Last call from the desert: Derek Holland, Cody Buckel, Josh Hamilton

Leftovers from Day Zero in the desert…

“The bullpen in general is going to be key for us. We’re not lacking in ability and candidates out there. It comes down to we trust our scouts and trust our staff to put guys in the right roles. Our guys have done a good job of identifying guys who can help us I feel good we’re going to be able to put together a good bullpen.”

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.desert

Derek Holland is cutting down on his radio and television appearances as well as a few other outside interests. The Rangers want him to be more focused on his job and not on all that other stuff, and Holland has embraced that mission.

“I’m keeping the same routine and I’m still the same person but not as many radio and TV stuff,” Holland said.

“He’s got all the ability in the world and you’ll see it but it needs to be more consistent,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “I give him a lot of credit, his work ethic has never been an issue but this winter he has really committed to his craft and eliminated the outside noise.”

Last last spring, Yu Darvish pitched in an intrasquad game rather than do his work in a Cactus League game against the Angels. Darvish’s team lost 4-1.

The quiet star of the afternoon was Cody Buckel, the Rangers second-round pick in the 2010 draft out of high school in California. He pitched four scoreless innings and people were paying attention on the Major League side.

Buckel is a pitcher that people really want to see in camp. He could be the surprise candidate in the fifth starter competition just as Robbie Ross surprised people last year. Buckel not only has four quality pitches but the Rangers have also been impressed with his makeup and intangibles on the mound.

Daniels, by the way, is still saying the Rangers aren’t looking outside for more starter candidates. That means Kyle Lohse remains off the radar screen.

“It’s the same thing I’ve said all along,” Daniels said. “I’m not going to shut the door 100 percent on anything because we wouldn’t be doing our job but I don’t expect any additions.”

Hello Win Column! was one of the signature lines by the late Rangers broadcaster Mark Holtz and it will be prominent in the Rangers 2013 advertising campaign. The campaign seeks to communicate to fans that the organization is committed to winning in all phases of the game.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski on his first day with the Rangers after eight years with the White Sox: “Obviously when I signed here, it was bittersweet, because I had been someplace for a long time. But knowing Texas wanted me from Day 1, that was nice. Until you walk into a new clubhouse, it’s a big step and a big difference, but it’s nice to look up and see a couple people I know -– Neal Cotts and Jason Frasor and some other familiar faces.”

Josh Hamilton on his first day in Angels camp with Albert Pujols: “He looked good. It was one of those things where it’s just good to get out there with a new teammate, somebody who’s thought as highly as Albert in the game and somebody who’s probbaly the best player, best hitter in the game. It’s going to be good, it’s going to be exciting for me to possibly hit behind him and pick his brain. It’ll be fun.”

Hamilton and Zack Greinke were two free agents the Rangers wanted to sign this winter and were unable to do so. They are both in the Surprise campus Hall of Fame. The Rangers get to look at their plaques side-by-side in the concourse every day.



1 Comment

After a quarter century of following spring training trails, no one understands better than T.R. that spring training is a state of mind, a surreal experience that often has little to do with what transpires after April 1. Far more than the swallows of Capistrano, the smell of fresh leather or the “thwack!” of timber on horsehide, T.R.’s first reference to the White Tank Mountains each February is the official signal that baseball is back and that God is smiling somewhere as He watches Charley Pride pull on his Ranger uni one more time.

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