The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 12, 2013

New-look Rangers still have ‘some good pieces’

ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre watched this offseason as the Texas Rangers tried to sign the top free-agent pitcher on the market and keep slugger Josh Hamilton.

The Gold Glove third baseman who hit .321 with 36 homers last year realizes some big bats are missing from the Texas lineup now that Hamilton signed with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels, Mike Napoli agreed to a deal with Boston that still hasn’t been finalized and Michael Young got traded to Philadelphia.

Yet that doesn’t change how Beltre feels about what the Rangers can do this season, a year after being knocked out in a one-and-done wild-card game following consecutive World Series appearances.

“We still have a good enough team to compete and hopefully win the West,” Beltre said Friday during the team’s annual Fan Fest. “We’ll still have some good pieces in that lineup that can do the job. ... There’s no doubt they tried. They obviously pursued Zack Greinke. They were wanting to bring (Hamilton) back.”

The Rangers still have Beltre and Nelson Cruz in the middle of a lineup that includes Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. There will also be newcomers Lance Berkman, a switch-hitting DH, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

They also have a pitching staff led by a more comfortable Yu Darvish, the Japanese ace who won 16 games as a major league rookie last season, along with left-handers Matt Harrison (18-11) and Derek Holland (12-7).

Darvish and the Rangers were working at this point last year to complete an extended negotiation for the right-hander to make the move to the majors.

This offseason, Darvish is able to better focus on getting ready for his second big league season.

“Compared to last year, I feel so much more at ease. ... I really feel I’m part of the team now. How I feel right now is a totally different feeling,” Darvish said through a translator. “Last year, there was more of a rush in trying to prepare at a much quicker pace. I’m going at my own pace, working out. This offseason, the preparation has been much better.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tour leader Nibali says he’s ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

    CARCASSONNE, France — Barring a disaster for him on French roads from now until Sunday, the man who looks set to win the Tour de France says he understands that cycling is still paying for its longtime doping plague....

    July 22, 2014

  • McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

    HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug....

    July 22, 2014

  • Petrino ushers Louisville into ACC

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart still riding high

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart heads into the busiest week of his year riding high from a win in his return to sprint car racing. Stewart raced in a sprint car last weekend for the first time since he broke his leg in an extracurricular ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Witness: Sterling must sell to pay debts

    LOS ANGELES — The chief financial officer of Donald Sterling’s properties said Monday that the billionaire may be forced to sell a large portion of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he persists in refusing to sell ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees

    NEW YORK — Miles Mikolas earned his first win as a starter, pitching into the eighth inning Monday night and leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the sloppy New York Yankees. Trailing by a run with none on and two outs in the ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Angels with latest big move before deadline

    Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics....

    July 22, 2014

  • Jeter turns small part of attention to business

    NEW YORK — Pedestrians craned their necks as Derek Jeter stood in front of a food truck parked across the street from Central Park....

    July 22, 2014

  • Ortiz homers twice, Red Sox rout Blue Jays

    TORONTO — David Ortiz hit the 452nd and 453rd home runs of his career, moving past Boston great Carl Yastrzemski into 36th place on the all-time list, and the Red Sox won their fifth straight game Monday night, routing the Toronto Blue ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Dodgers edge out Cardinals

    ST. LOUIS — Adrian Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning off St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged the series finale with a 4-3 victory Sunday night....

    July 21, 2014