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Sunday, February 19, 2006

High on Josh Rupe: Texas Rangers Ready for Season - Start Spring Training in March

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers officials met before Spring Training to review club personnel, and rookie pitcher Josh Rupe's name came up for discussion.
As coaches and scouts weighed in around the room, there were those who felt Rupe had an immediate future as the Rangers' fifth starter, and those who envisioned either an eighth-inning setup reliever, or eventually a closer.

A more precise measurement of where Rupe stands might be gauged from the fielding group he has been in during the Rangers' first couple of workouts in the desert.

While incumbent fifth starter Juan Dominguez and other rotation candidates were working on other fields, Rupe was placed in a group that includes Kevin Millwood, Adam Eaton, Vicente Padilla and Kameron Loe.

This is a camp, under the careful eye of manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor, where nothing is done by accident or at random, including putting a rookie like Rupe in the same fielding group as the four established members of the rotation.

"We like this kid and his stuff," Connor said after Friday's workout. "This kid has got the ability to do anything in the Majors. Like Juan Dominguez, it's a matter of consistency."


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