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Nolan Ryan Thinks Rangers Are Better In 2012

SURPRISE, Ariz. (CBSDFW.COM) - He is truly EF Hutton. When the Rangers president and CEO talks, we all listen. At least that was the case when he met the spring training media throng in a tiny, hot tent Wednesday afternoon.

Nolan Ryan Spring Training
Nolan Ryan at spring training 2012 (Gina Miller/CBSDFW)

"I think we're a better ball club," Ryan responded when asked to compare the 2012 Rangers to the 2011 unit that went to the World Series for the second straight year.

Ryan didn't need to be prodded to explain his reasoning.

"If you ask me why I think we're a better ball club going into spring training in 2012? We're a stronger club than we've ever been because of our young pitching and the number of innings they've logged and the success they've had getting a feel for what their durability is."

It's not just the young guys that give him such optimism.

"We have a nucleus of guys, position players, that play every day and play hard," he continued. "We have what I call established veterans on the ball club that aren't at the end of their careers. Their in the peak of their careers. "

"You can kind of go around the ball club and you look at Josh (Hamilton) and you look at Adrian (Beltre) and you look at Ian (Kinsler) and you look at Michael (Young), Nellie (Cruz). That's a nucleus of a ballclub that's not yet growing old."

"The biggest thing you say, 'what would you like to see?' Less time on DL. When you look at what happened with our club last year and we did it key people spending time on the DL. If we can narrow the amount of time those folks spend on the DL, it increases the opportunity for us to be an even better ball club."

I don't need to remind you how last season ended. The only way to improve on 2011? Go to the World Series and win in 2012. Easier said than done.

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