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