Rangers' Olt Stays At Third, For Now
SURPRISE, Ariz. — In a baseball world that can't help but get ahead of itself, consider the case of Rangers prospect Mike Olt.
The 49th overall pick out of Connecticut last June, Olt is a power-hitting third baseman who has also captured evaluators' attention with his flashy glove work. But seven months after drafting Olt, the Rangers locked up his position for the next six years with the free-agent signing of power-hitting, Gold Glove winner Adrian Beltre.
Olt, though, hasn't starting working at a new position, and the Rangers aren't actively looking to trade him. Instead, they gave him a taste of the big leagues as a late-innings replacement from the minor league camp in Cactus League games and will continue to develop him as a third baseman.
"Let's let Mike Olt play," manager Ron Washington said. "We don't need to be projecting him for the big leagues. He played A-ball last year. Let him play. "
The Rangers don't need to rush Olt to the majors, and his journey is just beginning. He hit .293/.390/.464 in his pro debut last year at short-season Spokane. Though relatively advanced at the plate, he's ticketed for one of the Rangers' Class A clubs in 2011.
He understands that, and also that the Beltre move is not a reflection on how the Rangers feel about him.
"The Rangers have to do what's right for the Rangers," Olt, 22, said. "I'm not ready to go, and the decision to get Beltre was a great baseball move. There's nothing I can do and nothing I can say. We were lucky to get him."
A position change wouldn't be a first for Olt, who played shortstop for his first two years in college, and switched to third after his injury replacement took to shortstop.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get to the big leagues," Olt said. "If there was a chance to switch positions and that's what they want me to do, I'd definitely be willing to make the change. But I do like third."
• With first base locked up by Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli, Chris Davis believes his future is elsewhere. Davis has not requested a trade, but said recently, "Maybe now it's time to turn the page and go somewhere else."
• The Rangers traded reserve catcher Matt Treanor to the Royals for cash. The move frees up a roster spot for another reliever as Alexi Ogando joins the rotation.