This is not what the Rangers expected. In December it appeared that free-agent third baseman Todd Zeile would re-sign with Texas, but he suddenly decided he wanted to play for the Mets. Manager Johnny Oates then tabbed hard-hitting Mike Lamb, the franchise's minor league player of the year in 1999, to man the hot corner. Now, after Lamb struggled in the spring, the position belongs to Tom Evans. Not long ago the 25-year-old Evans was considered a top prospect in the Blue Jays' organization, but then his career was derailed by an assortment of injuries. Finally healthy, Evans—whom the Rangers claimed off waivers last spring—has impressed the Texas brass with his power and improved ability to hit off-speed pitches. "There's a reason we got Tom Evans," Oates says. "He's very confident about his hitting, and he's opening some eyes."