Notes: Eaton contract talks put on hold

Notes: Eaton contract talks put on hold

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Rangers have tabled discussions with Adam Eaton's agent about a possible multiyear contract extension.

Eaton, acquired from the San Diego Padres in the offseason, can be a free agent after the season. The two sides began talks earlier this spring but weren't close to an agreement and have decided to put things on hold.

"Both sides understand each other's position," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I don't blame them and they understand where we're coming from. We're going to let Adam focus on the season and talk later."

Discussions aren't expected to resume until after the season.

"More than likely," Daniels said. "We did [Francisco] Cordero in the middle of the year and others, so we don't have a 100 percent policy that we won't negotiate during the season. But I don't want to leave it hanging and being a distraction."

Kinsler nails down job: The worst-kept secret in Rangers training camp is Ian Kinsler is going to be the Opening Day second baseman.

Kinsler was back at second base against the Chicago White Sox on Friday while Mark DeRosa, his competition for the position, started in left field in preparation for what's expected to be a utility role.

Manager Buck Showalter hasn't officially anointed Kinsler for the job but has liked what he has seen defensively and that was going to be a crucial gauge.

"His clock ... he knows when to slow it down and when to hurry it up," Showalter said. "I wanted to see him on the [double-play] pivot and on the routine play."

The Rangers seem satisfied, and it doesn't hurt that Kinsler is batting .304 this spring.

"I'm just trying to get prepared for the season," Kinsler said. "I don't think about that much. I have to be prepared for [Triple-A] Oklahoma City if I start the season there and I have to be ready for the Rangers if I start the season there. I just work hard and play hard every day. Ultimately that's their decision.

"I think it's been a good camp. I think I'm settled in more and have more games under my belt against competition."

Dominguez better, not there: Juan Dominguez allowed two runs in four innings against the Chicago White Sox on Friday but is still getting mixed reviews from Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor.

"He was better," Showalter said. "Hopefully, it was a step in the right direction. We'll see if he can get where he needs to be at the end of Spring Training. He's not there yet."

Dominguez's fastball was clocked at 88-91 miles per hour. At his best, he is 93-95. The Rangers also aren't seeing the above-average changeup that all were raving about back in 2003.

Dominguez allowed three hits, including home runs by A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye, but did not walk a batter and struck out two.

"I was happy," Dominguez said. "My fastball was good, the changeup felt better, the slider, too. ... I had good command of it."

Dominguez is in head-to-head competition for the fifth starter spot with Edison Volquez, who pitched a scoreless inning in a Minor League game back in Surprise. That puts Volquez and Dominguez both pitching on the same day for the rest of the spring and lines both up to be the fifth starter.

Young, Teixeira headed back: As of Saturday, Kinsler will get to start working again with shortstop Michael Young.

Young, first baseman Mark Teixeira and designated hitter Erubiel Durazo are expected back in camp after Team USA and Mexico were eliminated from the World Baseball Classic.

They have been gone over two weeks, reducing the amount of time Kinsler and Young can work together.

"I don't think it will be a big deal," Kinsler said. "He played second base, he knows what to do with the ball. On a double play, I know I can expect the ball right at my chest. That's the type of player he is. It takes the pressure off me. If I get him the ball, he'll know what to do with it."

Teixeira is coming back after going 0-for-15 in the tournament.

"Somebody is going to pay," Showalter said. "I'm OK if it's in April."

Burke on Guillen: Jamie Burke was a backup catcher for the Chicago White Sox for parts of the last three seasons and enjoyed playing for manager Ozzie Guillen. He told this story before Friday's game:

"Spring Training '04," Burke said. "We were playing in Peoria and one of our pitchers was getting hit around. We were out there for a while. So Ozzie comes out and asks if we need sunblock.

"Then, when we get back to the dugout, he starts spraying everybody with sunblock. I enjoyed playing for him. He was a great guy. He keeps things loose."

Visit from the president: Showalter has his own memories of Tucson, where the Arizona Diamondbacks trained when he was the manager.

He talked Friday about the day President Clinton visited camp, hoping to meet Randy Johnson.

"He was late ... as usual," Showalter said. "He disrupted our workout. We had to put Brian Anderson in deep center field to keep him as far away as possible. He wasn't a big fan. The Secret Service knew who on our team was and who wasn't.

"I remember they lined up school buses all around the perimeter of the complex to keep people out."

Showalter met Clinton but said, "That's one picture I haven't put up on my wall."

Briefly: First baseman Jason Botts left Friday's game after three innings with early flu symptoms. ... Hank Blalock had his first home run of the spring despite ailing a little bit, too. Shortstop Joaquin Arias and third baseman Travis Metcalf were sent back to the Minor Leagues but not without impressing Showalter with their defense. Said Showalter, "Both are way above average. It's been a highlight for me." ... Catcher Nick Trzesniak was also sent back to the Minor League camp.

Coming up: Kevin Millwood makes his first appearance in an "A" game when he pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 2:05 p.m. CT Saturday in Surprise. The game will be broadcast on KRLD 1080 AM. Young and Teixeira are expected back in camp, but Showalter wants to give them a couple of days off before they get back into games. The Rangers will also have a simulated game at 11 a.m. CT so that left-handed relievers Ron Mahay, Brian Shouse and Kevin Walker can face left-handed hitters.

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