Olt makes spring outfield debut against Tribe
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas' second-ranked prospect, Mike Olt, saw his first outfield action of the spring Thursday, when he replaced Nelson Cruz in right field during the Rangers' matinee against Cleveland.
Olt has spent a lot of time in camp working with outfield instructor Gary Pettis, and after dropping a routine pop-up in a spot start in the outfield last season, he looked far more comfortable there. He made a nice play in Thursday's 10-0 win on a fly ball off the bat of Drew Stubbs -- the first batter after he entered.
"It's going to be a little different feeling than when I was out there last year because I've actually been working hard at it the last couple weeks," the 24-year-old Olt said.
This spring, Olt has gotten work at the corner infield spots, where he has spent the majority of his young career. But a good showing in the outfield would give Olt the versatility the Rangers are looking for in order for him to crack the big-league roster out of camp.
Olt said the biggest difference is in reading the ball off the bat. His reaction time is quicker, he says, as a result of reacting directly to the ball rather than the swing and trajectory of the bat.
"It's definitely exciting," Olt said of playing in the outfield for the first time this spring. "I've been working a lot out there, and the only way to really get better at it is being in live situations."