Notes: Nix flexes power in workouts

Rangers notes: Nix flexes power in workouts

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Laynce Nix smashed a couple of balls over the fence during batting practice on Sunday, including one blast over the 30-foot batter's eye in deep center.

The performance suggests he's well on his way to coming back from two shoulder operations over the past seven months. But he's not satisfied.

"Right now, I haven't been able to put together a whole lot of quality reps," Nix said. "I'm getting used to posting up and swinging the bat. I'm feeling a lot of improvement and feeling good, but things will come together with more swings and more reps."

Nix said he is feeling more stability in his front (right) shoulder than he has since crashing into the wall on June 13, 2004. Nix finally had that shoulder surgically repaired last July. He later had a second operation on his left shoulder, which he injured last season while making a diving catch.

"Right now, it's a matter of getting stiffness out from both shoulders and really loosening up the swing," Nix said. "That will happen with more reps in the spring."

As for his throwing, Nix is throwing two out of every three days as he builds up arm strength. The Rangers are hoping he'll be ready for game action around March 10.

Scouting shakeup: The Rangers have promoted A.J. Preller to director of professional and international scouting, reaffirming their commitment to upgrading their Latin American efforts.

Preller, as manager of international scouting last year, played a major role in the Rangers presence in the Dominican Republic. They opened a new academy in San Pedro de Macoris and they signed three top-tier free agents in catcher Cristian Santana, shortstop Johan Yan and pitcher Favio Castillo.

The Rangers have also pushed hard in Venezuela and are excited about third baseman/outfielder Jose Rodriguez, who was one of the leading hitters in the Dominican Summer League last year.

"I feel we have things headed in the right direction," Preller said.

The Rangers have also promoted Jake Krug to manager of baseball operations. Krug is beginning his fourth year in the organization and has been helping scouting director Ron Hopkins in all phases of the amateur scouting. He will add duties in other areas including market preparation and draft analysis.

"Both guys bring professionalism and energy to our team," general manager Jon Daniels said.

Looking eastward: The Rangers have focused most of their international efforts toward Venezuela and Latin America. But Daniels and Preller have also talked about getting the Rangers more involved in the Asian market.

That's still probably a couple of years away.

"It's still in the exploratory stage," Preller said. "But with the World Baseball Classic, it will be interesting to see the players from Japan for the first time and see where their general level of talent is."

Teixeira leaves to be daddy: First baseman Mark Teixeira left camp on Sunday as wife Leigh checked into the hospital to deliver the couple's first baby. He is expected to miss a couple of workouts, but he has already been in camp since the pitchers and catchers showed up. The first official workout for non-pitchers and catchers isn't until Tuesday.

Workout watch: On the fourth day of workouts, manager Buck Showalter was impressed by pitcher Vicente Padilla, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies this winter.

"Padilla has been very fluid with his motion, free and easy," Showalter said. "He's had a pretty good face since he's been here. He knows some people in the organization and he likes the place and the weather. He has had a smile on his face, which is not always the case with him."

Shortstop Michael Young was back in the workouts even though he once again split the nail on his right middle finger.

"That's probably going to keep happening for a week or so," Young said. "But it's just sore, that's all."

Briefly: Pitcher Adam Eaton is getting treated for back spasms although it hasn't forced him to curtail his workouts. ... Showalter said of pitcher Jayson Durocher, in camp on a Minor League contract, "he does have a good arm." ... Catcher Nick Trezniak continues to be bothered by back problems and Keith McDonald has a sore knee, so Kevin Richardson was brought over from the Minor League camp. ... Bobby Crook, who had been working in the public relations office, has been added as an assistant to baseball operations. ... Clubhouse assistant David Bales left camp after his mother-in-law passed away.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.