The Texas Rangers are jumping out of the gate quickly in this early 2011 MLB season. But the question is, will they be in the running down the stretch?

With a double sweep under their belt early in the season against the Red Sox and now the Seattle Mariners, manager Ron Washington continues to change the batting order at the bottom of the lineup. He has also been making changes to find time for players to get rest, even this early in the season.

In the offseason, the questions circled around why Mike Napoli was brought on board for this team. Napoli plays catcher and first base. Washington seems to like to have the variety of players who can play multiple positions.

The Rangers have a couple of young guns in Mitch Moreland at first and Yorvit Torrealba at catcher. Napoli can easily fill in to give one of the two guns a rest.

Washington has moved the defensive positioning around as well. Michael Young, who was playing third base, was, for the first time at first base. Washington also moved Nelson Cruz from RF to DH for a couple of games.

Washington has placed Elvis Andrus into the No. 2 hole. Andrus, who recently ended a drought of 705 at-bats over 179 regular season games without a homer, was set to be lower in the batting order, but has benefited from being in between Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton early in the season.

Julio Boron has been on the bench the past few games with Hamilton moving back into center field and David Murphy in left field.

Will Hamilton and Borbon make moves in the outfield during the season or has Washington seen enough of Borbon in center to know he may just not be ready to the major leagues?

With Murphy batting .600 in three games this season, Borbon’s at-best mediocre play may have made to harder for him to get back into the lineup.

Some have also question Adrian Beltre and Cruz switching spots in the lineup. Cruz, who has been on a tear so far this season, one has to wonder if Beltre will move to the No. 5 hole with Cruz taking over cleanup duties.

Washington—with 156 games to go—has a lot of time to tweak the lineup to work for the Rangers as well as get rest for vital players. The top of the lineup through the No. 5 hole has played all six games.

It will be interesting to see what Washington does during those days when players at the top of the order do need that rest.

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