03/30/07 9:59 PM ET
Notes: Sosa's spring not surprising
Rangers slugger hopes to carry success into regular season
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
But can he carry his success over to the regular season? Many say yes.
"He didn't exceed my expectations. I knew he would perform," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I never had doubt of that. All I'm doing is seeing what I thought he had. I knew if they threw balls in the wrong spot, he had the capability of hitting them out of the ballpark."
Washington is right. Sosa hit them out, hitting .404, including five home runs and 15 RBIs in 16 Cactus League games. He struck out nine times and walked three times.
"I think he is going to just be Sammy," Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. "He had a great spring. He is going to be fine and he's going to be a great contributor."
Was Sosa surprised? Of course not.
"When you work hard, you are going to get results," Sosa said. "I've prepared for this situation, this moment. I practiced hard in the winter in my country. Here, I connected with [Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo], and that was a big help too."
Despite Sosa's success during Spring Training, Washington was not ready to put the slugger in the starting lineup or in the outfield for Monday's season opener against the Angels just yet. But Washington did say when Sosa hits, it will be in the five hole.
"He showed us he can handle the job in right field, and I'm going to give him some time out there," Washington said. "I want him to be a complete ballplayer. He'll spend most of his time getting at-bats as a DH, but he also can help us on the defensive end and we'll give him that opportunity."
Sosa is ready for the challenge.
"I know there are lot of expectations," he said. "I pray that God keeps me healthy and everything will be there."
Rainout info: Fans who have tickets to Friday's rainout game between the Rangers and the Brewers in Frisco have three options if they choose to redeem their tickets for a future game.
Fans may exchange their ticket for Friday's game for two tickets to Saturday's Texas-Milwaukee exhibition game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Fans may exchange their ticket for any game with the exception of April 6-7 against Boston, May 1-3 against New York, May 25-26 against Boston, June 22-23 against Houston and July 4 against Los Angeles. Fans exercising these options need to present their tickets at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington box office.
Fans may exchange Friday's ticket for any Frisco Roughriders game at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Washington ready and waiting: Washington has been waiting for Monday's Opening Day his entire life, so don't expect the first-year manager to be too nervous.
He entered Spring Training with the same confident attitude.
"I was prepared for this job even before I came in Spring Training," he said. "This is not my first time in Spring Training. It may be my first time as a manager, but the thing that goes on in Spring Training, I've been a part of the past 12 years. There's nothing new there. The only thing is I'm writing the lineup and making all the moves. Other than that, I'm just raring to go."
The attention is new. Washington expects eight family members to attend Monday's game in Anaheim. He said 10 family members will attend the Rangers' season opener at home.
"I'm very much anticipating it just so I can put on my first set of signs, watch them execute something in the fundamental part of the game that we worked on," he said. "Make my first pitching move and from that point, let's get it on."
Quotable: "Actually, I had my boxing gloves in the drawer, ready to pull them out. I might have had to punch him out a little bit, but he didn't let me do it. He was great. We wanted to get him 13 innings and he only had seven. He'll pick it up the rest of the way." -- Washington, on Eric Gagne's reaction to the news he would be starting the season on the disabled list
Briefly: Robinson Tejeda, scheduled to start Friday for the Rangers, will start Saturday. Jamey Wright, originally scheduled to start Saturday's game, will follow him. ... The Rangers will officially announce the final roster, including whether the club is keeping pitcher Mike Wood or Bruce Chen, following Saturday night's game. "Wood's certainly done enough to make this team. Chen has done enough also," Washington said. ... The Rangers will carry 12 pitchers to start the season. "Early in the season, you never know how pitching is going to react and you've got to have backup," Washington said. "I'd rather have it in the pitching department than anything else." ... The Rangers finished their Cactus League schedule with a 15-11 record.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.