Small talk.

The winter can be long, and it's with that caveat that I measure the words of folks who have been champing at the bit not only to put a uniform back on and to get back on the freshly cut Bermuda, or to get back on a director's chair in front of a live camera, but also to talk baseball again.

Does it mean anything when Bobby Valentine says on ESPN on February 18 that Ron Washington is on the hottest seat of any manager in the league? Does it mean anything when C.J. Wilson tells a reporter in so many words that his stuff is better than Rich Harden's and that he has too many weapons to be assigned to the eighth inning?

We've all been waiting months and months for baseball. Part of that for Valentine and Wilson has been preparing to make bold comments that will show up the next day in newspapers and on blogs and around water coolers, and that's fine. What they said wasn't as carefully scripted as whatever it is that Tiger Woods will say later this morning, but that's two guys who have never shied away from the provocative, and whether it's issuing a proclamation -- before clubs have even fully reported to camp -- as to which manager has the least job security or announcing that you disagree with the role your team has given you, that sort of talk basically generates more talk. Things will sort themselves out on the field.

Matt Harrison losing 30 pounds is a bigger story than what C.J. Wilson thinks his job should be.

Look, I hope that a stretched-out Wilson is so dominant in camp that the club has to decide how to sort out having too many quality starting pitchers. And truthfully, I want every player on this team believing he's capable of doing more than he's ever done, or filling a more highly leveraged role. My guess is that Wilson ends up reassigned to the eighth inning, but there's nothing wrong with him getting the opportunity to go out and prove he should be entrusted with more.

Speaking of words, and things playing out between the lines, this focus in the press this week on how the situation behind the plate may be the camp's most spirited battle is interesting. This isn't Taylor Teagarden declaring that he should be the starter, or Toby Hall scoffing at the thought that Texas continues to hunt for a veteran to compete for a roster spot. It's coming from the manager and the general manager, whose thoughts on such a subject mean something. The job isn't being taken away from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but it's been made clear the last couple days that it's not being handed to him, either.

Everyone who is supposed to be in camp in time for today's first workout is there, and a few who didn't have to be there yet are, too. Time to roll.

Changing batteries?

Is there more competition

At C than at P?

===========================================================

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title_authors

Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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