Pitcher Matt Harrison is experiencing stiffness in his lower back in the same area he had surgery last year. He has been shutdown from all baseball activities. The Rangers are sending him for an MRI on Thursday and he will return to Texas to be examined by back specialist Drew Dosset on Monday.
This appears to be a significant setback.
Catcher Geovany Soto is dealing with some soreness in his left achilles tendon and is limited in his running.
– Prince Fielder on his first day with the Rangers: “t felt good, it was a lot of fun…nice, easy day, had a lot of fun meeting my new teammates, so yeah, I’m excited. Everybody’s laid back, they work hard. That’s all you ask for, good people who work hard and everybody wants to have fun, which is a big deal when you have to be together with people for so long. I think the guys make it easier when as soon as you get here, they welcome you and start cracking jokes and stuff, so that makes it a lot easier.”
– Rangers manager Ron Washington was fired up when he met with the media before Wednesday’s workout. Washington, who loves to teach defense, had just finished early work with infielders Jurickson Profar, Adam Rosales, Luis Sardinas, Rougned Odor and Brent Lillibridge.
“I must have hit a thousand ground balls and not one of them hit the ground,” Washington said. “Everything hit the glove. It’s the first time I’ve come out in the morning and not one ball hit the ground, and I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
– Elvis Andrus on Derek Jeter retiring: “It’s kind of sad for me and baseball. I really enjoyed watching him play. It was like the year I played with Omar Vizquel. They had extraordinary careers. They were role models. I would be blessed to have a career like those guys.”
– Pitcher Todd Van Poppel and outfielder Michael Choice are two of the best players to come out of Tarrant County. Van Poppel, 42, played at Arlington Martin while Choice, 24, went to Mansfield Timberview. Despite being of different generations, they are connected through the Rangers in one way.
Van Poppel was with the Rangers in 1998 when he was part of a trade with the Pirates for Esteban Loaiza. Two years later, the Rangers traded Loaiza to the Blue Jays for Michael Young. Last winter, the Rangers traded Young to the Phillies for pitcher Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. This winter, Lindblom was included in a trade with the Athletics that brought Choice back to the Rangers.
He said it
They’re going to be tough back-to-back, for sure. I just hope they’re not as tough as Trout-Pujols-Hamilton.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre
LF Shin-Soo Choo
SS Elvis Andrus
1B Prince Fielder
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Alex Rios
DH Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
2B Jurickson Profar
CF Leonys Martin
That’s manager Ron Washington’s planned lineup. Washington said he is set on batting Fielder third and Beltre fourth.
“It’s important everybody knows every single day where they are,” Washington said. “There will be some juggling in there but it won’t be in the middle of the lineup.”
Cruz rumors keep popping up. At one point it seemed likely he was going to sign with the Mariners. Now the Orioles are supposedly in the hunt.
The Rangers? They still keep in touch with his agent and they could use more power in their offense. What is also interesting is the Pirates are still looking for a first baseman and Mitch Moreland is listed as a possibility.
That’s not going to happen right now because Moreland is the Rangers primary designated hitter. But if they sign Cruz, they either keep Moreland as a part-time DH, first baseman and outfielder, or they could flip him to the Pirates.
Right now there does not appear to be anything brewing. But as the spring progresses, the longer Cruz stays unemployed, the chances of him returning to Texas may start to grow. Just one of those Spring Training subplots that are still out there.
– There is a possibility Major League Baseball could adopt rules that protect catchers from collisions at home plate. Former Gold Glove catcher Jim Sundberg is not a proponent of the proposed rules.
“If the catchers block the plate the right way and the umpires enforce the rules, there wouldn’t be any need,” said Sundberg, now a vice-president with the Rangers.
Sundberg said umpires need to enforce the rule that catchers can’t block home plate without the ball. Sundberg also said catchers need to learn to take a collision head on and absorb the blow instead of turning one way or another. All that does is expose the knees and ankles to potential injury and that’s what happened with Giants catcher Buster Posey a few years ago.
“Posey was a young catcher without experience and he got hit with his knee bent out of position and got hurt,” Sundberg said.
– Darren Oliver is in camp for a week as a special instructor.
He said it
“That’s part of my life. I don’t want to talk about it. Give me a few weeks but it’s a part of my life.
Leonys Martin on his on-going nasty legal dispute with the people who helped get him out of Cuba.
Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, during a news conference on Tuesday, was asked about the new posting system between Major League Baseball and Japan in light of the seven-year, $155 million contract pitcher Masahiro Tanaka received from the Yankees.
“I don’t know all the details of the new posting system, but I think the Yankees gave him a little bit too much,” Darvish said with a smile and a laugh through interpreter Kenji Nimura.
Darvish was trying to make a joke when he said it. He even released a statement through the club later Tuesday afternoon to reinforce that.
Said Darvish in his statement, “I am sorry if anyone took my comment seriously about Masahiro Tanaka at the press conference today. I assumed by the reaction in the room that everyone knew I was joking.”
Infielder Jurickson’s Profar’s right shoulder is still bothering him and the Rangers are going to cut back on his wor. Profar won’t throw for another week and he has been told to stop taking batting practice. The Rangers are anxious to get this problem solved and get Profar back out on the field by the middle of March. Another setback beyond this could put him in doubt for Opening Day.
Former Rangers designated hitter Mickey Tettleton is in camp as a special instructor.
Matt Harrison the first workout: “It’s fun getting back out here again being with my teammates. I’m looking forward to getting back into action, especially after being out so long last year. Next six weeks, I want to get my body back into shape, get acclimated to being on a mound and face hitters. I want to make sure I’m on the mound for 30-35 starts and be out there every fifth day for my teammates.”
Ron Washington on the first workout: “I’m looking forward to them going through the drills with some seriousness and get off the field healthy. Take it seriously what we need to do on the field, get it done and get off the field.”
Catcher Robinson Chirinos used his foundation to deliver 800 toys to kids at a children’s hospital in his home town of Punto Fijo, Venezuela on Christmas this off-season.
The Rangers have one player who knows what it’s like to win a gold medal in the Olympics. Jose Contreras was on the Cuban team that won gold in baseball at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
Neal Cotts won the 2013 Chicago Major League Player of the Year Award given by the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago. He has lived in Chicago for over ten years.
Prince Fielder’s No. 84 will be the highest by a Rangers player since infielder Rene Gonzales wore No. 88 in 1996.
All Class A Myrtle Beach games will be carried locally in South Carolina on 1450 WRNN with Nathan Barnett as the Voice of the Pelicans
He said it
“I’m ready for one job. It’s to be the closer. No more starter.”