Kinsler may be next to land big extension
Rangers infielder negotiating six-year deal as opener nears
ARLINGTON -- With less than three days to go before the start of the season, the Rangers are still trying to negotiate a possible six-year contract extension with infielder Ian Kinsler.Rangers general manager Jon Daniels acknowledged the club has had multiple conversations with players at the close of Spring Training. There has been a flurry of contract extensions signed around the league in the past few days, and Kinsler could join the group by Opening day if the two sides can reach agreement on financial parameters. "We're not expecting anything, but we've had some open positive conversations on a couple of fronts," general manager Jon Daniels said. "All it takes is one conversation to pick something up again. If you had asked in January or February, I would have told you that we were not getting a deal done with Derek Holland. But things change. I'm not expecting to get anything done but I'm open-minded." Holland signed a five-year extension in Spring Training. Kinsler is signed through this season with a club option of $10 million for 2013. Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Colby Lewis can be free agents after the season. Kinsler would prefer not to negotiate during the season. Napoli is open to it, while Hamilton would prefer it be done quietly. "Our philosophy is not to negotiate during the season and let it be a distraction," Daniels said. "If we are able to handle it quietly and not let it be a distraction, we might be willing to do it. We take it on a case-by-case basis. We just don't want it to be a distraction."
Tateyama likely on the disabled list
ARLINGTON -- Yoshinori Tateyama, who hasn't pitched since Thursday, is expected to start the season on the disabled list because of stiffness in his lower back. General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers will likely make a final decision before Wednesday's game against Double-A Frisco."I would say it's more than likely that he'll open on the disabled list," Daniels said. That would leave the Rangers with a bullpen of closer Joe Nathan, left-hander Robbie Ross and right-handers Mike Adams, Mark Lowe, Koji Uehara, Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando. Since March 23, those seven relievers have a combined 2.21 ERA. The Rangers also found out Tuesday that pitcher Neal Cotts will not throw for at least a month because of a strained lat muscle in his left side. He injured the muscle on Saturday while pitching against the Indians, keeping him from winning a spot in the bullpen.
Darvish makes final spring start Wednesday
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish will make his final start of the spring at 2:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday when he pitches against Double-A Frisco at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. Darvish made four starts in the Cactus League and finished with a 3.60 ERA while opponents hit .226 off him."Each time he has taken the ball, he's gotten better," Washington said. "That's the process of Spring Training. He's getting a feel for the baseball, he's getting a feel for what his catchers are trying to do. They're working together to get comfortable and he's getting comfortable." Darvish is expected to throw 60-65 pitches over four innings on Tuesday. He is scheduled to make his first Major League start on Monday against the Mariners at the Ballpark in Arlington. "The one thing I have been pleased with is his transition in the clubhouse and with his teammates," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It was a complete non-factor. We've still got a whole season ahead of us, but he gets along with his teammates, he's a hard worker and he's made an effort to fit in within the dynamics of our clubhouse, the coaching staff and the manager. I thought that was a positive."
Darvish gave Scott Coolbaugh's son, Tyler, a framed autographed jersey from the Nippon Ham Fighters. He did so because Coolbaugh gave up his No. 11 jersey for Darvish.
Gentry, Snyder express relief
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Craig Gentry and infielder Brandon Snyder knew it would be close. But both will be with the Rangers on Friday and will get to experience Opening Day for the first time in the Major Leagues."I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sweating it, but I can't focus on that," said Gentry, who was 5-for-36 in the spring and had to battle through some injuries to make the team. "It was a learning experience definitely, I just have to build on that and grow as a player. Playing with tension is tough. I need to relax and let my ability shine though. That's what I got from Spring Training, just relax and have confidence and be the player I know I can be." Snyder was acquired from the Orioles for cash considerations in the offseason and made the team as a right-handed bat off the bench. He can catch, play first and third base and is learning to play the outfield. The Rangers kept him over Julio Borbon. "I'm still sweating it out," Snyder said. "I was trying not to think about it, I just tried to keep my head down and work hard. It was a big sigh of relief when they told me I was on the team, but there is still a lot of work to be done." Alberto Gonzalez also made the team as a utility infielder, but this will be his fourth straight Opening Day in the Majors. He was with the Nationals in 2009-10 and the Padres in 2011.
Kinsler's 1.148 OPS during exhibition games against Major League teams was the sixth highest in Spring Training. He recorded a .419 on-base percentage and a .729 slugging percentage. Arizona outfielder Chris Young had the highest at 1.287. The Rangers have 39 players on their 40-man roster and will have to make room for both Robbie Ross and Alberto Gonzalez for Opening Day. That means one player will have to come off. One option is to put Matt West (elbow) on the 60-day disabled list. Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't concerned that his team's final three exhibition games will come against Minor League teams. Said Washington, "Pitching is pitching, whether it's Major League pitching or not. When we left Arizona, we were tearing up some Major League pitching. They just need to see pitching and keep their timing. Pitching is pitching, we've done this before."
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.