Feb 232012
 

We took a closer look at likely Opening Day starter Colby Lewis yesterday.  If you missed it, check out “A Closer Look at the Cobra”.  Mike Maddux announced yesterday that both Colby and Scott Feldman will pitch in the Rangers first Cactus League game on March 4th.

Thursday Morning ChangeupsNolan Ryan spoke to the media yesterday, covering a number of topics including Yu Darvish and Josh Hamilton.  Here are some excerpts:

  • Nolan compared himself at age 25 with Darvish, saying ”I think it’s neat and exciting that he has the following that he does and so many people are excited about it.  When I look at my career and his career and where I was at 25 years old, there’s a substantial difference.  I had a control problem. I was very durable, but I didn’t have the feel for the baseball or my delivery as he does with his. That’s one of the unique things about him.  At 25, he’s still a very young pitcher and he has great delivery and control of his delivery and a good feel for the baseball. When I say that, what I mean is that he can throw different pitches, he can locate his pitches. For a 25-year-old, that’s quite an accomplishment.”
  • On the excitement around seeing Darvish pitch, “We’re all excited about seeing him throw, watching him work, and so I think watching video on him I have an expectation of what he’s going to be like, so I don’t think there’s going to be much difference of the videos I’ve seen of him.  But seeing his delivery, watching him from different angles and that kind of stuff, obviously, everybody that’s been involved in this process is anxious to see that.”
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsOn the adjustments that Darvish will have to make in MLB, “He’s going to have to learn the hitters; that’s something he won’t be able to do until he pitches to them and gets a feel for them. There will be an adjustment to the baseball some, pitching on a five-day rotation where he’s been on a six-day rotation over there. We’ll obviously try to help him any way we can.  But I think from being around him, I get a feel that those things he’ll handle well.  I think that’s his type of personality and the way he’s been raised.”
  • In wrapping up on Darvish, Ryan provided some advice to the young pitcher, “”My advice to him would be just to come in and not try to do more than you’re capable of doing,” Ryan said. “Just enjoy the spring and enjoy the new situation and challenges that he has and if he has any concerns or questions, we’re here to support him. I’d like to develop a relationship with him where he’d feel comfortable if he did have something on his mind or was bothering him that he could feel comfortable enough to come visit with me about it.”
  • Regarding concern for Hamilton, ”I think we’re all concerned with Josh in that us who don’t have an addiction don’t truly understand the challenges that Josh has.  So we’re concerned for him, and as an organization we try to do everything we can to help in any way we can. One of the things that Josh realizes after this last time is the support he does have out there, and that’s probably very comforting for him.”
  • On Josh’s attitude, ”Josh has great attitude, is looking forward to getting down here and going to work and is very excited about the upcoming year and with great anticipation.  I really think he’s very focused on this time of year and what he needs to focus on. I think he’s in good shape and is working hard. I feel very positive about where Josh is coming into camp.”

Ryan hit on some other topics, but these were by far the big two, and rightfully so.  Nolan also talked about the team in general and said this regarding their outlook, “They are very determined again this spring as they are last spring,” Ryan said. “I don’t hear them talking about the World Series. I think they’ve moved on and have put it behind them.”   Ryan handled the media very well, and seemed to be initially amazed by the amount of media present.  On to non-Nolan updates:

  • According to Gordon Edes, at ESPNBoston.com, Roy Oswalt will announce his decision today as to who he will pitch for in 2012.  The Red Sox and Cardinals seem to be the strong bets at this point.  You can read the update from Edes here.
  • Joe Nathan seems eager to step into the closer role for the Rangers, saying “I’m excited.  I had a great workout this winter and have looked forward to this day for a long time.”
  • Regarding the Rangers team chemistry and clubhouse, Nathan said ”Obviously, I haven’t seen them all together in one place yet, but I’ve heard they all get along real well and that’s why they’ve done so well.  There’s talent here, just like there is in every clubhouse, but usually the thing that separates squads is how well they get along and how well they pull for each other and it looks like these guys do that as well as anyone.”
  • The Rangers hired Tony Fernandez as the special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels.
  • Neftali Feliz is fully embracing his new role and preparing for the increased stamina requirements.  “I’m doing more leg lifting so I can have the endurance.  I’ve been working a lot more on my changeup because I didn’t use that as much as a closer, and my slider.  Those two pitches were my focus.”
  • Feliz had this to say about his off-season meeting with former ace Pedro Martinez, “He gave me a lot of good advice.  He talked to me about my mental training and preparation and to understand that not everything is going to be easy and that things are going to be hard at times, but to keep my head up and keep at it.”
  • Wanna know how we think Feliz will perform this season – “The Other New Guy”
  • Jasen and I talked extensively about the Rangers pitching depth and the eventual rotation in our Spring Training Special podcast.  T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) provides his thoughts here and provides a full breakdown of the pitching staff here.
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsTanner Scheppers, who is going to work exclusively out of the bullpen this Spring, is excited about the opportunity, but still wants to be a starter down the road, ”It’s definitely nice to know my role going into it.  Long term, I would still like the opportunity to start, but right now I have to go out and perform and be competitive.”
  • Derek Holland wants us all to know that even though he’s a joker off the field, he’s nothing but business when he’s on the mound, ”At some point, I’m going to have a bad game and the last thing I want is for people to think that its because I did a Harry Caray impression.  If I have a bad game, it’s about not executing pitches. I have my fun. But when I come here, it’s not about goofing around. I’m serious every minute I’m on the field. It’s time to get to work and finish off what I started last season.”
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