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Mazara, Gallo to play one primary position in '18

Rangers aren't pursuing closer Holland; club focused on players in camp
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister wants to anchor Nomar Mazara in right field this season and stop the shuttle between there and left field. That may mean more time at designated hitter for Shin-Soo Choo.

"I think we'll continue to look at Maz in right field predominantly," Banister said. "I don't think we'll have the same scenario we did last year where we had those guys anchored up on the corners on any consistent basis on the same time."

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister wants to anchor Nomar Mazara in right field this season and stop the shuttle between there and left field. That may mean more time at designated hitter for Shin-Soo Choo.

"I think we'll continue to look at Maz in right field predominantly," Banister said. "I don't think we'll have the same scenario we did last year where we had those guys anchored up on the corners on any consistent basis on the same time."

Mazara started 86 games in right field last year and 43 in left. He actually performed better offensively when playing in right field, finishing with a .284 batting average and a .484 slugging percentage. He hit .200 with a .333 slugging percentage while in left.

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Banister is taking the same approach with Joey Gallo at first base. He is not going to play left field and won't be needed at third base unless something happens to Adrian Beltre. As with Mazara, Banister doesn't want Gallo shuttling between positions.

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"Give them a chance to settle in and play," Banister said. "Obviously with young guys, I think they did a great job handling those situations. It's a lot to ask of a young player. We needed to and they responded for the most part very well to those situations. However, I'd like to let them concentrate on getting ready for the season."

Choo hit better as an outfielder than as a designated hitter last year. He hit .264 with a .500 slugging percentage in 77 games in the outfield and .257 with a .340 slugging percentage in 65 games at DH.

Rangers closer coming from within
The Rangers are looking for a closer, and it will almost likely come from within. Major League sources said the Rangers have not pursued any interest in free-agent closer Greg Holland.

Holland, who saved 41 games for the Rockies last season, is still unsigned and might be the perfect fit for a club still lining up the bullpen, but the Rangers have not pursued him to this point.

Banister focused on who's here
The Rangers will have 66 players in camp on Wednesday when they go through their first official full-squad workout. Banister said his focus will be on those players and not those who aren't. There are many free agents still available, and Beltre suggested Rangers general manager Jon Daniels should be pursuing a few.

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But Banister isn't going down that road.

"J.D. and I talk about potential options and signing guys," Banister said. "I love to lay my head down and dream. But what I do know there is a group of guys who will show up for an Opening Day meeting tomorrow. You know where my focus is at … on every single one of those guys and preparing the best we have to go forward to play.

"The day I get caught up worrying about what we don't have, I am not serving those players correctly. I'm just bullheaded to believe there is a group of guys in that clubhouse right now that have an opportunity to shock everybody."

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The Rangers will have just three full workouts before their first Cactus League game on Saturday against the Cubs. Gone are the days when manager Johnny Oates wanted 14 days before the first Spring Training game to go over all the fundamentals.

"The thing I am more concerned with is getting the pitchers up to speed to pitch in a competitive atmosphere," Banister said. "We will have taken enough ground balls, we will have run the bases, guys will have slid, outfielders will have taken enough balls off the bat … they'll have seen enough pitches to get in the batter's box.

"The thing for me is our guys have had to be more diligent with their preparation and bullpen sessions prior to getting here so they are up to speed. The fundamentals … all of those things we'll get them incrementally in play."

Rangers beat
• The Rangers hosted a tryout for players looking for a job this year somewhere either in the Minor Leagues or independent leagues. Former Rangers outfielder Pete Incaviglia, who manages the Sugar Land Skeeters, was in attendance looking for players. Among those trying out were former Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello and Rangers outfielder Greg Golson.

Cole Hamels, who once pitched for the Phillies, took his family back to Philadelphia for the Eagles' Super Bowl victory parade before coming to Spring Training.

"Yeah, it was fun. Not too many Cowboys fans that are happy about me," Hamels said. "I'm like, 'I grew up not liking the Cowboys.'"

• Beltre on the signing of Bartolo Colon: "It's just nice to have somebody older than me on the team. I like that. We should both get watches."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

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