Peguero's hot spring has him in thick of outfield competition

Perennial Cactus League thumper looking to break out in regular season

Peguero's hot spring has him in thick of outfield competition

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Outfielder Carlos Peguero is having a great spring. Again.

Peguero, the former Mariners power-hitting prospect, is in camp on a Minor League invite and went 3-for-4 against the Mariners on Saturday. He is now hitting .440 for the spring and maintaining a strong presence in the Rangers' outfield competition.

"I'm just trying to have fun and don't try to do too much," Peguero said. "I'm not being in a hurry and putting pressure on myself. Let God do the job for me."

Peguero has been known to have great Spring Training numbers during his time with the Mariners, and again with the Royals last spring. Over the past four years, Peguero is hitting .335 in the Cactus League (50-for-149) with a .611 slugging percentage.

But he has never been able to carry that over into the regular season. Peguero has played in 69 Major League games over the past four years, hitting .196 with nine home runs, 28 RBIs and 89 strikeouts.

Peguero has struck out once per every 2.57 plate appearances as a Major Leaguer. That's the worst rate for an American League hitter with at least 200 plate appearances since the designated hitter was adopted in 1973.

"The difference is I'm able to have a plan and have a purpose, understand what I have to do," Peguero said. "Don't get out of my game."

So the Rangers have to decide if what Peguero is doing this spring is another mirage, or a hitter who has figured some things at the plate.

Manager Jeff Banister said Peguero looks "hitterish" at the plate, which means he has a good plan and a good approach. He is using the whole field and showing better pitch selection. Peguero had three singles on Sunday, including one that came by beating out a ground ball with his speed.

"One of the things he is showing us is he can cut down on his swing and use the wide side of the field," Banister said. "The other day he blasted a double to left-center. He's cutting down on the strikeouts. People who have seen him before say there is a different look to the hitter right now."

Rangers sign Pastornicky: The Rangers have signed infielder Tyler Pastornicky to a Minor League contract. He was released by the Braves earlier this spring.

Pastornicky has spent part of the past three seasons with the Braves, hitting .243 with a .295 on-base percentage and a .314 slugging percentage. He was originally drafted by the Blue Jays and has a good relationship with Triple-A Round Rock hitting coach Justin Mashore. Pastornicky can also play center.

"His versatility and athleticism are really attractive and unique in the sense he can play middle infield and center field," Rangers pro scouting director Josh Boyd.

Worth noting:

• Reliever Keone Kela pitched a scoreless seventh and has not allowed a run in five appearances this spring.

Rougned Odor has 10 hits in his last 22 at-bats.

Neftali Feliz, hitting 95 on the radar gun, retired the side in order in the eighth and has not allowed a run in four Cactus League appearances.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.