Borbon controls CF, leadoff spots

Updated: March 1, 2010, 12:38 PM ET
Associated Press

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said the center field and leadoff starting jobs are Julio Borbon's to lose.

"For me, Borbon is in the same position that [shortstop] Elvis Andrus was last year," Washington said Sunday. "It's up to us to keep him relaxed and let him be who he is."

Borbon made his debut with the Rangers last season as a substitute for an injured Josh Hamilton and hit .312 in 46 games. The 23-year-old entered this spring as the leading candidate to replace Marlon Byrd, who signed with the Chicago Cubs in the offseason.

"We miss Marlon but we're getting something in there to pick it up," Washington said.

One distinct difference in the way Borbon will be used is that Washington plans to play Borbon every day, versus both right-handers and left-handers. Last season, Borbon was a meager 2-for-15 against lefties in the limited opportunities he was given.

"I feel comfortable against lefties," Borbon said. "I've never had any doubts hitting versus righties or lefties. It's a matter of coming back out and doing it consistently."

Flanked by Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton, with David Murphy and Vladimir Guerrero also present, Borbon will have considerable help to rely on if needed.

"There are going to be days when things may not go right but he's a young kid who wants to learn," Washington said. "He has a support group."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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