ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is not ready to be a full-time designated hitter and shortstop Elvis Andrus is not worrying about potentially being a free agent after this season.Reliever Keone Kela would love a shot at being the Rangers' closer, but he said he will pitch whenever he
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is not ready to be a full-time designated hitter and shortstop Elvis Andrus is not worrying about potentially being a free agent after this season.
Reliever Keone Kela would love a shot at being the Rangers' closer, but he said he will pitch whenever he gets the call from manager Jeff Banister.
"I'm not going into Spring Training worrying about it," Kela said. "Whatever my job is, I have to get three outs and give my team a chance to win."
The calendar has flipped to February, pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks and the issues that are annually beaten to death in Spring Training are already percolating. The list includes position battles and contract situations.
For the second consecutive year, Choo, 35, goes into Spring Training looking at the possibility of extended time at designated hitter. He understands the need to be used at DH on occasion to keep him healthy, but he remains adverse to it being a full-time assignment.
"I'm healthy, my legs feel good, I can play the outfield," Choo said. "I can still catch a fly ball. I can play the field and help this team."
Choo went into last season reluctant to make a full-time transition to designated hitter. He ended up starting 75 games in right field and 65 at DH.
There is no telling what the ratio will be this season. Injuries and performance across the board always dictate usage and playing time.
Right now, the best guess on the Rangers' depth chart is Delino DeShields in center, Nomar Mazara in right, Choo at DH and Willie Calhoun and Drew Robinson competing in left. Choo said he has not had a chance to sit down with Banister to discuss the situation.
"I'll sit down with him in Spring Training and we'll figure it out," Choo said.
Andrus is entering the fourth season of an eight-year, $120 million contract. But he could also opt out either at the end of this season or the next.
"Everything has a right time, and that time is after the season," Andrus said. "I'm happy to be here and I want to retire here. I'm not acting like I am a free agent. I'm not thinking about that. This year will be better than last year. I don't think of it as my free-agent year."
Andrus will put himself into a good spot if he repeats last season, when he hit .297 with 100 runs scored, 20 homers, 88 RBIs and a career-high .808 OPS. But becoming a free agent may not be the right move if the market moves as slowly as it has this offseason.
"Every offseason is different," Andrus said. "You see a slow offseason, and the next year it is aggressive. I'm not thinking about that. I am worried about having a great year, being in the postseason, in the World Series."
Andrus does have one suggestion for the Rangers.
"We still need a closer," Andrus said. "That would be nice before the offseason is over."
Kela is ready to take the job. There is much to decide as Spring Training approaches.
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.