ARLINGTON -- The Rangers start mustering into Spring Training this week, and Adrian Beltre will be there, getting ready for his 21st Major League season.
The Rangers have had good reports on his physical conditioning and are optimistic about there being no issues. General manager Jon Daniels has been in touch with Beltre this winter, and expects no issues on any front, even if the Rangers admit that they haven't been as aggressive in this offseason as opposed to past years.
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"Same as always, he wants to win," Daniels said. "He's a competitor who wants to win. That's where Adrian comes from. That's his natural position. He is an extreme competitor who is focused on the here and now. He wants to win."
That is the Rangers' aim as a squad, regardless of what transpired this winter. Rangers pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 20.
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Many Rangers have already headed for Arizona to continue their offseason workouts, enjoy the warm desert weather and take advantage of the outstanding facilities at the Surprise Recreation Campus.
It could be an interesting camp because nobody is really sure what the Rangers have, or whether they will be able to compete in a division that includes the defending world champion Astros. Likewise, nobody is sure whether the Rangers are a finished product yet, given the number of free agents still unsigned.
Many questions remain unanswered. Who will be the closer? Will Matt Bush and/or Mike Minor be able to transition from bullpen to rotation? Who will be in left field? The Rangers have many young players who need to raise their game, and some long-march veterans like Beltre, Cole Hamels and Shin-Soo Choo who need to stay healthy.
Financial matters are always a part of Spring Training. The Rangers signed Rougned Odor to a long-term contract last spring, and Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo could be next on the list.
At the other end, Beltre, Hamels and Elvis Andrus could be getting ready for their last season with the Rangers. Beltre is unsigned beyond this season, the Rangers hold a club option on Hamels for next year and Andrus has the option of getting out of his contract next winter.
"A big part of our job is long-term planning, so we are aware of that," Daniels said. "But we're not going into Spring Training thinking about that. We've got a lot of work to do preparing for this season. As far as decisions we have to make and players have to make, it's very real, but not today. It's separate."
Manager Jeff Banister made it clear that the Rangers don't need to be sidetracked by outside distractions or issues.
"Our mindset is simple," Banister said. "Get back to basics, who we are and what made us successful. Get back to a family-type atmosphere in the clubhouse, work together, one Texas-type mentality. Refocus on what's important and what is right in front of us. We got too far ahead of ourselves last year and got away from a few basic priorities."