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Rangers load up and move out on Truck Day

ARLINGTON -- They loaded three motorcycles onto the Rangers' Spring Training truck on Friday before it headed off to Arizona. Two of the bikes belonged to Dr. Keith Meister and trainer Kevin Harmon, while the third -- a Harley-Davidson -- belonged to Rangers vice president Jim Sundberg.

"It's Sundberg's bike going to Arizona," Rangers equipment manager Richard Price said. "Whether he's going to ride it, I don't know."

Sundberg confirmed he does ride, so Rangers fans headed for Spring Training this season should be on the lookout for the former All-Star catcher cruising through the Sonoran Desert on his Harley.

"It's a beautiful place to ride," Sundberg said. "Need a ride sometime?"

The motorcycle and the rest of the Rangers' equipment departed in two trucks from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Everything is supposed to arrive in Surprise, Ariz., by Tuesday morning, one week before Rangers pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12.

"I remember in 1978 driving to Pompano Beach [Fla.] with Joe Macko," Price said. "It was in a U-Haul trailer, we took everything the Rangers had, and still had room for beer."

They probably didn't take four pitching machines, a treadmill and an elliptical machine to Pompano Beach 35 years ago, or 30 cases of Powerade. There was also $4,000 worth of coffee put on the trucks on Friday.

"We'll be there an extra two weeks because of the World Baseball Classic," Price said. "There's no telling how much coffee we'll need."

Don't they have coffee in Arizona?

"We like to support our local vendors," Price said.

This is why the trucks also included boxes of sunflower seeds and bubble gum in addition to 9,000 baseballs.

"None will come back," said Price, who oversees the packing and loading along with his assistants David Bailes, Brandon Boyd, Lee Martin, Tyler Jennings, Kenny Bufton, Michael Harlow and brothers Mason and Cale McKenna. Visiting clubhouse manager Kelly Terrell is also part of the process.

Also included on the truck are the uniforms, and some players will be wearing new numbers. Jurickson Profar is switching from No. 2 to No. 13. That's considered unlucky for some but not for Profar.

"He said he wore No. 13 as a kid [in Curacao] and they won the Little League World Series," Price said. "That's what he wanted, and since nobody else wants 13, we were obliged to give it to him and free up another number."

Outfielder Leonys Martin will wear No. 2. He was wearing No. 27, but that will go to designated hitter Lance Berkman.

Uniform numbers can be quite personal, and so can some of the other stuff. In addition to baseball equipment, the Rangers also ship personal items for players and their families, including children's car seats and playpens.

"My wife made me pack extra coats, extra clothes and extra dog food," pitcher Tanner Scheppers said.

Good to know two Boston terriers will be well-fed during Spring Training. They just need to watch out for ex-catchers on motorcycles.

Texas Rangers