03/23/12 1:30 AM ET
Hawpe has busy day in quest to make squad
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
"It's good," Hawpe said between the two games. "It will be good to get some at-bats. I'll take tomorrow as a recovery day and then get back at it. I feel good. I didn't swing the bat good in the first game, but hopefully I can make up for it in the second game."
Hawpe, who has missed time this spring with hamstring issues, had a double in three at-bats in the Rangers' 6-2 loss to the Reds, and is now 3-for-15 (.200) in the Cactus League. A home run against the Brewers was washed out of the statistics by rain. He continues his quest to earn a spot on the Rangers' Opening Day roster.
Both he and Conor Jackson are going to get as much playing time as possible in the waning days of Spring Training in the battle for the final spot on the bench. Jackson played nine innings in the first game against the Cubs and was 0-for-4. He is now 2-for-28 (.071) on the spring.
"They just need to show what they can do," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We know they can swing the bat, we just want to see them swing the bat."
Hawpe was signed primarily to be insurance at first base in case Mitch Moreland had a setback with his surgically repaired right wrist. That has not been a problem.
But Hawpe is also coming off Tommy John surgery on Aug. 5, and it prevents him from playing the outfield. He can play first base without a problem, but he hasn't done any throwing from the outfield in Spring Training. That is not likely to happen before the Rangers leave camp.
The Rangers have Michael Young and Mike Napoli to back up Moreland at first base. The last spot on the bench is likely going to go to an outfielder. It may end up being Craig Gentry.
Gentry is competing with Julio Borbon for the center-field position. If it really is a true competition, Borbon is winning by a knockout. Gentry, who has been set back by injury, was 0-for-4 on Thursday afternoon and is 3-for-22 (.136) this spring. Borbon had two hits, including a home run, on Thursday night and is now 10-for-29 (.345).
The candidates may end up sharing time out there the way Endy Chavez and Gentry did for the final four months of last season. Borbon and Gentry may both sit if Washington decides to use Josh Hamilton in center and David Murphy in left. The situation remains fluid.
"We haven't made a decision yet," Washington said.
The Rangers are also looking for a utility infielder, with Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Hernandez the primary candidates. Gonzalez was 1-for-3 on Thursday night and is hitting .308 for the spring.
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.