The Rangers All-Come-Home Team

P Ferguson Jenkins – He was always a No. 1 starter.

P Kenny Rogers – His third tour with the Rangers yielded 32 wins in 2004-05. The Rangers were so thrilled with what he did for the franchise that they put him in the club’s Hall of Fame.

P Darren Oliver – He also had three tours with the Rangers. Two as a starter and the last as setup reliever on World Series teams.

P Bobby Witt – He won 16 games in 1996 and was great in September as the Rangers won their first division title. texas-rangers-bobby-witt-747-topps-orange-back-1988-mlb-baseball-trading-card-68623-p

P Danny Darwin – Quick stop in Texas in 1995 was unremarkable

P Rick Honeycutt – A No. 1 starter in 1982, left-handed setup in 1994

P Colby Lewis – Failed prospect, tremendous comeback after two years in Japan.

P Paul Lindblad – Left-handed setup reliever before they were in vogue

P Jeff Russell – All-Star as a starter and reliever in 1988-89. Solid as setup in 1996.

C Ivan Rodriguez – He had a 28-game cameo for the Rangers in 2009, then signed with the Nationals. The Rangers used the compensation pick to draft Luke Jackson.

C Jim Sundberg – He played more than expected in 1988-89 before retiring

1B Rafael Palmeiro – His second tour was tremendous. Then he went back to Baltimore and it all fell apart.

2B Frank Catalanotto – Always a solid player, especially with the bat.

SS Toby Harrah – He had two good seasons in 1985-86 before retiring.

SS Kevin Elster – He could not repeat his magical 1996 again in 1998

3B Buddy Bell – He came back in 1989 but a knee injury cut his final season short.

3B Steve Buechele – A cameo in 1995 did not work out.

OF Juan Gonzalez – He was supposed to be part of an explosive offense in 2002-03 but his second tour was marred by injuries.

OF Sammy Sosa – He gave the Rangers a little offense in 2007 in the start of the great rebuilding program.

OF Ruben Sierra – Mainly a designated hitter in the twilight of his career.

Rangers close to acquiring Hamilton

The Rangers are close to acquiring outfielder Josh Hamilton from the Angels. A deal will be announced most likely on Monday. There are still legal proceedings that need to be cleared including the Players Association. Hamilton is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery and there is no word when he will be ready to play.

No word yet on what the Rangers will have to give up

Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill on World HemophiEFBGlia Day.

Nelson Cruz has hit a home run in five straight games for the Mariners. He had a total of six in the streak but all five games were on the road. He is 1-for-11 so far this season in Safeco Field.

Cruz has two home runs in his only two career at-bats against Ranges starter Yovani Gallardo, coming last year.

The Major League record for consecutive home runs is eight by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long.

Robinson Chirinos hit a home run on Tuesday and Carlos Corporan did the same on Wednesday. It’s the first time two different Rangers catcher have hit home runs in back-to-back games since Geovany Soto and A.J. Pierzynski on July 6-7, 2013.

Elvis Andrus on having more home runs than Prince Fielder, “I’ve already talked a lot about that. It might not end that way. But right now I’ve got more than Prince and that makes me happy.”

Fielder on the chances of Andrus having more home runs than him at the end of the year: “Not good. Very low.”

Fielder is hitting .400 for the Rangers with 16 hits in 40 at-bats. The rest of the team is hitting .185.
Manager Jeff Banister on Fielder, “I couldn’t be happier where he is at. You look at how tough he has been pitched, to be hitting .400 is a testament to what kind of hitter he is. The power will show up. He is building himself back into the player he was and I’m confident he will be that player. The bottom line is we have to get guys on in front of him.”

The Rangers went into Friday’s game hitting .186 against left-handers and Banister said, “There has been some chase. There have been games where left-handers haven’t throw us strikes, they have needed to throw strikes. It comes back to being bullish about what you swing at.”

The Rangers and the Royals both had 13 hit by pitches in their first ten games. First time a club has had that has happened since 1914.

Rougned Odor has been hit by a pitch five times in the first ten games. That has only happened four times in Major League Baseball since 1914: Shin-Soo Choo in 2013 with the Reds, Nick Johnson in 2002 with the Yankees and Tony Oliva in 1975 with the Twins.

Banister on 6-foot-5 Carlos Peguero: “I’m glad he didn’t grow up in Texas. He wouldn’t be playing baseball.”

Adrian Beltre has appeared in 150 straight games, fourth longest streak going in the Majors. The current leader is Evan Longoria with 252 straight games.

The Rangers have been outscored 45-10 in their six losses. They outscored their opponent 27-6 in the four victories. The Rangers are 4-1 when they score first and 0-5 when the opponent does so.

It all started on this date in 1869. The Cincinnati Red Stocks beat the Amateurs, 24-15, in the first professional game. Also in 1912, the New York Giants beat the Yankees, 11-2, in an exhibition game to raise money for the survivors of the Titanic.

Tuesday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, a favorite watering hole for Hall of Famers and non-Hall of Famers alike.EFBG

— Rougned Odor is batting leadoff on Tuesday for the first time in his Major League career. Leonys Martin, who had batted in the No. 1 spot through the Rangers first eight games, was dropped to No. 8.

— Martin went into Tuesday’s game with five hits in his first 36 at-bats. Said manager Jeff Banister, “Leonys is going to be our leadoff hitter. I told Leonys it’s just for today, I still have confidence in him as our leadoff guy.”

— Banister on his use of multiple lineups this early in the season, “I’m not into tinkering but I’m not into sitting on something.”

— Former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez has become a golf addict. Says he plays every day and his handicap is down to seven. Shot a 79 on Tuesday. Said Rodriguez, “Now, instead of hitting the ball the opposite way, I pull the ball.”

— Carrie McClure, who is the host of Good Morning Texas on local television, and her son Barron are participating in the ceremonial first pitch at the Ballpark on Tuesday as part of Autism Awareness Night.

— Rangers relievers have thrown 34 innings so far this season. Only Yankees relievers have thrown more with 351/3 innings. Roman Mendez and Phil Klein are tied for the Major League lead with five appearances each.
Angels starter Drew Rucinski, who was pitching in the independent Frontier League in 2013, has held off-season jobs that include working in a sporting goods store and on a pecan farm.

— It was on April 14, 1910 that William Howard Taft threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day. That presidential tradition seems lost to history amid the need to get the first game on Sunday night television. Herbert Hoover did his best to keep it going. He was 4-for-4 making it to Opening Day during his four-year term, plus two World Series games.

— On April 14, 1976 Cubs outfielder Dave Kingman hit a home run at Wrigley Field that hit a house 530 feet from home plate. Six years later to the date, Randy Bush of the Toledo Mud Hens hit a ball that ended up much farther. He hit one out at Watt Powell Park in Charleston, W.V. that landed in a coal train passing by. Ball supposedly traveled 200 miles.

— On Tuesday night, the Class A Hickory Crawdads beat Asheville, 7-0. The three pitchers were Collin Wiles (six innings), David Perez (two) and Kevin Mathews (one). All three of those pitchers have been dealing with arm injuries but a few years ago they were among the best of the Rangers pitching prospects.

— Martin has 27 assists since the start of the 2013 season. That’s the most of any Major League outfielder, one more than Yoenis Cespedes.

— Rangers special assistant Greg Maddux turned 49 on Tuesday. Maddux is in the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose is not but he does share the same birthday and is 74.

— Speaking of Hall of Fame…former Rangers catcher Gregg Zaun is 44 today and yes, his “called shot” home run at the 1999 Hall of Fame Game remains an all-time favorite memory.

Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, a great place to celebrate birthdays for Thomas Jefferson and Butch Cassidy.EFBG

— Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin couldn’t stop talking about the catch George Springer made in the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon, leaping at the wall to take away a walkoff grand slam. Said Martin, “I can’t believe it. Every time I check my phone I see it. That would have been my first grand slam. I will remember that for years: a grand slam, walkoff home run, four RBI, score a run. That was sick.”

— Martin had a two-run single on Sunday but still has one hit in his last 22 at-bats and manager Jeff Banister said, “Don’t let the moment allow (Martin’s) swing to get too big. A hitter can get too amped up and get excited about the moment. When you’re not swinging the bat good, you get anxious. When we talk about staying stubborn with our approach, we’re talking about getting on base, using the wide-side of the field, swinging at hitters’ pitches, controlling the strike zone. All those things come into play.”

— Nolan Ryan’s Hall of Fame plaque will be on display this weekend at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The plaque will be on display along the third base concourse during the Round Rock Express Opening Weekend against Memphis. Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

— Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker in 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Rangers in his career. He is also 8-0 with a 1.65 ERA in his last nine starts going back to last season. Angels reliever Joe Smith has not allowed a run in his last 141/3 innings going back to last season.

— The Rangers lead the league with 11 hit by pitches. If you are wondering, the club record is 75 set in 2003. Alex Rodriguez holds the single-season record for a player, getting hit 16 times in 2001. Rougned Odor is a quarter-way there with four.

— Mitch Moreland was hit twice on Sunday after coming into the game as a substitute. That’s the first time that’s ever happened in club history.

— Hitting coach Dave Magadan on the number of hit by pitches: “That’s one way to get out on-base percentage up. Opposing pitchers are throwing inside to our guys and they are not commanding their pitches.”

— Ross Detwiler averaged 91.7 miles per hour on his fastball in his first start. So? He is the only Rangers starter over 90 miles per hour on the average. Derek Holland was 86.6 on his fastball in his start on Friday. He was 92.3 last season. That’s why the alarm bells went off.

— Jake Smolinski is still looking for his first hit but has four walks in his first 14 plate appearances as opposed to three in 92 plate appearances last season.

— The Rangers used three pinch-hitters in the eighth inning on Sunday and they all reached base either by walk or hit by pitch. That has happened just once since 1974.

— The other was on July 15, 1999. Left-hander Randy Johnson led the game after eighth innings with the Diamondbacks leading 2-0 at the Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Matt Mantei took over in the ninth and retired the first two hitters. Then manager Johnny Oates sent up three straight left-handed pinch hitters: Rusty Greer for Royce Clayton, Rafael Palmeiro for Luis Alicea and Lee Stevens for Jon Shave. All three walked and then Mark McLemore hit a three-run walkoff double.

— Monday is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday but he was not a baseball fan. Said Jefferson, “Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind.”

— Former Rangers infielder Doug Strange turned 51 on Monday.

Home Opener at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill as the Rangers get ready for the home opener and the rest of the world celebrates the birthday of the Rifleman.EFBG

— Rangers manager Jeff Banister on the difference between Opening Day in Oakland and the home opener in Arlington: “You look in the stands (in Oakland) and you the green and yellow, people yelling at you, spitting venom on you. You see today – red, white and blue – everybody wearing Texas. It’s our house. It’s nobody else’s house. The home opener, I’m sure it will run the full gamut of emotions. The crowd echoes in my mind and my memories will be forever. You only get one of them. It’s special for my family, this group of players and the fans. It’s our house.”

— Banister said he and his son Jacob arrived at the ballpark at 7:45 a.m. and there were fans already there. Said Banister, “There were cars lined up, it was tremendous. I told Jacob, enjoy this, it’s special. It just shows you the passion of baseball fans.”

— The Rangers, going into the home opener, are 51-28 in the month of April since the start of 2012. That .646 winning percentage is the best in the American League.

— The Rangers scored three runs in the first three games and ten their fourth game. Only two other teams have scored three or less runs in their first three games of the season and then hit scored 10 or more in the fourth game. One was the 1876 Louisville Grays. The other was the 2003 Braves.

— Mitch Moreland on the Rangers first four games: “We’re right where we need to be. We’re going out there and leaving everything on the field every night. If we do that, we’ll be fine. It has been a lot of fun. At the same time, we’re getting our work in. It’s going to be a fun year.”

— Banister has an autographed football of Tony Romo displayed in his office along with a Lone Star Flag.

— Banister said he has an autographed football of Russell Wilson but left that one at home.

— Adrian Beltre’s home run on Thursday was his 396th of his career, tying him with Joe Carter for 55th all-time. He needs four more to reach 400. When he does, he’ll have passed Carter as well as Dale Murphy (398), Andres Galarraga (399) and Al Kaline (399). Beltre is fourth among active players behind Alex Rodriguez (655), Albert Pujols (521) and David Ortiz (466).

— C.J. Wilson did not pitch against the Rangers last season and will not pitch against them in the three-game series Monday-Wednesday in Arlington. The Rangers will miss both Jered Weaver and Wilson. They are scheduled to pitch Saturday and Sunday against the Royals. Wilson is 0-1 with a 9.70 ERA since he left the Rangers and signed with the Angels after the 2011 season.

— Right now the Angels are lining up with Hector Santiago on Monday, Drew Rucinski on Tuesday and Matt Shoemaker on Wednesday.

— The Rangers won’t miss Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. They’ll get him either next Friday or Saturday in Seattle.

— Prince Fielder, on going 5-for-15 with three RBI in the opening series against the Athletics, “It’s a good feeling knowing I’m healthy and playing hard. No worries.”

— The Rangers Opening Day payroll has been calculated at $142, 140, 873. That’s the eighth highest in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers lead at $272 million and the Yankees are next at $219 million.

Wednesday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar and Grill, where a good bullpen catcher is always welcome.

— Jeff Banister on winning his first Major League game as a manager: “It’s big, not only for me but the coaching staff. There are some coaches who are young in experience at the Major League level. For all of us to get it out of the way, the excitement of the victory and any angst, we got that out of the way. Now that we got that out of the way, these guys can concentrate on what they need to concentrate on. It becomes the rhythm of the season.”EFBG

— Banister on his first beer shower after the victory: “Wonderful and it was cold. I loved every second of it. Somebody asked me if there was a point where I thought this would never happen and I said, ‘yeah, everyday.’ I never chased it but there was some long bus rides in some dusty towns in ballpaks with very few fans. I don’t take this one of 30 lightly. I make decisions that affect everybody.”

— The Rangers have not hit a home run in their first two games. The last time they went more than two games without a home run to start the season was in 1981. They went four games without a home run to start that season as they did in 1972. They have one extra basehit in two games. That hasn’t happened at the start of a season since 1978.

— Rougned Odor was hit by pitches in each of the first two games of the season. That’s the 20th time that has happened in Major League history. The last time was by Shin-Soo Choo with the Reds in 2013. The club record for overall consecutive games getting hit by a pitch is three by Scott Fletcher back in 1988.

— The Rangers have been hit four times in the first two games but drawn only one walk.

— Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez, who pitches on Thursday, has one of the best changeups on the staff, which is pretty good considering he was an infielder in college and didn’t have a changeup when he first started pitching professionally. How did he develop it? Said Martinez, “Panic. When I got drafted, I didn’t have a changeup. I knew I needed one so I worked hard to get one. It lit a fire under my tail. I wanted to be a big league starter and I needed to get one.”

— Martinez, on what went well for him in Spring Training that allowed him to win a job in the rotation: “Fastball command. It was the best I’ve ever had in Spring Training. I was back to my old self and walking less guys. Up to my last outing, I wasn’t walking anybody. It opens up my other pitches.”

— Just for the heck of it: Mike Stanley

— Neftali Feliz, after closing out the game on Tuesday, has been successful on his last 11 save opportunities going back to last season

— Colby Lewis has a .692 winning percentage against Oakland with a 9-4 record. That’s the fifth highest among active pitchers with at least 125 innings. His win on Tuesday was his 55th as a Ranger, tying Danny Darwin for ninth all-time.

— Bullpen catcher Josh Fraser celebrated his birthday on Wednesday


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