Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, a welcome haven after being pummeled by Bert Blyleven acolytes the last two days.
* General manager Jon Daniels on the winter activities: “Teams are exploring the trade market first before going into the free agent market. Teams seem to be more active in that area. I don’t know how much of it is the economy. Every club has their own parameters that affect them in different ways. I wouldn’t say we’re in a cost-cutting mode but we’re certainly focused on all our expenditures.”
* They put out the 2008 Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team and included was Rangers pitcher John Bannister. Also on the team was Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr., the son of the former Rangers utility player. He won the league batting champion.
* Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden is having his high school uniform number retired by Carrollton Creekview on Friday night.
* Rangers catcher Max Ramirez is hitting .273 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in his first 30 games in the Venezuelan Winter League. Nelson Cruz is hitting .368 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 18 games in the Dominican Winter League.
* Third baseman Travis Metcalf had a chance to play Winter Ball in Mexico but decided to stay in Arlington and work out with conditioning coach Jose Vazquez. Said Daniels, “It was a chance for him to go and play but it wasn’t life or death. Every player has to make his own decision. Not every player we ask to go play Winter Ball does.”
* Daniels made it clear the Rangers will not be active in the Japanese free agent market anymore than they will in the Major League version.
* One factor playing into the Rangers trade talks is the that the Red Sox don’t know yet if they’ll bring back Jason Varitek. Said general manger Theo Epstein: “Jason’s an important guy here, and we’ll sit down and explore if there’s a way for him to come back that will help be a positive solution for our catching situation. If there is, I’m sure he’ll end up coming back. If there are obstacles we can’t overcome, sometimes that’s beyond our control. It’s an important one. He brings a lot to the table here, despite not having one of his most productive years.”
* First baseman Chris Davis and outfielder David Murphy will represent the Rangers in Saturday morning’s Christmas parade in downtown Dallas.
* Just for the heck of it: Jeff Frye.
* Nolan Ryan is among those who have done Public Service Announcements asking people to donate to the Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund.
* Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu on falling back on his Rangers past for pitching coach Rick Adair and bullpen coach John Wetteland: “I have always been impressed with the work they have done. Technical stuff is important, but the way coaches connect with a player, keep them on the straight-and-narrow and wanting to work [is equally important].”
* Wetteland still remembers the 1995 Division Series in Seattle when he was pitching for the Yankees and gave up a game-winning grand slam to Edgar Martinez in Game 4: “I had a dear friend of mine in town and took him out to dinner afterward,” Wetteland said. “We went into a restaurant, and the lady usher who took us to our table said, ‘Did you see the game tonight?’ I told her, ‘Yes, I did,’ and she asked, ‘Where were you sitting?’ “I told her I probably had the best seat in the house — on the mound.”