An off-season expected to be full of changes for the Texas Rangers so far has produced only a few, and two of those have been on the coaching staff.
The latest change, announced Thursday, didn't involve a new hire but instead a swap in the first- and third-base coaching boxes.
Gary Pettis, who stole 354 bases as a player in 11 big-league seasons, will move from first-base coach to third-base coach in 2013 after a swap with Dave Anderson.
The Rangers are hoping that the instincts that made Pettis a top-flight base runner will translate to the coaching box.
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"Gary being the base-running guy he is, I wanted to get him on the other side and use his expertise," manager Ron Washington said.
"The name of the game is scoring runs. I think he'll be able to react a lot more quickly."
The Rangers scored the most runs in the majors in 2012, but they didn't run the bases as well or as aggressively as in past seasons. Anderson had been the third-base coach since 2009, and infamously was caught up in Josh Hamilton's base-running injury early in 2011 at Detroit. Hamilton broke his humerus bone after he tagged up and tried to score from third on a pop-up in foul territory.
"This isn't a demotion to Dave," Washington said. "[Pettis] being that base runner will help our guys trust him."
Bench coach Jackie Moore, pitching coach Mike Maddux and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins will also return. The only personnel change came last month, when the Rangers hired Dave Magadan to replace Scott Coolbaugh as hitting coach.
The off-season business will continue to gain steam today as the Rangers must decide by 4 p.m. if they will make a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying contract offer to free agents Hamilton and Mike Napoli.
If those players receive an offer but sign with another team, the Rangers would receive draft-pick compensation. It's an easy decision on Hamilton, who is seeking much more than $13.3 million in his new deal.
Napoli, though, is a bit trickier. He turned down a three-year offer for $38 million last off-season, but saw a significant drop-off at the plate in 2012.
The Rangers likely would not make a similar offer to him this off-season.
Players who receive qualifying offers have until Nov. 9 to make their decision.
Steve Busby and Matt Hicks, who took over prominent broadcasting roles after Dave Barnett suffered a strange lapse during a June telecast at San Diego, have signed multiyear deals to stay with the Rangers.
Busby and Tom Grieve will return as the Rangers' TV broadcast team in 2013, and Eric Nadel and Hicks will return to the radio booth.
Barnett's contract expired and wasn't renewed.
"We received great response to our television and radio broadcasts, and feel this is the best way for us to go forward," said John Blake, the Rangers' executive vice president for communications. "We thank Dave for his contributions on radio and television over the last few years and wish him the best for the future."
Rangers add catcher
Seeking depth behind the plate, the Rangers acquired catcher Konrad Schmidt on a waiver claim from Arizona.
Schmidt joins Geovany Soto and Luis Martinez as catchers on the 40-man roster. He played four big-league games in 2012 and four more in 2010, so he doesn't appear to be an answer should Mike Napoli leave via free agency.
Schmidt played most of last season at Triple A Reno, where he batted .277 with seven homers in 93 games. He also threw out 14 of 55 attempted base stealers (25.5 percent).
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760