Last Call from the Desert…Cody Buckel, Craig Gentry

I don’t think about if they’re doing good or if they’re doing bad. If I do good, I have a chance to make the team. I don’t think about the other guys.”

Martin Perez on his fifth starter competition.

Cody Buckel is pitching with Yu Darvish on Tuesday as opposed to pitching against him. But the day that he went head-to-head against Darvish is still fresh in manager Ron Washington’s mind.desert

“I remember him crisp with his fastball up in the zone and some zip,” Washington said. “I remember him being crisp with his breaking ball and changeup. I remember he had an idea about pitching. I don’t know if the adrenaline of facing Yu Darvish helped him to do that but he did it. He threw the ball well.”

Buckels threw four scoreless innings in the intrasquad game, which was designed only so that Darvish didn’t have to face the Angels in the Cactus League game scheduled that day.

“I was trying not to get too caught up in the emotion of facing him,” Buckel said. “It was a good opportunity to make an impression on the big league staff. My pitching coach, Danny Clark, was saying, ‘This is a challenge and we know you like challenges. Treat it like that. Treat it like you’re showing what you can do.’”

That outing, on March 25, was just the beginning for Buckel. He was 10-8 with a 2.49 ERA in 23 starts and three relief appearances in the Minor Leagues and won the Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year Award. Now he makes his first appearance in a Cactus League game when he follows Darvish on Tuesday against the White Sox in Surprise.

Craig Gentry didn’t even have to be asked about the play.

“It was a bad decision,” Gentry said after the Rangers 9-1 loss to the Rockies on Monday.

The Rockies, leading 1-0, had a runner on first with one out in the third inning. Eric Young singled to left-center and Gentry came up firing, trying to get the runner at third. He wasn’t even close and Young easily went to second.

“I shouldn’t have done it,” Gentry said. “It was a bad decision on my part. I should have throw to second and kept the double play in order.”

Rangers pitcher Justin Grimm got an out on a grounder back up the inning that could have been an inning-ending double play. Instead the Rockies still had runners on second and third and Troy Tulowitzki delivered a two-out single to make it 3-0.

“He knows what he is supposed to do,”


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