NEW YORK -- C.J. Wilson loves to hit. The pitcher, who played outfield (and a gaggle of other positions) at Loyola Marymount University before his professional career began, was out with Alexi Ogando, Michael Kirkman and Colby Lewis for early batting practice before Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux made it into a competition as he gave each pitcher a scenario -- runner at third and one out, or no runners on, etc. -- and they had to try to execute. The pitchers took turns trying to see who could not only bunt the best, but hit homers. That certainly favored the left-handed hitting Wilson and Kirkman.
"It's easy to hit homers to right here," Wilson said. "We're good athletes. If you throw a fastball down the middle at 86 mph, at some point we'll clobber some."
Wilson said he asked to play outfield early in his minor-league career when he had arm trouble that led to Tommy John surgery (he missed all of 2004 recovering from it). Clearly things have worked out for Wilson on the mound. But could he have developed into a solid outfielder?
"I saw Rick Ankiel do it and he's a good athlete," Wilson said. "I thought I could do some similar things."
Wilson doesn't talk about next season, wanting to avoid his contract situation becoming a distraction. He was asked if the idea of hitting gives the National League a certain appeal to him. All he said was that it's fun to hit and that he believes it's easier to pitch in the National League because you get to face the pitcher and the No. 8 hitter.
* The Rangers got some favorable reports on Brandon Webb's outing on Tuesday. Maddux said Webb's velocity was up a bit at 83 to 85 mph (may have been a touch higher than that on a few pitches) and he had good movement. Webb also felt good about the start.
"I felt as normal as I ever have," Webb said via text. "My changeup was really good. I still think there is more in there for sure. It got better as the game went on."
Webb was clearly excited about it, and that is encouraging to the Rangers. He's scheduled to go four innings Sunday in Corpus Christi.
"It's like spring training," Maddux said. "He'll keep building up and we'll see where we are. That success can give him some confidence."
* Matt Harrison, who left Sunday's start with a bruised left triceps after getting hit by a line drive, threw a bullpen session Wednesday and said he had no issues. He's on target to make his next start Saturday in Atlanta.
* Manager Ron Washington said Neftali Feliz was up in the bullpen Tuesday just to get some work in. But he hasn't been in a game since last Wednesday, and Washington said he'll do what he can to get him in tonight's game. "He needs to face some hitters," Washington said.
* Taylor Teagarden is expected to catch in the day game on Thursday.
* Adrian Beltre was taken out of Tuesday's game to get him a few innings off.
* Wilson noted that he does not like the Yankee Stadium mound, something he'll have to deal with Thursday. He said it constantly gets mud in his cleats and that he just doesn't like it.