If You're Hardcore: Figuring out Rangers' roles

Nearly three weeks into the 2008 season, the Texas Rangers are one of the only American League teams with starting offensive spots still in flux. The club began the season with an expected starting lineup of Ben Broussard at first base, Milton Bradley at designated hitter, and Josh Hamilton, Frank Catalanotto and Marlon Byrd manning the outfield. David Murphy won a job as the top reserve outfielder and Jason Botts was the primary backup at first base and DH.

Broussard and Catalanotto are left-handers who don't handle lefty pitchers well, so the switch-hitting Botts and right-handed fifth outfielder Nelson Cruz (Murphy is a lefty as well) figured to occupy platoon roles at first base and left field, respectively.

Fifteen games into the season, the Rangers have faced only three left-handers. However, some conclusions can be drawn.