Nolan Ryan says these Rangers are his best team

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“I can’t go into that,” Ryan said. “There’s so many factors that come into play when you’re talking about long-term contracts. It doesn’t matter who it is. At this point in time, I think everybody kind of just decided that we’d just let things kind of settle down before we went anywhere.”

The Rangers are proceeding with a plan to move Hamilton to left with a competition this spring to find another center fielder.

“We feel like one of them will surface and basically be our everyday center fielder,” Ryan said, “but it’s a pretty good option if you’ve got to go back to Josh in center field.”

Ryan said Darvish fits right in as a young pitcher with the Rangers‘ other talented youngsters _ Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39 ERA), Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95), former closer Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando (13-8, 3.51).

“If you want to look at our ballclub and analyze our ballclub, the area that I think we have more upside than any other area is our pitching staff and mainly our starting staff,” Ryan said, “because of the youth that we have in there. I don’t think those guys have reached the level that I think they’re capable of going to, and that includes Yu. Obviously he’s in that same age group as the rest of those young starters. I think his better years are ahead of him.”

Ryan hopes the Rangers‘ nucleus stays healthy.

“We have what I call established veterans on the ballclub that aren’t at the end of their careers. They’re at the peak of their careers,” Ryan said. “You kind of go around the ballclub and you look at Josh and you look at Adrian (Beltre) and you look at Ian (Kinsler) and you look at Michael (Young) and Nelly (Nelson Cruz) and that’s the nucleus of a ballclub that’s not growing old yet.”

Last season, the team won despite injuries to important players.

“If we can narrow the amount of time that those guys spend on the disabled list,” Ryan said, `then it even increases the opportunities that we have of being an even better ballclub. That’s the way I look at it.”

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