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07/01/08 7:30 PM ET

Hicks excited about young Rangers

Texas owner believes solid pitching could bring playoff berth

NEW YORK -- The Rangers' infusion of youth has one big supporter.

Owner Tom Hicks was at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night to watch his team play, and he is feeling good about what he's seeing lately, certainly much better than he was earlier in the season, when his club lost 16 of 23 games. The contributions the Rangers have been getting from their young players is a reason why.

"I like these kids," Hicks said. "I remember we had a sponsorship event in January, and Ian Kinsler told me, 'Mr. Hicks, you watch, I'm going to be a leader on this team.' I said, 'That's great, Ian.' But that's just what he's done. We have great leadership on this team from some solid veterans. You start mixing in young players, and that makes me feel excited about the next few years."

This year is far from over, and the Rangers went into Tuesday's game against the Yankees with a 43-41 record and 6 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West. Hicks has far from given up on the possibility of the Rangers competing for a playoff spot this year.

"Who's to say?" Hicks said. "[Manager] Ron Washington thinks so, and I'm not going to argue with Ron. It's all about pitching. We've got to get good starting pitching and good bullpen pitching. We've had both, but we've got to make sure we have them at the same time."

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