Rangers' catching situation 'dead even'

Rangers' catching situation 'dead even'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden are "dead even" as far as who will be his No. 1 catcher this year.

Washington said Wednesday morning that Saltalamacchia will likely start Thursday's Cactus League opener against the Royals, but Teagarden is also expected to play. Washington announced at the beginning of camp that the catching job was wide open, and that hasn't changed after two weeks.

"Those are our guys," Washington said. "We've got to get them ready to play. They both look good catching. Now we've got to get them playing games."

Washington even added the possibility of the two sharing the position, something the Angels do with Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli.

"We don't have to have a No. 1 guy," Washington said. "Both are quality guys. If somebody doesn't step forward, that's a possibility. If somebody does step up...there it is."

Saltalamacchia was the Rangers' Opening Day catcher last year and got off to a good start until he developed the shoulder problems that ultimately sidelined him in August. He had surgery in September and the Rangers are still withholding judgment on how well he is throwing this spring.

Washington also said Wednesday morning that he had a chat with second-year shortstop Elvis Andrus about maintaining his focus on defense. Andrus dropped a routine pickoff throw for an error in Tuesday's intrasquad game.

"It goes a little further than that," Washington said. "The last thing I want to see ... a dropped pickoff throw. This kid can play; we've got to get him focused because the rest of the league will be focused."

Washington said Andrus, as a rookie last year, came in humble and trying to impress. Washington wants to see that again this spring.

"I don't see arrogance and cockiness, I just see focus," Washington said. "He should be supremely confident because he's a great talent. I just want to see focus. The focus part comes on defense. That's what I need. I've got to get him more focused."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.