Memorial Day Weekend With Toby

Like most of the Ranger outfielders Toby has been on the DL the past couple of weeks. But his paws are a little less sore today and Toby’s got a few thoughts to share as we head into this holiday weekend.

Toby’s Crystal Ball: The Rangers focus leading up to the Trade Deadline should be on the bullpen. They are looking for right-handed relief but probably wouldn’t be adverse to a left-handed pitcher as well. Mark Lowe and Yoshinori Tateyama could go a long way to alleviating the Rangers concerns about the bullpen. both deserve a hard look before the Rangers do something rash. Big week coming up as the Rangers return to Tropicana Field, scene of their great ALDS triumph. Remember they won all three games in the ALDS at Tropicana Field. Then it’s off to Cleveland for four games against a team that is leading a charmed life. If you had looked at the schedule in March, this trip would have brought on a big yawn. Now it appears to be a tough one for the Rangers.

Toby’s Honor Roll

1. The Myrtle Beach pitching staff: This may be the best collection of talent in the Rangers farm system.

2. The Rangers starting rotation. At least one of these guys will be in Arizona for the All-Star Game. Right now we rank them this way: 1. Alexi Ogando; 2. C.J. Wilson; 3. Matt Harrison; 4. Colby Lewis; 5. Derek Holland

3. Ranger ownership replacing the exact same Cadillac that the manager lost during Hurricane Katrina- Terrific gesture to Ron Washington

Toby’s Puppies:

LHP Robbie Erlin – third round pick from the 2009 draft.  This 20 year old pitcher has been promoted to AA Frisco. He’ll be making his first start this weekend after posting a 2.14 ERA (54 2/3 IP, 5BB, 62 K – Opponents BA of .132) at  Advanced A Myrtle Beach.

3B Mike Olt – we can’t stop talking about this 2010 draftee at Advanced A Myrtle Beach.  Still hitting a very nice .286 with 8 HR and 26 RBI, with a nifty .904 OPS – punishing left handed pitching – .293 BA against –  and not being very nice to right handed pitchers either with a .281 BA against.

OF Lenoys Martin – free agent signing from Cuba. He’s making a great first impression in just 13 games with AA Frisco.  He’s batting .315,  with 7 stolen bases, a.930 OPS and that doesn’t include the raves he’s receiving  for the “intangibles” that can’t be measured by stats:  his baseball acumen at taking the extra base with his speed and saving runs with that same speed and a good arm in the OF.

Toby Barks:  Let’s never forget the reason for Memorial Day Holiday and take a moment to reflect on the brave and painful sacrifice of those who died in service to our country.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.”

Birthdays: Great nicknames have the majority of note worthy birthdays this week.  Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas is 43 today.  Red Oak native 3B Michael “Pinky” Higgins was born on this date in 1909.  Former A’s RHP  John “Blue Moon” Odom turns 66 on May 29th and  the recently retired Manny “ Manny being Manny” Ramirez celebrates No. 39 on May 30th.

Birthday of the week:  New York Giant OF, Olympic Champion and, in Toby’s opinion, the greatest athlete of the 20th Century Jim Thorpe was born on May 28, 1887.

Toby’s Reading List:  Toby says read the American Red Cross website and find out how you can help those who were affected by the devastating tornadoes this spring.   

You can donate by cell phone by texting: REDCROSS to 90999 – $10.00 will go the Red Cross

Or visit The American Red Cross website for other ways to help.

Last Call:

“Mentally I’m good. I know I’m healthy. If I’m healthy, I feel fine. That’s all I need. If I’m healthy, I can do my job.”   

— Rangers Closer RHP Neftali Feliz

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