Notes: Jeff Baker earns roster spot with strong play
|ESPN MLB Insider Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett in Surprise to discuss what to expect from the Rangers this season. |
"I told him this morning that he made the team," Washington said. "I haven't had that veteran presence (on the bench) that can make a difference, and that is a role he has played. He knows how to stay ready. What I've seen this spring is he has passed some of that experience on to the younger guys. He is always holding court. It's what we had when we had Omar Vizquel here."
Baker typically doesn't log frequent at-bats during the season, instead often seeing time as a late-inning replacement or getting a spot start for a regular who is getting the day off.
The 31-year old received plenty of playing time this spring and made the most of the opportunity. Baker turned heads, especially with his offense, and was on a hitting tear that lasted nearly three weeks. At one point he was 20-for-40 (.500) and reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances. Even after a relative cool streak during the last week, Baker still ranks among the Cactus Leaders in several offensive categories.
It is one of the contradictions of spring training that good performances are downplayed because the statistics don't count, yet jobs are won and lost based on those same performances.
The six-year MLB veteran has carved out a nice career because of his versatility, as he can play five positions: first, second, third, left and right field. Baker likely won't see much time at third but will be used at the other positions.
Baker is scratched from Monday's game with a sinus infection. He also missed Sunday's game against Cincinnati and was pulled from Saturday's contest in the third inning because of the ailment.
More team notes:
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