Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 2/18/13
SURPRISE, Ariz. New Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan has been a busy man since full-squad workouts began for the Rangers. Magadan has been in the batting cages early and watching batting practice late to try and get a feel for what he has to work with. Beginning Thursday, when he has his first hitter's meeting in advance of Friday's Cactus League opener, he'll make it known what's expected of the Texas hitters. "Get back to grinding out the at-bats," Magadan said of the message. "Be ready to hit from the first pitch on but have a plan. Know what your responsibility is in that at-bat. Know what your responsibility is on this team. Know what your role is on this team and let's not just play for the three-run homer." Magadan has had a chance to talk briefly with hitters but has mainly focused early on getting to know them on a personal level and trying to develop relationships. He also realized he's not trying to re-invent the wheel despite the offensive losses of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young. The Rangers scored a major-league high 808 runs last season but when the offense scuffled down the stretch scoring 133 runs in the final 31 games a change had to be made. That meant replacing Scott Coolbaugh with Magadan, who was with Boston. He's put the focus on having tougher at-bats and with a plan. "There's a lot of different ways to impact the game without hitting a home run," Magadan said. "Starting a two-out rally with a 10-pitch walk. It could be fighting off a tough pitch with two strikes and blooping it into right field to drive in two runs. There's a lot of different ways. Obviously they did some things right last year they led all of baseball in runs scored. To a guy, they'd all admit there was something missing, especially in the last month of the season." If the Rangers fail to manufacture runs under Magadan, it won't be because a lack of effort on his part. Manager Ron Washington, an early arrival at camp every morning, can find Magadan working with hitters in the cages at 7:30 a.m. because he doesn't want any of his players to get to work before he does. Washington likes that. "He's good," Washington said. "He's a very communicative guy. He knows his stuff. So far in BP I've seen these guys staying in the big part of the field, which is what hitting is about. As we move along, he's going to pay dividends for us." The dividends hopefully will come once the season begins. As for now, he's not focused so much on mechanics, tinkering or changing. It's about getting to know what he's got to work with. "I'm trying to familiarize myself with these guys not only mechanically and what they do at the plate but just in a relationship," Magadan said. "There's no worse way to kick off a poor relationship than say 'Hey you need to change this, this and this.' We'll take baby steps."
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