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Baker thriving in utility role

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ARLINGTON -- Utility player Jeff Baker has started just four games. But the Rangers have won three of them, including a 7-0 victory over the Mariners on Friday. Baker gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second inning with an opposite field home run off of Mariners starter Joe Saunders.

He has started two games at first, one in left and one in right. He hasn't played third base yet, but that will come soon when Adrian Beltre needs a day off. So far, Baker is 4-for-13 and his home run on Friday was the first by a Rangers player off a left-handed pitcher this year.

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"He's doing a great job for us," manager Ron Washington said. "We know he can play all the corner positions, we know he can hit left-handers and we know he can swing the bat. It's been awhile since we've had a guy like that. It's nice to have a guy who can play that role and has been successful."

Baker knew this would be his role ever since he signed with the Rangers on Jan. 26. It's been his role throughout a seven-year career. He has never played more than 49 games at any single defensive position in one year and he has never has as many as 300 at-bats in a single season.

"I like the winning," Baker said. "I have been around long enough to fit in different clubhouses and teams so, yeah, I feel comfortable. I understand what my role is, so it's not an issue one way or another."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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