher Armando Galarraga and infielder Aaron Baldiris, who are trying to get their visa situations taken care of in Venezuela, and pitcher Omar Beltre, who also has visa problems in the Dominican Republic. Third baseman Travis Metcalf is being brought over from the Minor League camp, at least until Baldiris arrives. ... Rookie pitcher Thomas Diamond sought out veteran pitcher Kevin Millwood for some advice on his mechanics.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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