02/20/2013 7:15 PM ET
Lindblom fans side in intrasquad game
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Josh Lindblom made his first appearance in game conditions for the Rangers and made quite an impression during Wednesday's intrasquad game. He struck out Craig Gentry, Geovany Soto and Mike Olt in his one inning of work. Gentry whiffed on a slider and the other two were dismissed on fastballs.
"The first group of live batting practices, they were kind of under what I expect of myself," Lindblom said. "My fastball consistency wasn't what I wanted and I wasn't able to throw my breaking ball for strikes. I worked on some things yesterday. Today, the biggest thing was my fastball command. It was down on both sides of the zone. If you do it, you're going to have success."
Lindblom was one of two pitchers acquired by the Rangers from the Phillies in a trade for Michael Young in the offseason. The Rangers are counting on him to be one of their primary right-handed setup relievers, but Lindblom is still eager to make a good impression on the Rangers.
"Any camp you come into, whether you're guaranteed a spot or not ... you look around this clubhouse, there's a lot of ability, so you have to come in and compete for a job because there are no guarantees," Lindblom said. "You look at last year, I thought I'd be in LA for a long time, then I got traded to Philly and now here. There are no guarantees. You have to come in and compete for your spot."
Lindblom was the pitching star for Jackie Moore's veteran-laden team that beat Bobby Jones' squad, 10-4, in the intrasquad game.
Berkman, Beltre to miss early Cactus League play
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Designated hitter Lance Berkman is not expected to be ready when the Rangers open Cactus League play on Friday because he is now dealing with a strained right calf muscle.
Adrian Beltre is dealing with the same issue and both players remain day-to-day on the Rangers' medical report. Berkman went through a full workout on Tuesday without any problems, but noticed some extra soreness on Wednesday.
"It's slightly more than normal muscle soreness, but I don't think it's anything to worry about," Berkman said.
Berkman came into camp still recovering from surgery on his right knee and did not play in either intrasquad game. Beltre also missed both intrasquad games and isn't expected to play in the early Cactus League games either. The Rangers open on Friday in the first of three straight games against the Royals in Surprise.
"If this were the World Series, I would be in there," Berkman said.
Garcia receives Classic invite from Dominican team
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers infielder Leury Garcia has been invited to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. If Garcia accepts, he will probably be used in a limited utility role for a team that is as deep in talent as any in the tournament. Their infielders include Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes.
"It's a big honor for him," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It shows you what kind of winter ball season he had down there. I just don't know how much he'll play down there. They have a stacked lineup."
Garcia, the Rangers' No. 19 prospect, faces the same decision as Jurickson Profar, who decided not to play for the Netherlands because he wanted to stay in camp with the Rangers. Profar, MLB.com's No. 1 overall prospect, felt that staying in camp increases his chances of making the team as a utility infielder.
Garcia, a switch-hitting middle infielder, also has a chance to make the team in a similar role. The Rangers were also going to look at him in the outfield, as well, so he is expressing the same reluctance to play in the WBC.
"I will see what the Rangers say and if I got a chance to make the big leagues, I might not go," Garcia said. "But representing the Dominican would be a lot of fun, so we'll see."
Magadan makes good use of bad weather
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Bad weather drove the Rangers indoors on Wednesday morning, but they put that time to good use. Hitting coach Dave Magadan used it for his first collective meeting with all his hitters. With Cactus League games approaching on Friday, Magadan wants his players to start embracing the Rangers' overall approach to hitting.
Summed up succinctly, Magadan wants his player to be "tough outs" and find different ways to score runs rather than waiting for the three-run home run.
"Obviously, they did a lot of things right," Magadan said. "Everybody knows where they fell short last year, and they've got to get better at it. It's just a matter of me staying on them about it and me making sure they grind out at-bats and are finding other ways to score runs.
"You never go up there with the intent to walk. Get back to grinding out the at-bats. Be ready to hit, but have a plan and know what your responsibility is in that at-bat. Know what your responsibility is on this time. Know what your role is on this team. And let's not just play for the three-run homer."
Manager Ron Washington met with some hitters about bunting on Wednesday. The Rangers set up 11 bunting situations during Tuesday's intrasquad game and Washington wasn't happy with the execution. They were able to get a bunt down in 10 of those 11 at-bats. But in four cases, with runners on first and second, the defense was able to get the out at third.
Washington's big mantra this spring has been, "Do the little things a lot," and he is pounding that message into some of his younger players every chance he gets.
"We have a lot of young players coming in," Washington said. "We want to get them to relax and get them to understand that what they are asking them to do. They're capable of doing it."
• The Rangers have everybody under contract for 2012 as the club announced that pitcher Josh Lindblom and outfielders Craig Gentry, Julio Borbon and Engel Beltre have agreed to terms. They were the last of the pre-arbitration-eligible players to sign.
• With the two intrasquad games in the books, the Rangers will have a regular workout on Thursday and then begin Cactus League play on Friday against the Royals. The Rangers will play three straight against the Royals to begin the Cactus League schedule.
• Derek Holland, Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando will pitch on Friday against the Royals. Randy Wells and Michael Kirkman will pitch on Saturday and Matt Harrison and Nick Tepesch will pitch on Sunday.
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.