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From what i can gather he's looking decent. Everyone says he's in stellar shape, just needs to exact his timing.

They said in batting practice he put 3 shots out that would have been past the visitors bullpen at Ameriquest

...and in an unrelated story, the napa wine region has reported a switch to screw tops because of a sudden cork shortage.

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...and in an unrelated story, the napa wine region has reported a switch to screw tops because of a sudden cork shortage.

:LMAO:

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Yo, VG, Sosa article.

Good article, thanks Lorf. So far I'm impressed with how he's been, and now i'm anxious to see what he does for real.

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Good Article About Rangers Pitcher C.J. Wilson

 

 

 

Rangers' Wilson one eccentric individualBy Jerry Crasnick

 

 

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson is working on a novel and a gyroball this spring -- not necessarily in that order.

 

His novel, "Instructions for My Next Life,'' is written from the vantage point of a deceased minor league ballplayer whose personal journal is discovered by his family. Like Wilson, the book's protagonist is a Tommy John surgery guy. But any other similarities are purely coincidental.

 

Wilson describes the book, which is still a work in progress, as a "fictional memoir'' more akin to something from the Mitch Albom catalogue than, say, "Three Nights in August.'' Baseball is merely a backdrop for more … well … cosmic concerns.

 

"It's not a sports book,'' Wilson says. "It's a life book.''

 

 

 

Karl Wright/Icon SMI

C.J. Wilson had a 4.06 ERA in 44 relief appearances for the Rangers last season.The gyroball is a toy that Wilson tinkers with during free moments in camp. He wants to master the pitch in hopes that it can complement his live fastball, hard sinker, slider and changeup. Wilson also plans to go to school picking Texas closer Eric Gagne's brain this season, and embrace the role of closer when the opportunity presents itself.

 

Maybe then Wilson can achieve his most ambitious goal of all -- marrying actress Charlize Theron. So what if she already has a husband? If a man sets his mind to something, there's no limit to what he can accomplish.

 

"I can cook. I can clean. I'm a baseball player,'' Wilson says, "and if I have some deficiency, I'll work on it. As a pitcher, if you couldn't throw a slider, you'd work on it. It's the same thing personally as athletically. That's what baseball has taught me.''

 

 

Left-of-center mind-set

Spend a week roaming the Cactus League, and you never know what kind of inspirational, offbeat story you might find. Former Marine Cooper Brannan, who lost a finger to an explosion in Iraq, is pitching in the San Diego system. Pitcher Juan Sandoval is back in Seattle's camp after losing an eye to a shotgun blast, and 40-year-old reliever David Veres is attempting a comeback with the Rockies after hip replacement surgery.

Then there's C.J. Wilson, who's battling a different affliction: He's an intellectual.

 

And a left-hander, to boot.

 

Wry and cerebral social observers haven't always meshed with the baseball establishment through the years. Think of Bill Lee finding new and innovative ways to irritate Don Zimmer in Boston, or Jim Bouton arousing suspicion in the Seattle Pilots clubhouse as he toted around a notebook jotting down observations for "Ball Four.''

 

Before the Giants gave Barry Zito a seven-year, $126 million contract, agent Scott Boras stressed that Zito was ready to downplay his extracurricular activities and devote himself to being a great pitcher. Never mind that Zito credits his love of music and photography for keeping him mentally fresh off the field and making him a better ballplayer.

 

Wilson, like Zito, has a touch of Southern California surfer dude in him, which leads to the other inevitable comparisons. He brings to mind Nuke LaLoosh with a 150 IQ, "Spaceman'' Lee without the self-promotion, and Sidd Finch with slightly less velocity.

 

During a recent 45-minute conversation at his locker, Wilson shared an encyclopedic knowledge of movies as well as insights into the philosophies that make him tick. He believes in Taoism, a Chinese faith that teaches its followers to become attuned to the flow of change. "Have you seen 'Star Wars'?'' he says. "The Jedis were Taoists.'' Wilson also adheres to the precepts of Straight Edge, an offshoot of the punk movement that discourages drug and alcohol use. He claims he has never had a beer.

 

Creativity is a family heirloom. Wilson's parents are both photographers, and his late grandfather was a mathematician. After two years of junior college, he entered the screenwriting program at Loyola Marymount University, where he submitted several heist and revenge type plots. Think less Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs'' than French director Luc Besson's "The Professional.''

 

Wilson found an early mentor in former big leaguer Bud Black, whom he met through a family connection. One day during a visit, Black suggested they turn off the NFL game on television and have a catch in the yard.

 

"You could tell in about three throws that he had a good, live arm,'' says Black, now San Diego's manager. The Rangers recognized that potential when they signed Wilson as a fifth-round pick in 2001.

 

For years, Wilson discovered that fitting into the clubhouse dynamic was a challenge. At one point he was so withdrawn he would sit at his locker with headphones and shut himself off from his teammates. So he took a job at Nordstrom's department store, selling clothes to strangers and essentially willing himself not to be shy anymore.

 

Every year, he makes it a point to add a new skill to his repertoire. There was the cooking binge. And now he's learning to play the guitar, under the theory that it will make him a more rounded person and a better baseball player.

 

"If you pick up a guitar for the first time, it's a completely foreign instrument,'' Wilson says. "You have six strings and 23 frets, and there are a jillion different combinations of hand positions. You have no idea what's going on.

 

"If you can learn a couple of songs, it unlocks so many different things in your mind when you're on the mound. I'm always experimenting. It's a principle I live by.''

 

Lots of pitchers are familiar with Ray Miller's mantra of "Work Fast. Change Speeds. Throw Strikes." Wilson is just as likely to quote the legendary Japanese samurai Miyamoto Musashi, an accomplished swordsman who eventually turned to more artistic pursuits.

 

To truly know the sword, Musashi wrote in "The Book of Five Rings,'' you must also know the brush.

 

 

Baseball traditionalist

Of course, this stuff wouldn't have gone over with old-school "ball guys'' like Leo Durocher, but Wilson's coaches abide his quirks because he works so hard and is so devoted to his craft. He's familiar with the pitching theories of Tom House and Mike Marshall, and he's a student of baseball history. As a kid in Southern California, Wilson grew up collecting baseball cards and memorizing the arcane statistics and factoids on the back. In this respect, he had more in common with the dorks who would grow up to be sportswriters than the cool jocks at school.

Former Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser, now an analyst with ESPN, enjoyed the give-and-take with Wilson during their time together in Texas.

 

"He asked a lot of good questions,'' Hershiser says. "He's not the kind of guy you could say, 'Go do this,' and he automatically wants to go run through a wall. He wants good reasons behind it. It's part of his nature. He's not just questioning you out of orneriness. He questions you because that's the way his mind works.''

 

That innate curiosity extends to all facets of the game. Thad Levine, Texas' assistant general manager, can recall Wilson walking into his office one day and questioning him on how pre-arbitration salaries are determined.

 

 

"If you can learn a couple of songs [playing a guitar], it unlocks so many different things in your mind when you're on the mound. I'm always experimenting. It's a principle I live by."

-- C.J. Wilson"He's a very dynamic individual,'' Levine says. "Once his career in baseball is over, his life will have just begun.''

 

These days, Wilson has no trouble fitting into the clubhouse culture. He's found a kindred spirit in teammate and roommate Kameron Loe, who owns a 7-foot boa constrictor named Angel and shares Wilson's passion for movie-going. After watching "Talladega Nights'' and "Reno: 911,'' the roomies pretty much had the dialogue memorized on their way to the parking lot.

 

The Rangers have shown a willingness to indulge Wilson's creativity, even though Wilson recently had to issue an apology after sending an offensive photo to teammate Brandon McCarthy's myspace page. Wilson is writing a blog for Major League Baseball's Web site, and he's conceived several promotional skits that will air on the Ameriquest Field scoreboard between innings this season.

 

Whether Wilson becomes a baseball footnote or a cult figure will no doubt hinge on his pitching. Last year he held left-handed hitters to a .155 average (11-for-71), a performance that pretty much assured him a spot on the Texas staff.

 

"He's got electric stuff, and he understands pitching,'' Loe says. "He's not just a thrower. And he has that fiery mentality [to be a closer]. I think he can do anything he wants.''

 

So far this spring, Wilson has pitched like a guy with too much on his mind, posting a stratospheric 15.75 ERA in his first four outings. While he's still ticketed to join Ron Mahay as one of two lefties out of the pen, the Rangers dispatched him to a minor league game Thursday so he could work out the kinks.

 

Ultimately, the line between "entertaining'' and "flake'' depends strictly on how many inherited runners you strand. Being smart hasn't hurt Mike Mussina, Brad Ausmus or Padres pitcher and Princeton graduate Chris Young. Then again, how can braininess carry a stigma when Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein went to Yale?

 

"It's amazing what the culture accepts,'' Hershiser says, "as long as you perform.''

 

Does baseball have a place for an eccentric lefty with a fondness for tattoos, auto racing, "Animal Planet,'' Jerry Seinfeld, the music video game Guitar Hero and the teachings of the Chinese Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu? Why the heck not?

 

"If I pitch until I'm 42, I'm going to be a baseball player for what, 15 or 16 more years?'' Wilson says. "I'm going to be a person for a long time. That's what's important to me.''

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osa Officially Makes Roster

 

 

 

 

 

Sosa Possible Revival Key for Rangers

 

 

 

Rangers Quick Hits

 

 

Rangers quick hits

By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are a franchise that has had one winning season in the past seven years and has never finished higher than third since making the playoffs in 1999.

Now they have a new manager in Ron Washington to go along with a stubborn reputation for being a team with great hitting and no pitching.

 

A closer, more clinical examination of the team's strengths and weaknesses might reveal that the hitting is not as good as people suggest, and the pitching is better than perceived. But the Rangers reputation for all-hit, no-pitch is about 20 years old and just won't go away.

What is true is this team has a long list of "What Ifs." If they all turn out positive, they could easily fulfill Washington's unswerving belief that this team will end up in the playoffs. If there are more negative responses than positive, then their reputation will continue to linger.

 

Team strengths: Their infield should be one of the best, especially if Hank Blalock returns to his level of 2003-04. That might be the first What If on the agenda, but he, shortstop Michael Young and first baseman Mark Teixeira have combined to play in six All-Star Games, and second baseman Ian Kinsler is coming off a solid rookie season.

 

Two other potential strengths are the front end of the rotation with Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla, and the back end of the bullpen with Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka. More on Gagne in a moment.

 

Achilles heel: The Rangers need offensive production from the outfield and took a big hit in the winter when Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews Jr. and Mark DeRosa all left because of free agency. Free agents Kenny Lofton and Frank Catalanotto should help the top of the lineup, but the Rangers need a comeback year from left fielder Brad Wilkerson, and they need right fielder Nelson Cruz to establish himself as an everyday Major League player.

 

A big year from Sammy Sosa would also do wonders for the middle of the lineup, giving the Rangers a big presence behind Teixeira.

 

Top newcomer: Sosa, as expected, has garnered the most headlines and the most attention in camp. He seems to gravitate naturally to the spotlight. But Gagne could be huge for the Rangers if he's close to what he was in 2002-04 when he was possibly the best reliever in baseball. Everybody knows he is coming back from elbow and back surgery, but if he's healthy, he and Otsuka could form a formidable 1-2 combination in the back of the bullpen.

 

Ready to make the leap: Cruz has been an excellent Minor League player. He was hitting .302 with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs in 371 at-bats at Triple-A Nashville last year before being traded to the Rangers. He had a .528 slugging percentage and a .378 on-base percentage. Now it's time for him to hit at the Major League level.

 

 

Spotlight on the Rangers

An up-close look at the club as we approach Opening Day

News and Features

 

 

More team spotlights:

American ¬ Angels Athletics Blue Jays Devil Rays Indians - March 23 Mariners Orioles Rangers Red Sox Royals - March 24 Tigers - March 21 Twins - March 25 White Sox - March 22 Yankees National ¬ Astros Braves - March 29 Brewers Cardinals Cubs D-backs - March 18 Dodgers Giants - March 20 Marlins - March 26 Mets - March 30 Nationals - March 27 Padres - March 19 Phillies - March 28 Pirates Reds Rockies - March 17

 

 

On the hot seat: Blalock needs to hit again. Washington is going to give him a chance to play every day, including against left-handers, and now he needs to uphold that faith.

 

In 2003-04, his two All-Star years, he hit a combined .287 with 61 home runs, 200 RBIs, a .352 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage. In 2005-06, he batted .264 with 41 home runs and 181 RBIs, a .321 on-base percentage and a .417 slugging percentage.

 

You can count on: Young coming through with runners in scoring position. Former general manager John Hart, who has seen many great hitters through the years, said Young is the best clutch hitter he has ever seen. His .373 batting average with runners in scoring position over the past four years is the second best in baseball, trailing only Barry Bonds.

 

Litmus test: The Rangers believe they may have their best starting rotation since the division championship seasons of 1996 and 1998-99. Of course, this is not the first time they've felt that way over the past seven years. But if they can get full seasons and consistent quality starts from Brandon McCarthy and Robinson Tejeda, that could wipe out a lot of the What Ifs on this team.

 

Games you don't want to miss:

April 6-8 vs. Boston Red Sox: The Rangers' first three home games. They obviously need to play well at Ameriquest Field in Arlington (they were 39-42 at home in 2006) and they start off with a formidable opponent.

 

May 1-3 vs. New York Yankees: This will be the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez's only trip to Arlington this season. That may be a good thing even though the Yankees are big draws. The Rangers lost all six at home to the Yankees last year.

 

June 19-24 vs. Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros: This will be the Cubs' first appearance ever in Arlington and a chance for Sosa to face his old team. The Astros are always a big draw in Arlington and who knows, maybe Roger Clemens will be back on the mound for the Astros by then.

 

July 13-18 at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics: This six-game road trip comes immediately after the All-Star break and is the only time they face these two teams in back-to-back series on the road this season.

 

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

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Ameriquest Gets Name Change: Now called Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

 

Good, I always loved the originol name, The Ballpark in Arlington,m and i wish they'd go back to that, but this works too.

 

 

Rangers Mailbag with T.R. Sullivan

 

 

Thomas Diamond to have Tommy John Surgery.

 

Will miss entire 2007 season. Dammit.

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what a surprise. you need benitez, we can work a deal.

He's not injured, it's to get him extra work since he hasn't pitched in 2 years, just precautionary. Even if he is hurt, we still have Aki, and Loe will now take his place in the pen as long relief/set up.

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The Desert Review

In the desert on a horse with no name, summing up the Rangers spring game...

 

 

Camp MVP: Ian Kinsler. He is the Rangers next All-Star infielder.

 

Cy Young: Kameron Loe. He was lights out.

 

Spring Surprise: Joaquin Benoit had an outstanding spring and the Rangers are looking at him being a crucial piece to their bullpen.

 

Biggest concern: Hank Blalock hasn't exactly torn it up in the desert.

 

Scariest moment: Nelson Cruz getting hit in the head by a fastball.

 

Unbreakable: Michael Young.

 

Headline stealer: Sammy Sosa. No, he wasn't a big distraction. But he was the big story of camp.

 

Head scratcher: Eric Gagne. There's no really telling what to expect.

 

Irreplacable and invaluable: Akinori Otsuka. No it was not a good trade. But don't think it was all for

nothing.

 

The Cheshire Cat Smile: Mark Teixeira. That's what he flashes when you ask him about his contract situation. The clock is ticking. Two years to go. Don't expect a contract extension

 

Bottom line on Ron Washington: He is energetic. Funny. Colorful. He's not afraid of the media or saying outrageous stuff. But don't be fooled. He is dead serious about winning, he doesn't settle for mediocrity and he can get his message across loud and clear.

 

Lowest Moment of the Spring: Finding out that Thomas Diamond needed Tommy John surgery.

 

Disappointment of the Spring: Joaquin Arias never played the field because of a bad shoulder

 

Was this a good idea: The Rangers played a joke on Gerald Laird. Policemen led him out of the clubhouse in handcuffs, thinking he was on his way to jail. It was great laughs but this is also the guy they want leading their pitching staff.

 

Just wondering: Is Vicente Padilla ready? Oh Vicente? Vicente?

 

Buzz phrase of the spring: "Secondary pitches." Brandon McCarthy has them. Robinson Tejeda needs them. So does Frank Francisco.

 

Also: "Electric stuff." So they say about Jamey Wright.

 

Say it again Sam: Pound the strike zone.

 

Memories of the Past: The Rangers haven't had a catcher who could throw like Chris Stewart since You Know Who.

 

Main Minor League story to watch: John Mayberry Jr. Time for the Rangers 2005 top draft choice to have a breakout year.

 

Three Minor League pitchers to watch: Fabio Castillo, Eric Hurley, A.J. Murray.

 

Time to go home

 

T.R. Sullivan

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Rangers Finalize Roster

 

 

 

SP: Kevin Millwood

SP: Vicente Padilla

SP: Brandon McCarthy

SP: Robinson Tejada

SP: Jamey Wright

 

 

RP: Akinori Otsuka (closer until Gagne returns)

RP: Joaquin Benoit

RP: Kameron Loe

RP: Scott Feldman

RP: C.J. Wilson

RP: Ron Mahay

RP: Mike Wood

RP: Bruce Chen

 

 

Chen and Wood will probly be designated for assignment when Gagne returns from the DL and when it is Jamey Wrights turn to pitch.

 

 

Line up

 

CF: Kenny Lofton

LF: Frank Catalanotto

SS: Michael Young

1B: Mark Teixeira

DH: Sammy Sosa

3B: Hank Blalock

RF: Nelson Cruz

C: Gerald Laird

2B: Ian Kinsler

 

 

 

 

Bench

 

 

C: Miguel Ojeda

OF: Brad Wilkerson

INF/OF: Jerry Hairston Jr.

INF/OF: Matt Kata

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My plan for game days. After every game I'll make a post in here about it, if I personally watched the game it will be my thoughs about how the game went and how it was played, I did upgrade the MLB.TV package to 700 K so maybe it'll be more bareable this year. unfortunately i work a crazy schedule so i will miss a good portion of the live games, so I plan on posting post game thoughts from texasrangers.com or various other sites.

 

 

 

 

The Rangers kick the season off April 2nd at 10:05 EST @ LAA. It will be aired on ESPN2. Kevin Millwood will pitch for the Rangers against John Lackey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We're on the doorstep of another great baseball season ladies and gentlemen.

 

 

 

 

GO RANGERS!

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Yo, VG, I have some good Rangers representation on my team this year. That review I did on Michael Young earlier led me to draft him in hope of a stronger offense around him and a little bit more power. But hey, Teixeira should provide first round production if he gives his second half production in the first and Kinsler should be healthy and hitting. Blalock...yah, about that. But hey, I have Michael Young, Eric Gagne, and for the time being, Akinori Otsuka and your Rangers better carry your weight.

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Yo, VG, I have some good Rangers representation on my team this year. That review I did on Michael Young earlier led me to draft him in hope of a stronger offense around him and a little bit more power. But hey, Teixeira should provide first round production if he gives his second half production in the first and Kinsler should be healthy and hitting. Blalock...yah, about that. But hey, I have Michael Young, Eric Gagne, and for the time being, Akinori Otsuka and your Rangers better carry your weight.

I don't know if the offense around Mike is better, but at the very least he should get more RBI chances with Lofton and Cat in front of him.

 

Teixeira's already thinking about his contract in a couple years, so I expect for the next 2 seasons that he'll go on a tear.

 

Kinsler is ready to explode, I can't believe Washington has him batting 9th.

 

 

From what I've heard Blalock is healthy and has been working on his swing, alot of people have him getting back to '04 form this year.

 

 

Gagne, well call me in May.

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Kinsler is ready to explode, I can't believe Washington has him batting 9th.

 

Seriously? That doesn't make sense for a hitter like Kinsler to be batting ninth! Especially after, no offense, some of your questionables in the outfield. I mean, I don't know his hitter tendencies or anything like that but he just seems like to good a hitter to be in the nine spot.

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Seriously? That doesn't make sense for a hitter like Kinsler to be batting ninth! Especially after, no offense, some of your questionables in the outfield. I mean, I don't know his hitter tendencies or anything like that but he just seems like to good a hitter to be in the nine spot.

What i read said he'll be hitting 9th, we'll find out for sure tonight I guess, but i figured he'd be ahead of Laird and Cruz at least. Maybe i read it wrong but i am almost positive i read the lineup saying he's batting 9th. I just don't believe it though.

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04/03/2007 12:55 AM ET

 

 

Rangers fall short of Angels in opener

Millwood allows three runs in five frames; Kinsler hits solo shot

By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com

 

 

 

 

 

ANAHEIM -- Kenny Lofton recorded his 600th career stolen base, but that didn't keep the Rangers from losing for the fourth straight year on Opening Day.

Starter Kevin Millwood gave up three runs in five innings and was beaten for the second straight year as the Rangers Opening Day pitcher, losing to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 3-1, at Angel Stadium on Monday.

 

Ian Kinsler hit a home run in his first at-bat to account for the Rangers' only run. Lofton walked and stole second base in the first inning to become the 17th player in Major League history with 600 career steals.

 

Vladimir Guerrero continued to terrorize Rangers pitching with an RBI double in the first inning and Casey Kotchman put the Angels ahead for good with a home run to lead off the second inning.

 

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

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3 words: FUCK YOU VLAD! I'm sick of this guy killing us.

 

 

 

Now, after 2 games the only positive has been Kinsler, kid is becoming an amazing player. My advice to Washington, move him up the line up asap, I think we've seen he can hit righties and having him in the 9 hole is criminal. Put him2nd or 3rd and have Young ion the opposite spot.

 

Looks like last years problem with hitting with runners in scoring position has come back for the time being, even Mike hasn't gotten in done yet.

 

I'm not worried about Millwood or Padilla, those guys will get it going after a couple starts. And it is the Angels after all, they've had our number for a while.

 

 

Now for a little positive, I like what Washington has done on the bases, i think we have attempted to steal 4 times and have been successful 3 of those times, we wouldn't have had 4 attempts till may under buck. So at least we're seeing some aggressiveness on the bases.

 

 

 

I should get to watch my first game today, I had to work the last couple nights and been forced to watching the gamecast thing on mlb.com.

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Otsuka-Eaton for Gonzalez-Young-Sledge??????? Your GM should be drawn and quartered. We can't get freaking Gonzalez out. He hits everything hard!!

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