2/25/2014 6:24 P.M. ET
Kouzmanoff could fill role of righty bat off bench
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers made an offer to free-agent infielder Mark Reynolds this winter, but he wasn't interested in being a platoon designated hitter and a backup at third or first base. Reynolds signed with the Brewers instead.
So the Rangers are still looking for a right-handed hitter for that role, and they have the perfect player in camp if Kevin Kouzmanoff can be the player he once was with the Padres and Athletics. Kouzmanoff was the starting third baseman for those two teams in 2007-10, hitting .259 with 75 home runs and 317 RBIs over those four seasons. He hit .283 with a .463 slugging percentage against left-handers.
But Kouzmanoff started off slowly in 2011, hitting .221 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 46 games. The Athletics reacted with a change at the position and eventually sent Kouzmanoff to the Rockies. He spent the past two seasons in the Minor Leagues.
"In 2011, I got off to a rough start," Kouzmanoff said. "I didn't do any worse than anybody else, but they made a move and I was the guy. That's the way baseball is, I wasn't as productive as I should have been."
Kouzmanoff played in 60 games at Triple-A New Orleans last year, hitting .294 with six home runs and 42 RBIs. He was 10-for-20 against left-handers, but was also on the disabled list three different times.
"I still want to play baseball," Kouzmanoff said. "I still have the burning desire and fire. I'm not done. I want to be a part of a winning team, a championship-caliber team. That's what I'm here for."
Lewis gets back in action in intrasquad game
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis needed just 11 pitches to get through a scoreless first inning in an intrasquad game on Tuesday. Lewis retired the side in order in his first time under game conditions since his hip replacement surgery last August.
"I wasn't nervous at all, but I was anxious to get out there and get the first one out of the way," Lewis said. "I certainly feel like I have more in there."
Lewis was the first one on the mound in a game between Team Buechele and Team Bogar that ended in a 4-4 tie after 5 1/2 innings.
"I thought Colby was really good," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "Man, that was like vintage Colby. The fastball was back, the slider was biting, I can't come up with enough adjectives. He had good drive. He was able to get off his backside and drive with his back hip."
"He was Colby Lewis, the guy I've faced before with the Texas Rangers," catcher J.P. Arencibia said. "He's a guy that competes and battles, he's spot on with his location and he spins the ball well. He's got an idea out there. Obviously, it's the first of spring and everybody has to get better, but it was definitely encouraging."
Ortiz reflects on texting-while-walking accident
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Joseph Ortiz has learned a new lesson: Don't walk across a busy boulevard while texting.
Ortiz was doing just that when he was hit by a motorcycle believed to be going 55 mph last month in Venezuela. Ortiz suffered a broken left foot and underwent surgery on Jan. 31. He is in Rangers camp, but getting around on a scooter and is expected to be out until at least May.
"I think I was very lucky," Ortiz said. "I've seen people run over and die from this. I was lucky. I was crossing the street and I had my telephone with me and I was texting. I wasn't paying attention. I was paying attention to my telephone. All of a sudden a motorcycle came around the corner and hit me. The wheel ran over my foot."
Ortiz said there was a traffic sign at the intersection, but apparently the motorcycle driver ignored it.
"It's not like over here where people obey the law," Ortiz said. "Over there, people ignore the law and do what they want."
Tepesch scratched with stiff back; Rios limited
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-handed pitcher Nick Tepesch was scratched from Tuesday's intrasquad game with some stiffness in his back. The Rangers don't expect it to be a serious problem, and Tepesch is listed as day to day.
"I played catch [Monday] and it felt all right," Tepesch said. "After talking to the coaches and trainers, we'll probably take the cautious route rather than push it and miss more time. It's nothing serious, I just want to protect myself. It kind of tightened up on me after I got done the other day, but I'm feeling better."
Outfielder Alex Rios remains limited with a sore big toe on his left foot, but he has resumed taking batting practice. Rios has been bothered by the problem for seven years as the result of playing regularly for the Blue Jays on the Rogers Centre artificial turf. The outfielder has had an injection to relieve the pain, and he hopes that will take care of the problem for an extended period of time.
Reliever Tanner Scheppers, who had also been experiencing some back issues, threw in the bullpen without problem on Monday, and he is scheduled to pitch live BP on Thursday.
• Third baseman Adrian Beltre and first baseman Prince Fielder did not play in the intrasquad games, but they are tentatively scheduled to play Thursday in the Cactus League opener against the Royals.
• Pitcher Shawn Tolleson had some minor soreness in his right shoulder after a scoreless inning in Monday's intrasquad game. Pitcher Miles Mikolas also had some soreness in his elbow that is being monitored.
• Infielder Kensuke Tanaka is day to day with soreness in his back.
• The Rangers get the 30th overall pick in the June First-Year Player Draft as compensation for the Orioles signing Nelson Cruz.
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.