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Julio Borbon could lead off, start in CF

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said Monday that if the club does not re-sign Marlon Byrd, Julio Borbon would be the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter in 2010.

That would allow the club to shift Josh Hamilton to left field with Nelson Cruz in right. David Murphy would become what Washington called a "swing man," playing some at designated hitter, but filling in on the corner spots when needed.

Borbon is working with outfield coach Gary Pettis in the Dominican Republic to hone his skills in centerfield. The Rangers have committed to letting Borbon play more against left-handers, something he didn't do much of last season.

"He just has to develop his decision making out there and be more instinctive on the basepaths," Washington said. "He'll have a chance to face everyone and he can tell us if we can't put him agianst lefties."

Washington said Ian Kinsler would bat second, because he feels Kinsler is better when he's in the mix in the top third of the order. That would push Michael Young to third with Josh Hamiton at cleanup. Washington also likes Elvis Andrus in the ninth spot, so he has speed at both ends of the lineup.