SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Julio Borbon was the Rangers' Opening Day center fielder in 2010-11. But he has not played in the Major Leagues since May 13, 2011, and is a long shot this spring to make the Opening Day roster. He appears to be third in line for his old job behind Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry.
The complicating factor is Borbon is out of options, meaning he can't be sent back to the Minors without clearing outright waivers.
"I'm in a good position," Borbon said. "I know it's in my hands, not anybody else. I just have to go out and play. All I want is a fair shot, and go out and play as hard as I can."
Borbon will get a fair shot but the Rangers need to see improvement, especially on defense. Borbon is considered a talented player, but perceived to be too erratic on occasion.
"I want to see focus," manager Ron Washington said. "Focus is the whole spring and the whole season. He just loses focus: throws to the wrong base, misses the cutoff man, getting picked off. The main thing is to plan before the play so you can react. He's a center fielder and is in the middle of a lot out there. One letdown can cause havoc so we need to make sure there are not letdowns."
Borbon took a new approach to his offseason. Rather than playing Winter Ball, he spent the offseason working out in California and a facility run by his agent Scott Boras.