SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas' second-ranked prospect, Mike Olt, saw his first outfield action of the spring Thursday, when he replaced Nelson Cruz in right field during the Rangers' matinee against Cleveland.
Olt has spent a lot of time in camp working with outfield instructor Gary Pettis, and after dropping a routine pop-up in a spot start in the outfield last season, he looked far more comfortable there. He made a nice play in Thursday's 10-0 win on a fly ball off the bat of Drew Stubbs -- the first batter after he entered.
"It's going to be a little different feeling than when I was out there last year because I've actually been working hard at it the last couple weeks," the 24-year-old Olt said.
This spring, Olt has gotten work at the corner infield spots, where he has spent the majority of his young career. But a good showing in the outfield would give Olt the versatility the Rangers are looking for in order for him to crack the big-league roster out of camp.
Olt said the biggest difference is in reading the ball off the bat. His reaction time is quicker, he says, as a result of reacting directly to the ball rather than the swing and trajectory of the bat.
"It's definitely exciting," Olt said of playing in the outfield for the first time this spring. "I've been working a lot out there, and the only way to really get better at it is being in live situations."
Holland impresses in final outing before Classic
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland gave Team USA plenty to be pleased about Thursday afternoon.
In the left-hander's final start before leaving Rangers camp to compete in the World Baseball Classic, Holland looked like the same pitcher who turned so many heads during the 2011 postseason.
He located well all day and tossed four scoreless innings, allowing three hits in the Rangers' 10-0 victory against Cleveland -- their first of the spring.
"I feel like I'm ready to go," Holland said. "The next step, obviously, is going with Team USA and doing what we came out to do and that's to win it all. Then get back here with Texas and do what we're trying to do, and that's the same thing."
Holland isn't sure when he'll pitch again, but he'll likely throw a bullpen session with Team USA before he is scheduled to take the hill March 2 against Canada.
"My main focus is always being with Texas," Holland said. "This is a temporary leave, being with Team USA. I get to represent the country. That's something you dream about. But at the same time, you have to remember, I'm playing for Texas at all times."
Manager Ron Washington expressed no concern over Holland's departure, given that he'll be in the care of Team USA pitching coach Greg Maddux, whose brother holds the same position for Texas.
Washington also said he sees a more focused Holland this spring, but that doesn't mean he has changed his comedic nature.
"Curtailing the goofiness is something he has to determine how much he wants to, for him," Washington said. "I just want Derek Holland, and if goofiness comes with it, it comes with it. I just want him to learn how to focus better, that's all. I certainly don't want him to change. I like who he is."
And Holland agrees. The focus, he says, is there, but it hasn't changed his personality a bit.
"I'm still the same person I was from last year and the year before, anybody can tell you," Holland said. "Nothing's really changed. I'm obviously focused, that's the whole plan, but nothing's changed with me. I'm still that goofball.
"But I'm focused, I'm dedicated and I'm doing everything I can to fulfill my expectations. I've got a contract and I need to show that that contract was worth it. I want to make myself proud, I want to make Texas proud and everybody else around me."
Ross feels usual soreness rebuilding arm strength
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Robbie Ross woke up with a familiar feeling in his left arm Thursday morning, that bit of extra soreness that comes a day after starting a game or throwing multiple innings.
It's something Ross didn't get to experience much as a lefty reliever for the Rangers last year, when he appeared in 58 games and threw 65 innings.
"It's that normal soreness," said Ross, who allowed two runs in three innings Wednesday against the White Sox. "It's that feeling that I'm going three innings now, so I feel good."
Ross progressed through the Minor Leagues primarily as a starter and has been thrust back into the role this spring in a competition for the club's vacant No. 5 starter role. He is competing with Randy Wells, Martin Perez, Justin Grimm and Kyle McClellan, among others.
"We're all working to get a job," said Ross, who is scheduled to pitch four innings his next time out. "I think the biggest thing is we're all out here working our tail off and enjoying it at the same time. You obviously get a little nervous when you think about how things are going to fall into place, but you've just got to enjoy it."
Ross worked two solid innings before faltering in his third, when he hit Adam Dunn and then allowed a home run to Paul Konerko. But Ross said the struggles that inning weren't tied at all to the length he pitched. He said he just didn't make the right pitches to Konerko.
Manager Ron Washington gave Chicago's veteran first baseman all the credit.
"Other than that, I thought Robbie did a great job out there," Washington said. "He moved the ball around, in and out, used his breaking ball and changeup, and I thought he did a good job."
Andrus sits out due to sensitivity from new tattoo
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Elvis Andrus has been wanting a tattoo to memorialize his father for a long time. Six years, in fact.
When he finally got it done Wednesday, it had some unexpected consequences on the Rangers' Spring Training plans.
Andrus was scratched from the starting lineup before the Rangers' game Thursday against Cleveland because of sensitivity in his left arm stemming from the tattoo.
After having nine hours of work done on the tattoo the past two days, Andrus said it felt like his arm was "on fire" Thursday morning.
"Doing it in the offseason was probably the best idea," he conceded.
Will the tattoo force manager Ron Washington to implement a no-new-ink rule during the season?
"I hope not," Washington said. "But if that's what it does to you -- but Elvis has been working hard, and having another day is not going to hurt him."
The tattoo features a picture of his father with the words "In loving memory" and "Dad" surrounding the image. Andrus' father passed away in 1996.
Andrus will be back in the lineup Friday and Saturday before he leaves to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
MLB.com's top prospect, Jurickson Profar, replaced Andrus at shortstop in Thursday's game against Cleveland, and he'll do so again during Andrus' stint with Venezuela, which could last until March 20.
• Craig Gentry's left hamstring ailment is progressing, and the center fielder said he could be in the lineup if it were the regular season. Instead, he'll spend at least another day on the bench. He went through routine outfield drills and batting practice in the cage before Thursday's game against the Indians.
Gentry is in competition with Leonys Martin and Julio Borbon for the club's starting center field spot.
"The more I got to play last year, the better I did," Gentry said. "I know if I get a chance to get in there and I can get repetition offensively, then I definitely feel good about my chances."
• A deadline on whether Engel Beltre will be able to play for Spain in the World Baseball Classic is coming soon, assistant general manager Thad Levine said. Beltre has a strained shoulder muscle that has kept him out of camp, and the Rangers are worried about throwing him directly into nine-inning action.
• Reliever Yoshinori Tateyama was scratched from Thursday's game against Cleveland because of lower-back stiffness. He will be shut down the next couple days and then re-evaluated. Righty Josh Lindblom, acquired from Philadelphia in the Michael Young trade, slid into his spot and pitched a scoreless fifth inning.
• Tanner Scheppers, who has been battling a strained left hamstring, felt fine after his bullpen session on Wednesday and is slated to throw another Friday.