Notes: Allen lands final outfield spot
Nix the odd man out in 25-man roster shuffle
SAN FRANCISCO -- Before their final exhibition game against the Giants, the Rangers announced their 25-man roster for Opening Day, and the list contained one unexpected move.
Outfielder Laynce Nix will not be with Texas for Tuesday's opener in Anaheim, as the Rangers instead tabbed Chad Allen as their fifth outfielder.
Nix, a 24-year-old left-handed hitter, started a team-high 99 games in center for the Rangers last year, and his .996 fielding average was third among AL outfielders. He hit .248 with 14 homers and 46 RBIs in 371 at-bats in 2004, but this spring hit just .197 (14-for-71) with two homers and six RBIs.
Manager Buck Showalter said a number of factors went into the decision, including the belief that the switch-hitting Gary Matthews Jr. has earned the right to be the everyday center fielder and the desire of the team to stay away from a platoon situation in the outfield.
"We just felt like it was best for Laynce at this point to go down and get some consistent at-bats," Showalter said. "We didn't feel like it was in his best interest to platoon him up here right now."
Showalter also suggested Nix might not stay in Triple-A too long.
"He did some good things this spring and struggled in some others," Showalter said. "We think he's a big part of our future and we think it was in his best interest and in the best interest of the organization to have him start April down."
Allen, a right-handed 30-year-old, hit .344 (11-for-32) in Cactus League play this year with one homer and six RBIs. He spent most of last season in Triple-A, but appeared in 20 games in three different stints for Texas, hitting .241 (14-for-58).
"This guy did have heck of a year in Triple-A (.358, 7 HR, 70 RBIs)," Showalter said. "He earned the right to be here this year, and he gives some coverage against left-handed pitchers."
Nix was optioned to Oklahoma City, along with catcher Gerald Laird and right-hander Nick Regilio.
Texas also assigned infielders Cody Ransom and Ian Kinsler, outfielder Andres Torres, and RHPs Vlad Nunez and Keith Stamler to their minor league camp, and designated right-handers Travis Hughes and Agustin Montero for assignment.
"They're all tough," Showalter said of making the final cuts. "You're dealing with people's lives, and I think, unfortunately, people look at it as some finality, but what's best for our organization at the start of the year changes as the season goes on."
Five Rangers begin the year on the disabled list: RHP Pedro Astacio (groin); RHP Joaquin Benoit (shoulder); RHP Frank Francisco (elbow); LHP Erasmo Ramirez (finger); and INF Greg Colbrunn (right wrist). The pitchers' DL stays are retroactive to March 25; Colbrunn's to March 29.
Bereavement leave: Carlos Almanzar learned late Saturday night his mother had died, and Sunday left the team to join his grieving family in the Dominican Republic.
"I talked to Carlos this morning a couple of times and he is obviously pretty distraught," Showalter said.
Almanzar, a right-handed reliever, was placed on the bereavement list, where the Rangers can replace him on the 25-man roster for three to seven days. Showalter said Almanzar will be out an undetermined amount of time, but definitely will miss Opening Day.
The Rangers recalled Regilio from Triple-A Oklahoma to fill the roster spot.
The new DH: One of the players who survived the final cut is Adrian Gonzalez, a former No. 1 draft choice of the Florida Marlins who came to the Rangers in a 2003 trade.
Gonzalez, 22, is a left-handed hitter who hit .392 (31-for-79) this spring, with two homers and 22 RBIs, including one on a run-scoring double Sunday.
"I'm pretty happy with what I did this spring," Gonzalez said. "The things we worked on I felt like I accomplished and I've gotten a lot out of it. I had really good at-bats and I feel pretty good."
Gonzalez's gain may be David Dellucci's loss. Showalter said Gonzalez will be the DH on Opening Day, and hinted that although Dellucci, Allen, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Mark DeRosa will get their at-bats, the rookie may get the lion's share.
"I'm just prepared for anything," said Dellucci, a seven-year veteran. "During the course of my years in the big leagues I've been able to do well in different roles so I feel very confident whatever role that I'm in I will work my hardest and do my best."
They did play a game: The Rangers lost, 7-4, to the Giants to finish this preseason with a record of 13-19.
Chan Ho Park, who gave up 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings over his previous two starts, regained his form and left Sunday's game after five innings with a 3-2 lead. He scattered five hits with no walks and no strikeouts.
"I felt pretty good," Park said. "I was keeping the ball down better and working inside to right-handers."
Park lost his chance for a win in the sixth, when the Giants scored four runs off Francisco Cordero and another off Doug Brocail.
The Rangers got their first three runs off Giants starter Jerome Williams, scoring on a pair on RBI doubles in the second by Rod Barajas and Alfonso Soriano and another when Michael Young led off the third with his only preseason home run.
Tony Kuttner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.