The Rangers fell to the Cubs yesterday in a split-squad Spring Training game, but the real story was the performance of Matt Harrison, who in five innings allowed one hit and one run with a walk and five strikeouts.
- Harrison on the outing, ”So far, so good. Hopefully, I can keep doing the same thing: pounding the strike zone and making quality pitches. I want to make them swing the bats because good stuff happens when they do that.”
- Manager Ron Washington on the effectiveness of Harrison’s changeup, ”I’ve always thought that was his second-best pitch. He worked on it the second half of last season, and he came into spring training, and he’s continued to work on it and it’s gotten better.”
- Two of Harrison’s strikeouts came on changeups, which is an encouraging sign from the young starter.
- Jean-Jacques Taylor discusses how the Rangers rotation is starting to take shape.
- Ron Washington said a few weeks ago that he was going to split Harrison and Holland up in the rotation, which makes perfect sense. To me, I’ve though the debate was whether they would fall in the second and fourth spots of the rotation or the third and fifth, with Darvish and Feliz taking the other two spots. After the strong performances from Holland this Spring, I think it’s clear the order looks like this:
- Colby Lewis
- Derek Holland
- Yu Darvish
- Matt Harrison
- Neftali Feliz
- Washington on Holland and Harrison expectations, “I don’t want them having 18 or 20 wins on their mind. If they set out to do what they did last year, they’ll surpass it without even trying. If they repeat the number of wins they had last year, that’s good enough for me – anything else is failure. I don’t want them going backward.”
- C.J. Wilson is an idiot.
- The Rangers have partnered with the Japanese social media company gloops. The partnership will include a gloops exclusive Japanese backdrop during press conferences, a fixed sign behind home plate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and signs around Surprise Stadium for the rest of spring training.
- David Murphy and Brad Hawpe each went yard in the other split-squad game yesterday, before the game was called short in the 4th inning due to rain.
- Torrealba was removed from the line-up due to stiffness in his back. He did get some batting practice in, so it looks like his removal was precautionary.
- Craig Gentry returned yesterday from his wrist injury that he sustained last week. He went 0 for 2.
- Prospect Robbie Ross, who is fighting for the bullpen role, started the game against the Brewers yesterday and didn’t fare well, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits across 2 1/3 innings.
- Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins on Ross’ outing, ”He was aggressive, went right after these guys. He just didn’t have the command that he had earlier in camp. I liked his approach and liked his attitude. He has a good head on his shoulders. He recognized those guys at the plate today, but he didn’t back off from them. He came right at them. I didn’t see any intimidation, and I didn’t see any fear. He just didn’t quite have the command, or otherwise he would have had a pretty good time out there.”
- Good article from T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) on Johan Yan, who the Rangers are hoping to convert from a poor hitting fielder to a strong armed relief pitcher, just as they did Alexi Ogando. Another current Ranger who made a similar conversion was Joe Nathan, who was originally drafted as a shortstop by the Giants.
Darvish Day III:
- Yu Darvish will be on the mound and Mike Napoli will be catching today when the Rangers play the Brewers. The game will be live on MLB.TV, at 3:05 p.m. Darvish is making his third start and will be looking to throw 60 pitches across four innings. Napoli, who has been dealing with a strained groin muscle, will be back behind the plate for the first time since March 8.
- Darvish reportedly generated more than $250 million of advertising revenue in January alone.
- Pitching coach Mike Maddux on Darvish (from Ben & Skin, 103.3FM ESPN), “So far we’ve got five innings to go on. In those five innings, we had some ups, and we had some downs. We had more ups especially the ball being up and down. It’s just something we need to continue to grind at. We’re going to work today and really get that ball going down. He showed us some good breaking stuff, and that’s kind of bailed him out since his fastball command has been erratic. He’s a confident young man. He only knows success. You look at his track record in the Japanese league, and he was dominating. His expectations are to go out there and dominate, but it’s a little different game over here. There is a more concentration of talent so he has to grind it out, and I think he’s learning that.”
- Maddux on overcoming the language barrier with Yu, “It’s somewhere between broken English, broken Spanish and broken Japanese. Some how, we got it all on the same page. The good news with baseball is that it’s an international language. Whether you’re in Tokyo or Arlington, Texas, it’s fastball, curveball, cutter, slider, change. It’s a strike and a ball. Some of the phrases are universal. There are some phrases that everybody knows whether they be in English or in Japanese or in Spanish. You kind of use those bullet phrases, and we all get on the same page. We’re able to get the communication bridged. When we come to the dugout, we really start getting the communication bridged when we employ the translators.”
- Darvish’s younger brother, Sho Darvish, was sentenced to a one-year prison term for assaulting a female friend. According to the Japan Times, Sho repeatedly slapped the woman in the face and tried to choke her. The attack reportedly resulted from Sho’s anger over her association with some of her friends.
St. Patrick’s Day Rangers Tickets Giveaway Winner
- Thanks to all those that participated! The winner of the tickets is rauch5s. We’ll get in touch with the winner and get the tickets out in the mail this week. Stay tuned for more giveaways throughout the season!