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One Of Few Texas Rangers Position Battles Becomes More Clear

The Rangers didn't have a lot of question marks as to who would be filling out the Major League roster, but there has been some question about the last spot in the bullpen.

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Those options just got whittled down last night, however, as T.R. Sullivan reports Neal Cotts will miss a week plus with a strained muscle.

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Cotts was in contention with Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman for the roll of Lefty One Out Guy. Kirkman was sent down yesterday after not impressing anyone at all in spring, leaving just Ross and Cotts, and now we have just Ross.

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It is not quite an open-and-shut case for Ross, however. As Adam Morris discussed, there is still the case of Yoshinori Tateyama, who managed a decent season (3.38 xFIP) out of the pen last season. The Rangers' 40 man roster has just one open spot, which needs to go to Alberto Gonzalez or Luis Hernandez as the utility infielder, and Tateyama is already on the 40. Making room for Ross would mean taking someone else off the 40 man roster.

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On one hand, not having a LOOGy in the bullpen sounds crazy. Being able to make platoon-based decisions late in the game is a nice option for a manager.

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On the other hand, platoon advantages only go so far. Cotts has been awful more often than he's been good over the course of his career, and Ross is a rookie. Given that and the 40 situation, rolling with Tateyama and punting the lefty specialist might just be the best option. That just feels really weird.

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Neither decision makes me particularly comfortable, but at least the last man in the bullpen is rarely the difference in a pennant race.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.