Just about every Ranger was on hand for Friday's Sluggers of the West Awards Dinner and Marlon Byrd was the center of attention. It's been a busy off-season for Byrd. His son Marlon Jr. was born Dec. 21 and Marlon is quick to point out that he handles diaper duties. He's also heard the trade rumors that have him going to the Chicago Cubs. Byrd said he understands the business of the game but he hopes to remain a Ranger. Texas general manager Jon Daniels made it a point to track down Byrd before the event.
Other sights from the event include:
Joaquin Benoit isn't going to camp to win the closer's job although he'd welcome the chance. He's trying to improve on a 2007 season that saw him win the Rangers pitcher of the year award. "I'm going just to do my job. As long as I get my three outs every single time they give me the ball, I'll be fine. I have the same idea I had last year."
Hank Blalock feels like his shoulder is 100 percent and expects to resume his third-base duties once spring training begins.
Kevin Millwood looks lighter after spending the off-season in kickboxing classes. "Nobody can say I wasn't in shape or I didn't do anything in the off-season. If I stink, I stink but it's not going to be because I'm not in shape," joked Millwood. He also picked Clint Bowyer to win the upcoming Daytona 500.
- Anthony Andro