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Battle for bench includes catcher

Battle for bench includes catcher

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have not made any announcements regarding their four-man bench, and even the backup catching situation has not been decided. J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos are competing for the spot behind Geovany Soto.

Arencibia had the job coming into camp but Chirinos has had the better spring. He went into Saturday's game hitting .435 (10-23) while Arencibia was hitting .184 (7-for-38). The Rangers have been using Arencibia in Minor League games to get him some extra work and he has had much time with hitting coach Dave Magadan. He was 2-for-3 on Saturday.

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"He's worked his tail off," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We got him for a reason. He was non-tendered [by the Blue Jays] because he had a poor year but he's 27 with power and durability. He has worked on making some real changes on his approach and swing. The effort is there and we're starting to see him apply the changes."

The other spots on the bench are becoming clearer. The Rangers sent Brent Lillibrudge back to the Minors, leaving Josh Wilson and Adam Rosales as the remaining utility infield candidates. Wilson appears to have the edge.

"Wilson is the better defender," manager Ron Washington said. "That's obvious."

Kevin Kouzmanoff is close to winning a spot as the backup corner infielder and Michael Choice is still the leading candidate to be the fourth outfielder because he is a right-handed hitter. Jim Adduci and Engel Beltre are still in camp but are left-handed hitters. Beltre is out of options.

"I love Engel's talent and style," Daniels said. "He loves to play the game but it's not a perfect fit. It would be better if he was right-handed."

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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