Texas Rangers: Four position battles to watch this spring

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants hits a two run home run in the first inning against the New York Mets on May 8, 2017 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants hits a two run home run in the first inning against the New York Mets on May 8, 2017 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Texas Rangers
GOODYEAR, AZ – MARCH 02: Yohander Mendez #65 of the Texas Rangers delivers a first inning pitch against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 2, 2018 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Yohander Mendez/Ariel Jurado vs. Shelby Miller/Edinson Volquez/Drew Smyly

Texas plans on using an experienced starting rotation to begin the year. 1-5, the rotation is supposed to be some variation of Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, Shelby Miller, and Edinson Volquez.

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The problem is the latter three are returning from Tommy John surgery. There is no guarantee they’ll return to their productive selves. Even if they do, it may take some time.

If the Rangers’ plan falls through, Yohander Mendez or Ariel Jurado would likely be the next man up. Both got roughed up in their spring debuts. Mendez allowed three earned runs on four hits in one inning pitched on Sunday. Jurado allowed two earned runs on four hits over two innings on Saturday.

The fifth spot in the rotation could go to the one who has a stellar spring, if one does have a stellar spring. With Mendez and Jurado being so young (24 and 23), the organization will send them to the minors if there’s any suspicion that they’re not ready to return to the bigs.

27-year-old Adrian Sampson is a starting pitcher to keep an eye on as well. He started four games for the Rangers last season and posted a 4.30 ERA.

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