Generally the most successful teams are some of the healthiest and in 2011 the Texas Rangers were no different. They had a starting rotation that went through the season without any injuries and the only hiccup was the fatigue that set in on Alexi Ogando in the second half of the season. The bullpen had a few injuries, but the bullpen itself had bigger issues to deal with in 2011. The infield was not much different with Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler never dealing with injuries, but Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli did spent a little bit of time on the disabled list. The area that was plagued by injuries in 2011 was the outfield and it was evident from the beginning of the season.
The Rangers started 2011 with a starting outfield of Josh Hamilton, Julio Borbon and Nelson Cruz, but by the middle of May all three were on the disabled list. Hamilton and Cruz ended up being productive for most of the season although still battling various injuries and after his early season injury, Borbon spent the rest of the season at Triple-A Round Rock until suffering a season ending ankle injury. The Rangers relied heavily on Endy Chavez, Craig Gentry and David Murphy last season, but now they do not have Chavez as an option. Chavez signed as a free agent with the Washington Nationals this offseason. The Rangers will have Leonys Martin in the mix for 2012, but with the history of Borbon and Cruz, the Rangers needed more depth.
On Saturday, the Rangers tried to add a little depth by signing Kyle Hudson to a minor league contract. He spent 2011 in the Orioles organization with most of that time at Triple-A, although he spent time at every level from Single-A to the major leagues. Hudson played 68 games at Triple-A, hitting .297 with 26 stolen bases until finishing the season out with the Orioles.
Hudson is invited to major league spring training, but most would expect someone like Martin to make the roster over him. He does give the Rangers depth in the outfield and would be an option if one of the outfielders on the major league roster suffered an injury. Hudson is similar to Gentry at the plate, with the exception that he hits from the left side. Both Gentry and Hudson are players that can run, but do not have any power at the plate. Hudson is not a flashy move, but it is the type of moves the Rangers need to make before heading out for Surprise as it fills one of the few small holes left for this club.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckeball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep. Follow him on Twitter @TexasWinColumn
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Baseball
- Craig Gentry
- Josh Hamilton
- Julio Borbon