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02/18/11 4:38 PM EST
Beltre, Hamilton get settled in at Rangers camp
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre and outfielder Josh Hamilton were both in camp on Friday, one day before the official reporting date for position players.
With Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland and the catchers already in camp, the Rangers lineup is just about here. Still missing are David Murphy, whose wife is close to giving birth to a third child, and Julio Borbon.
Plus Michael Young. But in the absence of any substantive trade discussions with other teams, Young is expected to report on Saturday and work out with the Rangers on Sunday.
"It will be good to hear his voice in the locker room and good to see his jersey in the locker," Hamilton said.
When Young arrives, it will likely be the final scene of a drama that has been playing out over six weeks, ever since the Rangers signed Beltre to a six-year, $96 million contract. Beltre signed the contract with the belief that Young was willing to move to designated hitter and "super utility" infielder. That turned out to be not quite accurate.
"There is nothing that I can do about that," Beltre said. "If you want my opinion, our team's lineup is better with him than without him. Beyond that, there is nothing I can do about it."
It has been three weeks since Young requested a trade rather than move to designated hitter. The Rangers have tried to accommodate him but it is obvious that their efforts have gone nowhere. Unless there is an unexpected development, Young is expected to stay with the Rangers.
That's what Beltre was expecting six weeks ago.
"I was thinking when I signed I was going to be with him," Beltre said. "I don't know what the situation is. I can't talk for anybody. Things happen. When he decided to say what he said, I was sad. I wanted to be in the lineup with him. The guys here have a lot of respect for him. I hope it works out and we can stay together."
If so, Beltre will be batting fourth behind Andrus, Young and Hamilton. He will be followed by Cruz, Kinsler and Moreland. He agreed that this could be the best lineup he's ever been in since arriving to the big leagues with the Dodgers in 1998.
He was given a preview of things to come when he took batting practice with Hamilton for the first time on Friday. Hamilton had pneumonia this winter, which interrupted his offseason work and he's still fighting some fatigue. But his power was on display for Beltre's viewing pleasure on Friday.
"Amazing," Beltre said. "Sometimes you feel so inferior when he's hitting. You just want to watch. It will be fun to be on his side. He's got so much talent; he can do some special things on the baseball field.
"There's no doubt this team has done some damage the last few years. I hope I can finish. Our goal is to finish what they started last year and win the World Series."
Once Young is here, the Rangers will seek closure to his situation. There is still much to be resolved but once it is, they should be able to concentrate on baseball. Few people see this as a potential distraction, especially compared to what they went through last year in Spring Training when manager Ron Washington had to publicly acknowledge his positive test for cocaine in 2009.
"What happened with Wash last year is about as bad as it gets," Hamilton said. "With Michael, this year, is not like that. He'll come in, get his work in and it will be like it normally is.
"It will be exciting. We'll see him tomorrow."
Craig Gentry, who had surgery to repair a broken right wrist last August, had a cortisone shot Thursday to help break up some scar tissue and is expected to ramp up his baseball activities in the next few days. ... The Rangers have had over 70,000 individuals register for the Opening Day tickets lottery. Fans have until noon CT on Monday to register for the lottery.