SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Jason Ellison and Kevin Mench signed with Texas this winter with no guarantee of making the team in an already-crowded outfield. The non-roster invitees have to make the most of their opportunities to impress -- and so far they have.
With most of the Rangers' regulars getting the day off, Mench hit a solo home run and Ellison went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in Texas' 15-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday."I'm just out here doing what I can, and hopefully I can impress them enough where I can get a spot on this roster," Ellison said. "I feel pretty good up there. It's early and I'll just try to keep on grinding."Ellison, who played 100 games combined for Seattle and Cincinnati last season, is 5-for-10 and is the only Texas player who has appeared in all four spring games.Mench, who was drafted by the Rangers and made his major league debut for Texas in 2002, had been in Milwaukee since being part of the six-player deal in July 2006 that sent Carlos Lee to Texas. Mench was 1-for-2 with a walk.Rangers starter Vicente Padilla, who missed nearly two months last season because of a triceps problem, allowed a hit and walked a batter in two scoreless innings."Very good outing," manager Ron Washington said. "He used his fastball pretty good, looked like he had good tempo out there and he was into it."Zack Greinke, the 24-year-old right-hander who started and finished last season in the Royals' rotation between 38 relief appearances, pitched into the third inning. He gave up three runs and three hits with two walks and a strikeout."Everything was off a little bit," Greinke said. "The good thing is, I guess, everything was also good at one point. The slider was sharp, really sharp. The curveball was good at some points. But I didn't really put it together."Mench led off the fifth with his homer for a 6-1 Rangers lead.A fan favorite who had consecutive 25-homer seasons for the Rangers in 2004 and 2005, Mench knew when he returned to Texas that he'd have to prove himself again."Everybody does. Nothing's guaranteed," he said. "I'm going to do what I have to do. Everybody else is going to do what they have to do and when it comes down to it, they will make a decision."Julio Borbon hit a grand slam in a six-run seventh. He added an RBI single an inning later.Alex Gordon, one of only four expected opening-day starters who played for the Royals, had a pair of RBI singles. Mark Teahen had an RBI double.Jarrod Saltalamacchia, competing with Gerald Laird to be the Rangers' starting catcher, was 2-for-3 with an RBI triple and scored twice.
LHP Mike Maroth, a non-roster invitee with the Royals, was scratched from his scheduled appearance because of tightness in his left shoulder. "It's tender. We're just being more careful," manager Trey Hillman said. ... It was the second of five games this spring between the Royals and Rangers, who share the Surprise complex. They play again Sunday.