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December 05, 2011

Washington: Rangers looking at everything early on

The groundwork is being put down in the Rangers' suite at the winter meetings, and so far it includes a look at everything. That's not unusual, as general manager Jon Daniels and his staff consider a variety of ways to pugrade the Rangers' roster each off-season.

Manager Ron Washington, who escaped the war room to handle two scheduled media obligations, said that starting pitching, bullpen help and a utility man top the Rangers' wishlist.

The door remains open for C.J. Wilson to return, but Washington also is a fan of another free-agent left-hander, Mark Buehrle.

"I've always admired him," Washington said. "He's a great competitor. He gets out there and keeps his team in ballgames. The guy pitches innings, and that's what you want out of a starting pitcher."

Buehrle has also won the past three Gold Gloves. Washington wants to see Rangers pitchers get better at fielding their position, and believes that the addition of Greg Maddux as a special assistant to the GM will help in that area. Maddux won a record 18 Gold Gloves.

"Any time you can get that kind of experience around, it has an effect," Washington said. "Those are the type of things pitchers need to execute."

Center field is wide open, though the Rangers have three players (Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin) on the roster who will get a crack at significant playing time in 2012. The Rangers continue to favor Mitch Moreland at first base but will look at what free agents could be a fit there. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols head the free-agent class, but their contracts might be too rich for the Rangers as they attempt to lock up players currently on the roster for the long haul.

-- Jeff Wilson



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