Matt Kata explodes for 5 RBI in victory

Mark Teixeira follows through on a single

Matt Kata's 4 for 5 afternoon includes a grand slam that breaks an 8-8 tie as the Rangers go on to defeat the Rockies, 12-8.

The Good

Jerry Hairston's addition to the 40-man roster may have put a dent in Matt Kata's chances of making the team. But from the looks of today he's certainly not going to go quietly into the night.

Kata's seventh inning grand slam off Ramon Ramirez put the Rangers in front for good and was the capper a five RBI afternoon. Kata also had a solo homerun earlier in the game off Rockies starter Joe Francis.

Not to be outdone, Hairston had a 3 for 4 afternoon with a double and two singles.

Bruce Chen filled in for scheduled starter Vicente Padilla and performed admirably. He finished his three innings of work allowing five hits and no runs with a strikeout.

Mike Wood finished the day for the Rangers with three innings of hitless ball, two strikeouts, and picked up the win.

Mark Teixeira returned to action after missing six days with a knee strain and had a single.

Nate Gold added his second homerun of the spring as part of an eight run bottom of the seventh inning.

The Bad

Vicente Padilla was nixed from his start this afternoon with some tenderness in his right elbow.

The Ugly

Perhaps the most harrowing story of the spring so far continues to be the performance of Wes Littleton. In his outing today Littleton displayed very little control, at one point walking three batters in a row. He also allowed a two run homer to Brad Hawpe and was gone after recording just one out.

Rick Bauer had an equally troubling afternoon, allowing five runs on five hits in an inning of work.

Notable

John Koronka and Josh Rupe were both optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma today, officially eliminating them from the quest to find the 5th starter in the rotation. Joining them will be pitchers A.J. Murray, Franklyn German, Willie Erye, catchers Salomon Manriquez and Kevin Richardson, and first baseman Nate Gold.

Joaquin Arias's injures woes are continuing. He still has yet to play in the field this spring and now is suffering from in infected right thumb after somehow cutting it a few days ago.

Eric Gagne threw 20 pitches in a simulated game this afternoon. He may make his first "A" game appearance of the spring on Wednesday against the Cubs.

Gerald Laird was the victim of an elaborate prank Sunday that involved him being led out of the clubhouse in handcuffs by two Surprise police officers. It was widely considered by many as the best spring training practical joke since Hank Blalock was told he was going 59 in a 35-mph zone and threatened with jail time.

On Tuesday, Robinson Tejeda gets the ball first against the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers have an off day on Monday.

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