Last Call from the Desert….Joe Nathan, Andrew Bailey
“It’s Spring Training. You wish it could count for the regular season.”
Shortstop Elvis Andrus on his 12-game hitting streak.
Joe Nathan threw a scoreless inning, striking out two, on Friday afternoon in a 14-9 loss to the Rockies and manager Ron Washington said, “There’s no doubt he’ll be ready for Opening Day. This is not his first time to go through Spring Training. He’s got an idea of what’s going on and he knows what he needs.”
The Rangers are looking for bullpen help and Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey may be of interest to them. The two clubs have spoken this spring and it shows the Rangers remain more concerned about their bullpen than their rotation.
The Rangers are concerned about their right-handed setup relief behind Nathan and Jason Frasor. They are hoping Lindblom and/or Tanner Scheppers slot in behind Nathan and Frasor but both have been inconsistent this spring. Both are trying to find the right mix of velocity and command.
Bailey was the Athletics closer in 2009-11 before being traded to the Red Sox. He was supposed to be their closer but he missed the first 41/2 month of the season with torn ligaments in his right thumb. He ended up pitching in 19 games and a 7.04, and the Red Sox traded for Joel Hanrahan in the off-season. But Bailey is making $4.1 million this season and still likely to make the team as a setup reliever.
That still doesn’t keep the Rangers from looking around and talking to people.
Josh Lindbloom was hitting 94-95 miles per hour in his inning of work against the Angels on Thursday night. That’s the kind of velocity the Rangers have been looking for this spring. Lindblom, holding a 7-6 lead, started the inning by getting Josh Hamilton to fly out and then struck out Mark Trumbo.
But Howie Kendrick singled to right, Alberto Callaspo walked and Hank Conger lined a triple down the right-field line. Lindblom then struck out Peter Bourjos to end the inning.
“It’s just a matter of finishing innings,” Lindblom said. “You get two quick outs and you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you’ve got to finish it and not let it snowball.”
Pitching coach Mike Maddux put his pitchers through a serious session of situational hitting. Besides bunting, Rangers pitchers also practiced the infamous slash play. That’s where the hitter pulls back on the bunt and swings away. The Rangers first road Interleague series is April 16-18 in Chicago.
Mitch Moreland has 15 hits in his last 28 at-bats and David Murphy has 15 hits in his last 39 at-bats.
Rangers catcher Konrad Schmidt played at the University of Nevada Reno. He was a senior when 49ers quarterback Collin Kapernick was a freshman. Said Schmidt, “He was a real quiet guy. He was third string quarterback. Our first-string quarterback was a real prospect and he got hurt. On the next series our second string quarterback gets hurt. It’s like, oh Lord, here comes our third string quarterback.”