02/15/2013 4:45 PM ET
Rangers letting Nathan take his time in camp
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers want closer Joe Nathan pitching well in September and October. They couldn't care less about February and March.
So watch for the Rangers to take it slowly with their 38-year-old reliever this spring. The first sign of that is Nathan is doing his throwing in the bullpen and not doing live batting practice against hitters like the rest of the staff. It's just a hint that the Rangers want to be careful with Nathan, especially since Spring Training is a week longer this year because of the World Baseball Classic.
Nathan will probably start throwing to live hitters sometime next week and isn't expected to pitch in early Cactus League games.
"It's just a longer spring so why push it now," Nathan said.
Nathan was 37-for-40 in save opportunities for the Rangers last year and finished with a 2.80 ERA while opponents hit .231 off him. He had two blown saves and a 4.15 ERA in September, but Nathan said that doesn't necessarily mean he wore down at the end of the season.
"To say I was tired? No," Nathan said. "I felt the same in September as I did in April. You see certain hitters a lot during the course of the season and if you make a mistake, they're going to hit it because they have seen you more. You leave a pitch in the wrong spot, you have less of a chance to get away with it in September than in April."
Rangers to discuss extension with Murphy
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers outfielder David Murphy can be a free agent after this season, but he is hoping to head that off during Spring Training. The Rangers are planning to have conversations with his agent, Michael Moye, this spring about a multi-year contract extension.
Murphy agreed to a one-year deal worth $5,775,000 last month to avoid an arbitration hearing. At the time, the two sides agreed to continue talking about a multi-year deal during Spring Training.
"I would love to do it, it makes a lot of sense for me," Murphy said. "I was born and raised in Texas, I now play four hours away from where I grew up, my family has a house the Dallas-Fort Worth area, for my family and me, this is a great situation."
The discussions about an extension come at a time when Murphy enters camp as the Rangers' everyday left fielder. In the past, he has been dealing with the label of fourth outfielder, but that no longer applies. That gives the Rangers reason to discuss a long-term deal and it gives Murphy confidence that he doesn't need to find another team that would give him more playing time.
"I think if we can find some middle ground on the financial terms, I won't be making what a bench player or a platoon player makes," Murphy said. "So I think it will be obvious on both sides that since we agreed on a middle ground, I would be in the position I want to be in."
The Rangers use Spring Training to negotiate long-term extensions with key players. They did so with pitcher Derek Holland and second baseman Ian Kinsler last season.
Nelson Cruz is also a free agent after the upcoming season. The Rangers had planned to discuss an extension with him during Spring Training, but that could be complicated by Major League Baseball's investigation into Cruz's link with the Miami wellness clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs.
Profar still undecided about playing in Classic
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar said he is still undecided about playing in the World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands. Profar, who is from Curacao, is on the provisional roster for the Netherlands and has to make a decision sometime next week.
"It's tough," Profar said. "There are a lot of things to think about."
Profar admitted he is getting pressure back home to play in the tournament. But he also knows that staying in camp would increase his chances of winning a spot on the Opening Day roster in a meaningful utility role.
"That's going to be important," Profar said.
The Rangers are letting Profar make the decision and said they will support him either way.
Profar is not going to play regularly for the Rangers unless there is an injury. He is effectively blocked by shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Ian Kinsler. But the Rangers will consider keeping Profar on the team if they can find a meaningful utility role for him.
That is probably going to be a long shot. The Rangers are far more likely to send Profar to Triple-A Round Rock so he can play regularly rather than having him sit on the bench too much.
If there is a chance to make the team, Profar said he wants to take advantage of it.
"I just want to be here and do everything I can to be here," Profar said. "I just have to play and then show them what I can do. Then they have to choose."
Berkman arrives to camp without glove
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman arrived in camp on Friday and worked out. However, he admitted that he forgot to pack a glove.
"I have plenty of gloves at home, I just forgot to pack one," Berkman said.
Berkman signed a one-year deal as a free agent with the Rangers in the offseason with the idea that he would be primarily the designated hitter. He can play both first base and the outfield, but he is coming off surgery on his right knee and is still in the rehabilitation process.
Berkman said the knee is about "80 percent" right now and he expects to be at full strength by the end of the spring. That could allow him to at least play first base or the outfield. He just needs to find a glove.
"I'll either borrow one or get one tomorrow," Berkman said.
• Third baseman Adrian Beltre said he is still planning to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but won't make a final decision until next week. Said Beltre, "I'm going to see how it feels the next couple of days. If my body feels good, I'm going to go. If not, I'm staying here."
• Right-handed reliever Joakim Soria threw 20 pitches in the bullpen on Friday without a problem. He'll throw again on Monday as he continues to recover from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
• Reliever Justin Miller, who is on a similar schedule, will also throw 20 pitches in the bullpen on Saturday. Colby Lewis (flexor tendon) and Roman Mendez (stress fracture) are both throwing long-toss.
• The Rangers confirmed they have signed outfielder Todd McDonald, 17, as an amateur free agent out of Australia. The Rangers signed him in January. Said general manager Jon Daniels, "He's an interesting guy. He hasn't played a lot at a high level but he has a real advanced feel to hitting and he can run."
• All 63 players have arrived in camp and will be on the field for Saturday's first official full-squad workout
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.