Welcome Wagon

Categories: Sports
Tony Blei
Sammy Sosa was more than so-so this spring. Which doesn't mean anything, we know. Less'n he can pitch.

The Texas Rangers invite you to show up tonight as the team returns from spring training. Especially if you can pitch. I praise the Rangers' pitching staff one day, and next thing you know, starters Kevin Millwood (No. 1 in the rotation) and Vicente Padilla (No. 2) are coughing up an astounding 16 earned runs over two games, then re-tread journeyman Jamey Wright is named fifth starter. Uh-oh.

With its ragged hurlers in tow, the Rangers will make organizational history tonight around 9 with an official party welcoming the team's plane at Arlington Municipal Airport (weather permitting, of course).


Live music, prize drawings, yummy barbeque, introduction of a new "Six Shooters" interactive squad and quick speeches from manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels. Tickets are $35, but you also get a freebie to Saturday's exhibition finale against the Brewers at Rangers Ballpark. I know, not the most scintillating of evenings. But what else you gonna do -- watch a replay of U.S. 0, Guatemala 0?


Despite the alarming pitching plummet , the Rangers, who are playing at this very moment their last game in Surprise, Arizona, before hopping the big bird home, have had a promising spring. They are 15-10, second-best in the American League. Catcher Gerald Laird is poised for a breakout season, and Sammy Sosa's got a lil' sumpin' in his tank after all. If you don't get out to see them tonight, no worries. The 162-game grind starts Monday. --Richie Whitt

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