Despite E's, Wash backs Julio Borbon

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers desperately want Julio Borbon to excel in center field. They've invested a lot in him and being able to keep him in center allows Josh Hamilton to stay in left where he's far less susceptible to crashing into walls.

That Borbon has committed two errors in the first two Cactus League games, including having a ball skid under his glove that allowed a run to score in the Rangers' 12-11 win over the Kansas City Royals Monday is not concerning to Ron Washington, the manager said.

"He's my center fielder," Washington said without hesitation. "Getting the kinks out. He just took his head off the ball and it got by him. Just getting the kinks out. I'm happy he's getting them out here."

While the errors aren't pretty, Borbon has swung a good bat, collecting three hits in five at-bats, including two doubles. He drove a sharp double in Monday's game and had two stolen bases Monday.

"He's swinging the bat well. Julio can play, man," Washington said. "Now that he's had a taste of it and gotten his rookie year out of the way, he's going to be fine. He can hit."

Other areas of interest from Monday's game:

*Colby Lewis was pleased with his two innings of no-hit baseball, in which he surrendered only a two-out walk in the first inning. He threw 33 pitches, 16 for strikes and got three consecutive fly balls in the second inning. "I still didn't feel like quite myself, but definiely felt like I was able to keep the ball a little bit more down in the zone and threw the slider down and away. Curve ball was good, it was out front. But, I still got to work on getting ahead of guys."

*Mike Napoli, acquired to hit against left-handed pitchers went 2-for-3 on Monday with a two-run homer off Royals lefty Everett Teaford in the fourth and a single off lefty Blaine Hardy in the sixth.

*Josh Hamilton is still looking for his first Cactus League hit. He followed up his 0-for-2 opener with another 0-for-2 Monday.

*Ian Kinsler got his first hits of the spring with a double and line-drive homer to left. He drove in three runs and also walked.

*Pitcher Michael Kirkman, trying to crack the starting rotation, didn't have a great spring debut after replacing Lewis in the third inning. He have up three earned runs on two hits and a walk in the third inning before settling down. He gave up a two-out single in the fourth and then got out of the inning. Kirkman said his point of emphasis is command. "I want to concentrate on making my pitches," he said. "Today I made some of them. Some I didn't."