Italian duo due back in Rangers camp

Italian duo due back in Rangers camp

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Italians are coming back to camp.

Outfielder Vince Sinisi and pitcher Marc Lamacchia are due in after playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic.

Sinisi, the Rangers' second-round pick in the 2004 draft, was 2-for-12 with a home run while playing for Italy.

"I think it was good for him as far as exposure and confidence," said Scott Servais, the Rangers director of player development.

Lamacchia pitched just one scoreless inning in preparation for what is expected to be a pivotal season for him.

Lamacchia was a 21st-round pick out of Florida State in 2003. The Rangers took him even though he had undergone Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, knowing that he was a potential No. 1 draft pick before the injury.

He missed all of 2003 and 2004 before going 4-2 with a 3.73 ERA and four saves in 32 games at Class A Clinton last year. Opponents hit .211 off him.

"We're looking at him to step up and get more out of him this year," Servais said.

On the move: Nick Masset is no longer on the 40-man roster but the Rangers haven't forgotten about him. He pitched a scoreless inning in an exhibition game and Servais said the Rangers like what they've seen this spring.

"He's got stuff and ability, a 92-93 mile per hour fastball with a power curve," Servais said. "He needs to get better results and we think he will."

Masset, 23, an eighth-round pick in 2000 out of high school, was 7-12 with a 6.18 ERA at Double-A Frisco last year.

On the pine: Right-handed pitcher Shane Bazzell, who was in big-league camp last year, is being monitored carefully because of a sore elbow. He was 4-5 with a 4.87 ERA last year at Double-A Frisco.

Names in the game: Andy Fox makes his managerial debut this season at Class A Clinton. A former Major League infielder, he played in nine seasons for five different teams, playing on a World Series winner with the New York Yankees in 1996 and the Florida Marlins in 2003. He retired last season and was recommended for a job by manager Buck Showalter.

They're No. 1: Of all the Rangers No. 1 picks in both the Major and Minor League camps, John Danks is the one they talk about most.

"For one, he has matured emotionally," general manager Jon Daniels said. "You see how he prepares and has handled this situation. Physically he worked hard in the offseason. He always had the talent and the pure stuff and we're starting to see that translate."

Class of '05: Steve Murphy, a 14th-round pick last year out of Kansas State, is one of the players brought over from Minor League camp to play in the late innings of an exhibition game and is 1-for-3. Johnny Whittleman, the No. 2 pick from last year, also played in his first A game.

Stats machine: First baseman Nate Gold, also brought over from Minor League camp, is 3-for-5 with two doubles in A games for the Rangers. ... Ian Gac was 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in his first four games. ... Third baseman Travis Metcalf, a late addition to Major League camp, continues to make the most of it, going 3-for-10 in his first seven games.

Quotable: "The shock troops we're bringing up from the minors for the late innings, these guys are playing with their hair on fire. It's fun to watch. You got guys who were in the Northwest League or the Arizona Rookie League, they're not scared." -- Showalter

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