Last Call from the Desert…Kelly Gavin photos, Nolan Ryan talks about ownership and the off-season
Photos by Kelly Gavin
“Michael Young could retire tomorrow, and he would be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. He’s probably two Michael Young years away from being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I don’t know what his career hitting numbers are, but he’s a little like Derek Jeter. Is he not? If he played in New York, imagine what people would be saying about Michael Young’s career. Somebody would have mentioned the Hall of Fame a long time ago.”
Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt to the Philadelphia writers
Club president Nolan Ryan, in meeting with the media, was asked if the Rangers have piles of money lying around: “Piles of money? God, I don’t know where that room is. If you run into it, show it to me… Obviously our ownership has indicated that they’re supportive if there is a need we have and right person out there, but I don’t think we look at the fact that we’re flush in cash.
“You have to give our ownership credit that they have stepped up. Their goal is to be competitive and win and they’re willing to do that, that’s not just lip service. If the baseball department comes with a recommendation that they think will have an impact on our ballclub, I think they know they can go to ownership and present it to them and they’ll certainly consider it.
On not being able to sign Zack Greinke or Josh Hamilton: “Ownership has been supportive of baseball and what they wanted to do. Ownership was willing to step up on some of the players that we were hoping to be able to sign and it didn’t work out that way. It wasn’t because we didn’t have the support of ownership it was just that they didn’t work out. The players chose to go somewhere else. It’s not always about money.”
On the off-season being a disaster for the Rangers: “Not at all. I laugh when I hear these comments that it was a disaster and the worst offseason in the history of our organization. When I look at it, I think we got a lot done myself. I’m excited about Lance (Berkman) and I know there’s that question mark about his health, but I think Lance is really committed to coming over here and being the player he’s capable of being and I think he wants to stay healthy.
“Getting AJ was big. He brings a spirit and a mindset that I really like in that position. He wants to play every day. I just think those two acquisitions could pay big dividends for us. Both of them offensively are two of the better players we’ve brought in. I’m talking about what, offensively, they can bring to a ball club. That’s a big plus.”
The Rangers tied the Royals, 5-5, on Friday when Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. Solarte had a good spring last year with the Rangers and manager Ron Washington said, “He hits good in this ballpark. This is his ballpark.”
Mike Olt had the defensive play of the game, throwing out Billy Butler after backhanding a sharp grounder to third base as he went into foul territory. Right-fielder Engel Beltre threw out former Ranger Max Ramirez at the plate in the 9th.
Tanner Scheppers gave up a one run on three hits in a walk in his ninth inning of work on Friday. Manager Ron Washington said the message to Scheppers this spring was “stay healthy and get the ball down. He was up in the zone today. That’s how he got hit.”
Washington on Robbie Ross and his two scoreless innings: “I thought he looked sharp. He moved the ball in and out, worked fast. He got his innings in and he got his outs.”