Nolan Ryan has arrived at spring training, and lucky him he got to meet with the media before the Rangers' Cactus League opener later Friday.
He answered questions for roughly 28 minutes on a variety of subjects, the meatiest of which were Josh Hamilton, Jurickson Profar and the off-season.
Ryan didn't say anything juicy about Hamilton or his comments about DFW not being a baseball town. (Nobody has asked me, but isn't DFW, at the very least, two towns?) Ryan said that Hamilton is trying to adjust to new surroundings and likely has a lot swirling in his head after last season and the off-season.
"Josh is probably making an adjustment," Ryan said. "He has to sort through things."
The newsiest soundbyte from Ryan was his thoughts on Profar, the game's top prospect. Asked how man at-bats would serve his development well enough, Ryan said a minimum of 350. Ryan then said he doesn't see how that can happen without a rotating infield, which he's not at all for, or an injury.
Profar, as it has appeared since Lance Berkman was acquired, looks to be headed to Triple A Round Rock.
"I think you put him out there everyday in spring training, give him an opportunity to play short and second, give him an opportunity to get as many at-bats to try to establish a comfort level of where you think he is in his development, see how spring training goes, and at the end of spring training sort it out," Ryan said. "That's the way it has to be approached. That way you have options and you have comfort level of where he is and then what the need of the team is. I think it's a great position to be in."
As for the off-season, which many in the media and in baseball have proclaimed to be a dud, Ryan said he is excited about Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski, and was pleased with how the baseball operations group recovered after Hamilton signed with Anaheim.
"I laugh when I hear these comments that it was a disaster and the worst offseason in the history of our organization," Ryan said.
"I think our baseball guys took a step back and said, 'Alright, what we formulated going into the offseason hasn't materialized. So we need to step back, look at the landscape and figure out what we can do to improve our ballclub. You have certain needs and you have to look at what your needs are and what’s available, not only from free agent standpoint but trade possibilities. We're a team that builds from within and we don't like givng up our young talent that we've brought through our system and have high hopes for, but we realized we have to in the right situation and we've been willing to do that moreso in July trades than offseason trades."
-- Jeff Wilson