NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas -- Texas Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry tries to ignore the rumors and chatter about the club's offseason and what may or may not happen in the outfield, but he hasn't been completely successful in doing so. But he doesn't worry about it. He only worries about getting better.
"It's kind of hard to not look at it every once in a while," Gentry said before appearing at a Winter Caravan stop at Academy Sports & Outdoors in North Richland Hills. "I'm trying to take care of my own business and hopefully it will work out."
Gentry has focused on getting stronger and continuing to get his swing in order. He's spent much of the offseason working out with Ian Kinsler and feels good about where he is heading into spring training.
"I just want to have a healthy spring," Gentry said. "I didn't have the spring I wanted last year, but I ended up having a good season and felt really good about it. I'm trying to keep it going and get strong over the offseason and try to repeat."
Gentry, 28, hit .304 in 240 at-bats in 2012 with a homer and 26 RBIs. he had 13 stolen bases (was caught seven times) and had a .368 OBP. He did not make an error in 197 total chances in 116 games. He had the fifth-most chances without an error of any big league outfielder, and the only Rangers outfielder with more error-less chances in one season was Darryl Hamilton (389) in 1996.
Gentry comes into the season as a candidate in center field with Leonys Martin. Gentry, a right-handed hitter, could end up as the primary center fielder against left-handed pitching, and Martin, a left-handed hitter, could play more against righties. Gentry hit .343 against lefties (99 at-bats) and .277 against right-handers. That's if the club decides to platoon the two. But if one jumps up and has a terrific spring, things could change. The aftermath of the Miami New Times report that linked Nelson Cruz to a clinic that sold performance-enhancing drugs could also affect how the outfield is aligned. MLB is investigating things.
Gentry just wants an opportunity to play every day.
"I'm going to keep fighting and doing what I feel like I need to do, and sooner or later I feel like I'll get my chance," Gentry said. "I've got to keep trying to take care of my own business."