Rangers Will Give Garcia A Look In Center





ARLINGTON—General manager Jon Daniels slipped in a surprise name during the Winter Meetings while running down the Rangers' depth at center field, and he wasn't delirious from all the rumors and recycled air at the Opryland hotel.

Leury Garcia, a shortstop by trade, will spend part of his first big league spring training experimenting in center field. He roamed the outfield previously, playing a handful of games there in 2012 and even on occasion in the Dominican League.

The 21-year-old, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, brings more than enough speed and a strong arm to the position, and he also has Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar blocking his path to the major leagues at shortstop.

"These are famously last words, but it's probably going to be challenging to crack the lineup at shortstop here," Daniels said. "But he's talented. He's a switch-hitter who loves to play and can do a lot of different things."

The Rangers have also been impressed by Garcia's teammate at Double-A Frisco, Engel Beltre. Like Garcia, Beltre has been in the organization since 2007, when he signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, and the Rangers are hopeful a hot summer is a sign that he has finally matured.

Beltre finished the regular season strong, earning Texas League player of the month honors for July and carrying that over to the World Baseball Classic qualifier as a member of Spain's national team.

He was the Dominican League's top hitter though the first 20 games, and has been a regular in the Licey lineup. It won't be easy for Garcia or Beltre, both members of the 40-man roster, to get into the mix, but they'll be given a chance.

"They've got to prove some things, but they're guys we feel could play a role at some point," Daniels said. "They've got to come into camp and earn it."

Rangers Roundup

• The Rangers used the Rule 5 draft for possible bullpen help, snatching righthander Coty Woods from the Rockies. The Rangers liked how Woods pitched in the Arizona Fall League (3.18 ERA in 11 innings) after struggling at Triple-A (7.40 ERA in 21 innings).

• Righthander Wilfredo Boscan, who was Rule 5-eligible but not selected, was shipped to the Padres to complete a trade for righty Cory Burns. Boscan pitched all of 2012 at Double-A Frisco before heading to the Venezuelan League, where he was its ERA leader (1.53) in mid-December.