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February 12, 2013

Jon Daniels fields questions ahead of spring training

It wasn't a State of the Rangers address Tuesday afternoon, but general manager Jon Daniels answered questions at length about the key issues facing the Rangers on the eve of the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

Jurickson Profar, following the trend set during the off-season, took up most of the 34 minutes Daniels spent with the media.

Profar, the game's top prospect, still hasn't decided if he will play in the World Baseball Classic, but Daniels suggested that Profar's chances of making the Opening Day roster would be enhanced if he turned down playing for the Netherlands.

The outfield issue, which came up last week, remains a possibility. The more versatile Profar can prove to be, the better his chances of skipping a Triple A assignment.

Daniels, though, reiterated that unless there is a role that would give Profar significant playing time, he will go to Triple A to start the season.

Daniels did not have an update the Major League Baseball investigation into an anti-aging clinic in Miami that allegedly supplied banned substances to Nelson Cruz. The Rangers might not know anything until the investigation ends. There is no timetable for that to happen.

Daniels identified the bullpen as the No. 1 area of concern/intrigue this spring. Only Joe Nathan and Jason Frasor are guaranteed spots on the Opening Day roster. The Rangers have no shortage of candidates for five other spots, but Kyle McClellan and Evan Meek seem to be favorites among non-roster invites to land a roster spot. McClellan is one of the candidates also competing to be the fifth starter, a spot that someone will be keeping warm until Colby Lewis is ready to pitch again.

-- Jeff Wilson

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