Commentary

Pennant-shifting position battles

The Rumor Central crew dives into 10 key position battles that could shift pennant races

Updated: February 28, 2011, 3:52 PM ET
By Jason A. Churchill & Doug Mittler | ESPN Insider
Ivan Nova and Craig KimbrelGetty Images, US PresswireIvan Nova and Craig Kimbrel are each looking to lock down a key spot for a contending team.

Each week during spring training, we'll take a look at how position battles are playing out. This week, we take a look at which position battles could directly influence the race for a pennant.

Los Angeles Angels: catcher
With a three-player battle for two spots, the Angels may have an easier decision if they believe that switch-hitting prospect Hank Conger needs more time in Triple-A Salt Lake to work on his defense and swing from the right side of the plate. It may not be out of the question that all three make the Opening Day roster, as manager Mike Scioscia went with three last year, including this year's favorites, Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson. Wilson started the first game of the Cactus League schedule for the Angels, going 1-for-2 and throwing out two would-be base stealers.

Hunch: All three will make the club unless the Angels hang on to prospect Mark Trumbo to help out at first base while Kendry Morales gets back to 100 percent.

Texas Rangers: closer