Pudge Rodriguez eager to instruct

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Part of Pudge Rodriguez's new role with the Texas Rangers organization is as an instructor. That includes working with the younger players in every part of the minor-league system.

Rodriguez got a chance to go to the Dominican Republic with a group of Rangers personnel and talked with one of the club's top prospects, catcher Jorge Alfaro. The 19-year-old hit .261 with five homers and 34 RBIs in 74 games in Class A Hickory last season. He also hit .292 in winter ball. Scouts are high on Alfaro's abilities behind the plate.

"He has great talent," Rodriguez said. "He's a good hitter. Defensively, I think he's going to be great. I talked to him already for a long time and he seems like he's a great kid and likes the game a lot.

"The way I see him is that he's the future of our team. He has major league talent. He's not there yet, but my job is to work with him and do the best that I can to get him ready to be in the big leagues pretty soon."

That's high praise from a guy with 13 Gold Gloves, a 12-time starter in the All-Star Game and the 1999 AL MVP.