Rangers manager Ron Washington said Friday is an exciting day because Cactus League games have begun. He talked to the media about which group of players he will focus on this spring. Video by Jeff Wilson.
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."
Derek Holland starts Friday afternoon for the Rangers in the annual
charity game against the Royals to kick off the Cactus League season.
is scheduled for a 50-pitch, three-inning outing and is looking to start the
2013 season off right.
“I’m expecting big things out of myself,” Holland said. “We already know what No. 1 and
2 [Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish] can do, so I’ve got to do my job now. I didn’t
have the year I wanted to last year, so it starts now.”
Two regulars who won’t be in Friday’s lineup are third
baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter Lance Berkman. Both are dealing
with minor injuries and the Rangers aren’t going to push them early in spring.
In their place will be Mike Olt at third and Jeff Baker at designated hitter. Baker is a player to watch this spring as he fits the bill
as a right-handed bat off the bench who can play every infield position but
shortstop and the corner outfield spots.
“It’s not easy, it’s not always fun, but it’s one of those
things I’ve done it my whole career,” said Baker, 31. “You’ve got to take that
mindset where the biggest goal is winning.”
The World Baseball Classic rosters are in and there are
seven players from the Rangers organization listed – LHP Derek Holland (United
States), OF Nelson Cruz and INF Leury Garcia (Dominican Republic), SS Elvis
Andrus (Venezuela), C Jose Felix (Mexico) and OF Engel Beltre and OF Gabe
Garcia still wasn’t fully committed Thursday, as he wanted
to discuss it with the Rangers, but will have to make a decision by Friday.
Garcia is a candidate for a bench spot with the team, which means more time in
big-league camp could bolster his chances.
Jurickson Profar faced a similar decision early this spring,
and decided to turn down an opportunity to play for the Netherlands in
“These are young guys and it’s an unbelievable honor to
represent your country,” Daniels said. “The flip side, it’s their first
big-league camp. What’s missed in that too is that you’re not just trying to
make the club on Opening Day, but that opportunity may be in May or July, and
if you’re a young guy that time in front of the big-league manager and
decision-makers is valuable. I understand these are tough calls.”
For prospects such as Felix who aren’t expected to compete
for a big-league job, it’s an easy decision.
“Very excited,” Felix said. “I can’t wait.”
“It’s a very big honor to represent your country. And not
only am I representing my country, I’m representing Texas and my hometown too.”
The Rangers had their annual meeting about the dangers of social media this morning, and manager Ron Washington said that he understands the necessity for it from a media standpoint. But don't expect him to be joining Twitter any time soon. Check out this video for his reasoning. Video by Jeff Wilson.
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ivan Rodriguez is the newest member of the Texas Rangers front office staff.
The Rangers announced that they have hired Rodriguez to serve as a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels, as well as serve as an instructor and ambassador.
Rodriguez, who played with Texas from 1991-2002 and in 2009, will make his first appearance in his new role next weekend at Rangers spring training.
Daniels said Rodriguez's role essentially has two parts to it. He'll help out with on-field instruction -- he worked with catching prospect Jorge Alfaro this past winter in the Dominican -- and also community relations and sponsorship events.
Daniels called Rodriguez the organization's best homegrown player to this point and said it only made sense for him to get back into baseball with the Rangers. Rodriguez officially retired from the game last April at Rangers Ballpark.
For his career, Rodriguez played in 2,543 major-league games, collecting 2,844 hits and hitting 311 home rusn with a career .296 batting average. His honors included 14 American League All-Star appearances and 13 Gold Gloves, the most ever won by a catcher. In 1999, Rodriguez was named the AL MVP.
Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre won't be in the lineup for Friday's Cactus League opener against the Royals. Both are dealing with minor injuries and the Rangers aren't going to push either one.
That means Mike Olt will start at third base, and Jeff Baker will be the designated hitter. Leonys Martin will be the starting center fielder, manager Ron Washington said.
Washington said he will rotate the center field spot between Martin, Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon but didn't have a definitive plan. There will be opportunities to play those three on the corners, as well, once Nelson Cruz leaves to join the Dominican team for the World Baseball Classic.
Olt will get some time in right field this spring, but Washington is waiting for Gary Pettis to give his approval.
Here are a few other notes from the morning:
* The Rangers have six players on WBC rosters -- Derek Holland (United States), Elvis Andrus (Venezuela), Nelson Cruz and Leury Garcia (Dominican), Jose Felix (Mexico) and Engel Beltre (Spain). Garcia is still undecided as to whether he'll join the Dominican team, though.
* The Rangers held a social media session Thursday morning and it went well. But don't expect Ron Washington to be joining Twitter anytime soon. "I don't think nobody is interested in what Ron Washington has to say," he said.
Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez ended last season as the fifth starter. He's trying to win the fifth spot again this spring. Here's a look at the 21-year-old left-hander throwing some live batting practice earlier this spring.