Apr 162012
 

Some Thoughts on Yu Darvish and Joe NathanThe Texas Rangers are 8-2 (on pace for 129 wins!) and have earned a much-deserved day off. Still, especially with their red-hot start, a day without Texas Rangers baseball is rough.

It’s similar to the delight of consuming a delicious chocolate shake—loving it all the way—even down to the torturous final sip, when you know it’s almost gone.

Some might say that Joe Nathan has slipped some form of anti-goodness into our shakes, making that final sip—the ninth inning—bitter; even disgusting at times.

The side effects to Yu Darvish’s two rough starts have been astutely diagnosed as follows: dizziness, then drowsiness, followed by acute nausea and, finally, a full-on, wig-splitting headache.

But hell, he’s only partly to blame, after all he didn’t force me to drink beer by the gallon during his starts…or did he?

Well, just like that syrupy filth that your Mom used to give you when you had a cough, sometimes you’ve got to put up with the bad in order to get to the good.

Rest assured, for the Texas Rangers it’s mainly all good, but let’s shed some light on the bad.

Joe “XXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX” Nathan (nickname withheld…hint: rhymes with ‘cod slam smother tucking’)
0-2, 6.00 ERA, 3 Saves, 1 BS, 8 Ks, 0 BBs, 7 hits, 6 IP

We’ve already established that the Rangers are an impressive 8-2. They could have been 9-1 (maybe even 10-0) had it not been for Mr. Two First Names, and his “amazing” slider that seems to break right into the fat part of the opposition’s bats.

Granted, the one or two-win differential doesn’t matter a whole lot, at least not right now. Besides, if the Angels continue to play as they have, we might not have as close a stretch run as originally thought.

Regardless, Nathan has been pretty bad. It’s especially difficult to witness since his stuff seems to be fine, and he ‘s not walking anybody. Literally, he has yet to surrender a free pass.

Here’s hoping last night’s save in Minnesota is a sign of what is to come. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve already come to grips with Wednesday’s blown-save shellacking. As long as Nathan can stay in a groove, and miss some more bats, he should be fine.

Watching Joe Nathan close games gives me a whole new perspective on former closer, Neftali Feliz. It’s similar to watching Michael Young toil around third base when you’re used to watching Adrian Beltre.

Yu Darvish
1-0, 4.76 ERA, IP: 11.1, Hits: 17, BBs: 8, Ks: 9

Sure, I knew (as we all did) that Darvish wasn’t going to be as good as Justin Verlander immediately. Hell, Justin Verlander wasn’t even Justin Verlander until he had a few starts under his belt.

But, Darvish, in his first two starts has looked more like a young A.J. Burnett.

Ouch. But it’s far too early to close the book on Darvish. Remember, he’s only had two starts, and his second one was much better than his first. He’s also routinely praised for his work ethic, is only 25-years-old and teachable.

And, let’s not forget, that during his most recent start against the Twins, he had to deal with Michael Young playing third base. A folding chair with a Rangers hat would stop more ground balls.

Check out this quote from an unnamed scout on Darvish that appeared in one of Ken Rosenthal’s articles today:

“He’s going to give up a ton of hits,” the scout said. “A lot of his fastballs are very straight. The guy is supposed to throw hard. But he basically pitched at 89 to 92, touching 93-94. That’s pretty good in Japan. It’s not very good here.”
“He has a good cutter, a good curveball. But when he gets in trouble, he turns into a breaking-ball guy – nibble, nibble, he won’t let it go. He reminded me of Dice-K.”

I’m not even a big sabermetrics guy, and this idiotic quote makes me want to agree with the notion that scouts are a bunch of numbskulls.

To me the most angering thing about this quote is that it agrees with so much of the other negative crap that seems to assume that Darvish is a finished product, incapable of adjustment.

Dude, it’s not like we bought a Betamax cassette and we only have a VHS player to watch it on.

Darvish is going to be fine. He’s already good enough to be the Rangers’ number four starter, and he’ll only get better.

Now, as for Joe Nathan…well, the Rangers have plenty of other ninth-inning options should the bed-wetting continue

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Apr 162012
 

Monday Morning FastballsThe price tag keeps going up…

Trailing by one run in the 8th after an RBI triple by Elvis Andrus had plated Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton hit a no-doubter to the upper deck in right field that silenced the hometown Twins once and for all and wrapped up the opening road series sweep.

  • It’s the first time that the Rangers have swept the Twins in Minnesota since 1999.
  • Prior to the sweep, the Rangers had lost 20 of their last 26 in Minnesota, including 9 of 10 at Target Field.

“You know I don’t watch them,” Hamilton said regarding the distance of his home run. “I know it feels good and sounds good and Ron yells, ‘Yes!’ pretty loud. That’s about it. But that one felt pretty good.”

“That was awesome,” outfielder David Murphy said. “We didn’t get our offense going, but with this offense, we’re never out of it. Huge shot by Josh. As long as we have outs, we’re never out of it.”

“We played good baseball,” Washington said. “We pitched, we played defense, we ran the bases, we delivered the big hit when we needed them. Everything fell into place.”

  • Joe Nathan closed the door, working a perfect 9th against the middle of the Twins order and earning his 3rd save on the season.

“It’s nice to come in here and sweep these guys,” Nathan said. “I know the Twins have done pretty well against this club at this park. Today was a good win, come-from-behind win, and to hold down a one-run lead, it was nice.”

  • Monday Morning FastballsNeftali Feliz (5 IP, 3 ER on 5 hits and 2 BB, 3 K) pitched well early in the game but ran into some trouble in the 6th and was relieved by rookie Robbie Ross, who earned the win and pitched two brilliant innings.

“It was a pretty fun weekend,” Ross said. “I enjoyed it. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself, just relax and try to get guys out.”

  • This was a big one, as the Rangers were able to put the final nail in the coffin and get a series sweep…on the road no less.  There was much to be impressed with in this game, including the clutch hitting of Josh and Elvis, the plate discipline of Kins, the first four innings from Nefti, the dominance of the rookie Robbie Ross…but the moment that put the biggest grin on my face was Joe Nathan closing the door on his former teammates.  Once we can trust in Joe (which he has to earn through consistent dominant pitching), this thing is unstoppable.

Quick hits:

  • Rangers are off today…what the hell are we supposed to do now!
  • Colby Lewis will pitch in game one of the two game series in Boston.  He’ll face off with Boston ace Jon Lester.  Lewis has not had much success against Boston in his career (.329/.388/.685 in 80 PAs).  Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz in particular have hammered the Colbra in the past (Gonzalez: 6 for 7 with 2 HRs and a double; Ortiz: 5 for 15 with 3 HRs)
  • Derek Holland vs. Josh Beckett on Wednesday to wrap the short series, then it’s on to Motown for a four game set with the Tigers and home to face the hated Yankees…who, while they’ll always be hated by Rangers fans, are no longer public enemy #1.

“They’re chasing us,” echoed second baseman Ian Kinsler. “It shouldn’t matter to us. We’re not chasing them. Obviously, they are some of the best teams in the American League, but we feel like it’s got to come through us. We just have to play good baseball.”

  • Mitch Moreland missed his second straight game Sunday due to a painful abscessed tooth. He flew back to Dallas last night and is scheduled to undergo oral surgery today.  The plan is for him to rejoin the club tomorrow in Boston.
  • In an effort to split up the lefties in the rotation, Wash said he was considering switching Darvish and Harrison during the series with the Tigers, but no official decision has been made yet.
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Mar 282012
 

2012 has begun!  The Athletics and Mariners are over in Japan wrapping up the season opener as I type this.  One note, the Rangers will be tied with the Angels for 2nd when this game completes.  Nice article by Jim Caples (ESPN) on Ichiro’s return to Japan.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsMike Napoli hit two home runs in yesterday’s Spring Training match-up with the Padres, which was won by the Rangers when Joey Butler (of Baseball Do podcast fame) scored from third on a wild pitch.

  • Ian Kinsler continues to tear through Spring Training, compiling 3 hits in the game, raising his Spring Training batting average to .422.  I’m calling it right now – Kinsler will not hit above .422 during the regular season.
  • Robbie Ross, who is fighting for a spot in the bullpen with the Rangers, started the game and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk over 2 innings of work.

“I was up just a little bit,” Ross said. “I got behind on batter a few times. I hit my spots OK, but I think I could have attacked the guy that hit the home run better than I did. I kind of pitched around him and nit-picked a little bit.”

  • Ross made a nice defensive play, snagging a line drive hit back to the mound by Chris Denorfia.  Credit Greg Maddux with the nice glove work by the prospect.  After Ross just got out of the way of a similar line drive hit by Torii Hunter on Sunday, Maddux put Ross out on the mound and drilled 6 line drives back at him, making him field the ball rather than bail.

“He was hitting them at me, so this time I was like, ‘Oh, that’s what we worked on,’” Ross said. “It was kind of nice knowing I could stick in there with that.”

Wednesday Morning CurveballsNeftali Feliz got back on the mound for the first time since being pulled early from a game last week due to should stiffness.

  • Feliz gave up one earned run (three runs total) on six hits and one walk in four innings of work, striking out three.
  • He hit 96 MPH with his fastball in both of his final two innings of game.

“I felt good,” said Feliz through a translator. “Everything was OK. I wasn’t trying to throw hard, just trying to keep my pitches down.”

The Rangers are expected to announce their starting rotation very soon.  It’s known that Colby Lewis will start Opening Day and Neftali Feliz will take the 5th spot.  If the Rangers are truly wanting to split up their left-handers, as manager Ron Washington eluded to earlier this Spring, than the rotation should look like:

  1. Colby Lewis
  2. Derek Holland
  3. Yu Darvish
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Neftali Feliz

Quick Hits

  • Hold your breath…Elvis Andrus left yesterday’s game with a tight right hip flexor muscle.  The plan is to rest him today and get him back in the lineup tomorrow.  Wash isn’t concerned.  Exhale…
  • Joe Nathan pitched back-to-back days for the first time this Spring on Monday & Tuesday.  His outing yesterday, against the Royals AA team, was especially gratifying as he struck out 2 and got a ground out in a quick 11 pitch inning.
  • Nathan hiy 94 MPG with his fastball and said that his arm felt strong on Tuesday than it did on Monday.

“I had good building blocks yesterday and built on that,” Nathan said.

  • The Dutch Oven pitches tonight at the Royals and Alexi Ogando will pitch in a minor league game against the Dodgers in which is expected to go 6 innings.
  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsT.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote a good article on Adrian Beltre’s leadership role on the Rangers.  The article is filled with comments from his teammates and manager Ron Washington.

“It’s so easy on this team to be yourself and help others,” Beltre said. “There are not a lot of guys who get out of line. It makes it easy. I like to have fun. It helps me relax and enjoy the game. When I enjoy the game, I perform better. It’s tough to have fun when you’re losing. The good thing is this team wins a lot. It’s easier that way.”

  • Next week’s podcast will be our 2012 Season Preview Special.
  • We’re planning a giveaway in the near future for some Rangers tickets, so stay tuned.
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Mar 212012
 

Baseball Do Podcast Episode 11   Big news for us and Dutch!  C.J. sucks!Jasen and I talk about:

  • Our new partnership with Patty Shack Burgers!
  • Derek Holland’s new contract
  • Neftali’s stiff shoulder
  • The closer role
  • C.J. Wilson’s failed attempt at a prank on Mike Napoli
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Mar 202012
 
Tuesday Morning SlidersYu Darvish pitched 4 innings in the Rangers 5 – 3 loss to the Brewers yesterday.  The Rangers were in control of the game when Darvish left, with a 3-1 lead, but Joe Nathan surrendered the lead in the 6th inning.
  • Darvish allowed a run on 1 hit in 4 innings of working, striking out 3 and walking 3.  He also threw a wild pitch and hit a batter, so harnessing the control is still a work in progress which is perfectly fine for  Spring Training.
  • This was his first Spring Training game in which Yu pitched from the wind-up.
  • Darvish on the outing and his delivery, ”The way my body is working, my delivery, I can’t really repeat it all the time right now.  The consistency is not there. That’s why you see some good pitches and some bad ones. And I don’t expect it to be perfect right now anyway. Those are some things I’m going to continue to plan on polishing as we go on.”
  • Darvish on NL MVP Ryan Braun, ”He’s a tremendous hitter, has a tremendous swing.  I’m still new here and I don’t think it’s proper for me to evaluate him yet, but he’s a very good hitter.”
  • Pitching Coach Mike Maddux on Darvish, ”He progressed the way he wanted to today.  We worked two times and skipped a live BP to get more mound time. I was happy with his outing. He commanded the fastball and threw some good breaking balls.”
  • Closer Joe Nathan came on in the 6th and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits – should you panic?  No, but should you watch Nathan closely once the regular season gets underway?  Yes.
  • SS Elvis Andrus went 3-4 with a sweet bunt single in the 1st inning.  Both Elvis and Ian are really producing in Spring Training.  Hopefully, they can carry that momentum into the regular season.
  • Prospect Tanner Scheppers got through only 2/3 of an inning, giving up a hit and two walks.

Quick hits:

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersThe Rangers and Derek Holland are on the verge of reaching a 5 year agreement.  No details are known at this time, so stay tuned throughout the week to find out the future of the Dutch Oven.
  • Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com) wrote “A New Start for Feliz; in more ways than one”, which rehashes Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, but also provides a closer look into the mindset of Feliz.  I’m really pulling for Neftali to experience some success in 2012.  His stuff is great, and I think he has the make-up to be a great starting pitcher in this league for a long time.
  • The Rangers optioned 7 pitchers to the minors yeterday:
  1. Neil Ramirez (Triple-A Round Rock)
  2. Miguel De Los Santos (Double-A Frisco)
  3. Jake Brigham (Double-A Frisco)
  4. Justin Miller (Triple-A Round Rock)
  5. Cody Eppley (Triple-A Round Rock)
  6. Roman Mendez (High-A Myrtle Beach)
  7. Martin Perez (Triple-A Round Rock)
  • Yu Darvish will not face the Angels this coming weekend when the Rangers square off with their nemesis in Spring Training, instead he’ll pitch in an intra-squad game.  I like the strategy.  No point in giving the Angels batters an opportunity to see Darvish live from the batter’s box before it really counts.
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersMike Napoli is not pleased with C.J. Wilson’s attempt at a Twitter prank, and neither are we.  Jasen and I sounded off on this last night, when we attempted to record the weekly podcast only to find out that the file was corrupted and it was all for not.  Regardless, just know that we think this was a crappy thing for C.J. to do, and if we knew Kung Fu, we’d probably use it on him…
  • Josh Hamilton on potential of free agency after the 2012 season, ”Free agency is free agency.  If they sign me now, it’d probably cost less. If they sign me there (free agency), it’d cost more. So we’ll see.  Obviously, I told the Rangers that they get first shot, and I mean that. I have loyalty to the Rangers. They’ve been good to me and my family, and it’s been a good relationship.”
  • Does this make up for the “I don’t owe the Rangers anything” comment?  That’s for you to decide.  For me, I think Josh is over-correcting and probably just needs to let it go.
  • The Rangers meet up with the Cubs today in a split squad match-up in Mesa, AZ at 3:05.  Neftali Feliz will take the ball for the Rangers against Ryan Dempster.
  • Michael Young has now hit in eight consecutive Spring Training games, so watch to see if he can extend that today.
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Mar 152012
 

Rockies beat the Rangers 6-1 yesterday, as Neftali Feliz got his second start of Spring Training under his belt.  Of bigger concern was the injury to Josh Hamilton’s heel that occurred in the second inning.

  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsFeliz struck out 3 over 3 innings, giving up 1 run off of 4 hits and a walk (47 pitches, 32 for strikes).  More importantly, Neftali was able to get himself out of two jams with inning-ending double plays which lessened the damage and showed that the closer-turned-starter was able to buckle down in crunch time.
  • Ron Washington on the start, ”He pitched well.  He went out there once again and used the whole strike zone and used all his pitches.”
  • T.R. Sullivan elaborates further on the start and provides some video here.
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor (ESPNDallas) provided his take on Feliz here.
  • Hamilton’s injury is not considered serious.  He left the game for precautionary purposes after jamming his heel while chasing down a Todd Helton double.
  • Wash on Hamilton, ”He just said his heel felt sore so we removed him.  We’ll just see how he is tomorrow. If they feel he’s fine, he’ll be back out there. If they feel he needs another day, we’ll give him another day.”
  • Ian Kinsler returned to the Rangers line-up Wednesday after missing three days with stiffness in his back.  He looked good in the game, going 2 for 3.
  • Mike Napoli was still out of the line-up as he nurses his groin.  That’s 5 straight games now that Nap has missed, and the Rangers aren’t really saying anything as to when he will return.  Precaution is key, but it seems the problem is lingering a little longer than they thought.

Quick hits:

  • Craig Gentry sprained his wrist in the Yu Darvish start (remember the diving attempt…).  He’s expected to miss 3-5 days, and had this to say regarding the situation, ”It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the game.  When it happens you try to move on, but it’s frustrating not getting at-bats or being able to finish a nine-inning game.”
  • Martin Perez will get his second Spring Training start today at 3:05 against the Swingin’ A’s.  Neil Ramirez, another highly touted Rangers pitching prospect, will also pitch in today’s game.  You can listen to the game on TexasRangers.com.
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsJean-Jacques Taylor (ESPNDallas) wrote a piece on Julio Borbon and his plight to be the full-time CF.  According to Taylor, Ron Washington and others are high on Borbon’s performance so far this spring, and the feeling is that he has surpassed Craig Gentry in the competition for the role.
  • Borbon on his approach this spring, “I’m finally playing my game the way I want to play.  I’m not trying to do what I think the Rangers want me to do.  I’m not trying to impress anybody or overdo anything. Sometimes, you work yourself to exhaustion trying to do everything you can – and then you can’t perform.”
  • Washington on Borbon, “When we showed up to spring training he was ready to play ball because he’d been playing all off-season. He started well and he hasn’t let up.”
  • Ron Washington isn’t going to bail on Joe Nathan after one bad outing in Spring Training, saying ”Once again we’re in spring training.  He has to develop his arm strength. He has to get a feel of what he’s trying to do.”
  • If you missed Wash on with Ben & Skin (103.3FM, ESPN), you can read some details from the interview here.
  • Drew Davidson (Star-Telegram) wrote a piece on hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and the praise he is getting from the players.
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Mar 122012
 

Monday Morning FastballsOne of the Rangers over-shadowed acquisitions of this off-season was the signing of closer Joe Nathan who, Joey Nowak (MLB.com) writes, is confident that he’ll return to form after missing a season and a half after Tommy John surgery.

  • Nathan on the injury and surgery, ”Obviously, the surgery, being two years behind me now, has allowed my arm to heal and do everything I need to do.  It’s not a concern, I’m not thinking about that anymore. I’m just concentrating on what’s important and that’s getting guys out.”
  • Ron Washington on Nathan and the acquisition, ”Last spring, we experimented with Neftali starting, but we weren’t protected in the back end of the bullpen.  And the first thing [general manager Jon Daniels] did this winter was go get us some protection in the back end of the bullpen so we could go make this move with Neftali. I think he made a great choice in Joe Nathan. More than that, Joe Nathan wanted to be in Texas.”
  • Catcher Yorvit Torrealba on Nathan, ”Not to take anything away from Neftali, but Nathan is one of the best closers in the game, and it’s a plus to have a guy like that to bring in.  With Neftali moving to the rotation, we need a guy like that, and to have him here is great.”
  • Nice to hear Joe’s confidence in himself and that the injury is behind him completely.  This was a move that not only netted the Rangers a potential stud closer, but also with a potential top of the rotation starter with the transition of Feliz.

Minus C.J., plus Yu, and more…  Mike Bauman (MLB.com) think that the 2012 Rangers Pitching may be better than last year’s.

  • Bauman on the depth, “And there is admirable depth here. Scott Feldman, a 17-game winner in 2009, appears to be all the way back after knee surgery. Hard-throwing Alexi Ogando proved his worth as a reliever in 2010, then demonstrated that he was a Major League starter in 2011.”
  • Overview from Wash, ”If our young kids continue to grow — it’s important that they continue to grow and don’t go backwards — we will certainly hold our own.  Name-wise, you put them up against some of those rotations out there, maybe we don’t compare. But result-wise, I think we will be fine. I’m certainly looking forward to them continuing their growth. And the addition of Darvish will certainly help. That will replace what we lost in C.J.  We should continue to move forward. We don’t doubt that. Colby showed that he’s coming around [with four perfect innings on Saturday]. Feldman has got his sink back and his cut back on his fastball, and he’s getting his ground balls. Neftali is moving along. Holland and Harrison have shown that they haven’t missed a beat, yet. And Darvish had a very good first outing. So we’re certainly very positive about what we have to go into the season with. And we’ve just got to hope that we stay healthy.”
  • Ron Washington on the young guys on the staff, ”The Harrisons, the Hollands, the Ogandos, the Neftalis, they were young, and they had a chance to pitch into the postseason two years, back to back, and understand what it’s like to compete.  And I think that’s a good advantage for us to have. They’ve been there and done that.”
  • Say what you want about C.J. (super douche), but his loss from the rotation did leave a gap…a gap that has been filled by Yu Darvish, who has more potential than C.J.  You couple that with the development of the younger guys on the staff, as Wash talks to above, and I think this year’s staff will out-produce last year’s staff.  A lot depends on what Yu can do…

Quick hits:

  • Rangers split their two Spring Training games over the weekend, losing Saturday to the White Sox and beating Cleveland yesterday.
  • Derek Holland had an effective outing in the win yesterday, giving up 1 ER on 3 hits over 3 innings of work, striking out 4.
  • The Rangers play the Mariners today at 3:05pm.  Matt Harrison faces off with former Ranger prospect Blake Beavan.
  • Scooter Feldman (Jasen’s pick for Surprise Player of the Year) understands the starting pitching depth that this team has, ”I’m just trying to get my focus where it needs to be at the beginning of the season.  I’d like to know what I was doing, but I’m a fortunate guy to be on this team. I just go about my business and do what I can control. I can’t control the decisions they’re gonna make.”
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor (ESPN) compares the current Rangers squad to the dominant Cowboys of the mid-90′s.
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Mar 072012
 

Baseball Do Episode 10 – Spring Training Games & Surprise Players of the Year

Tim Howell joins Baseball Do to talk about the Rangers start to Spring Training, the upcoming Yu Darvish debut and all three of the guys pick their surprise player of the year.

Who do you think will be the Mike Napoli of 2012 that exceeds all expectations and shocks the pants right off of us?

Give the podcast a listen and be sure to comment below to let us know what you think.

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Feb 272012
 
  • Monday Morning FastballsOver the weekend, Josh Hamilton addressed his comments from Friday’s press conference saying, “If it does go to free agency, the first place I’m coming is here.  If I owe anything, it’s that. My loyalty is here. This is where I’ve been. This is where my family’s been, so obviously I’d love to stay here more than anywhere else. So first of all, they get a chance to do what they need to do to keep me here.”
  • Hamilton further clarified his “I don’t owe the Rangers anything” comments saying, ”What I owe is 100 percent on the field.  My employee-employer relationship is to give 100 percent in the clubhouse, to the fans, everything I’ve done while I’ve been here. That’s what I owe to the Rangers. I’ve done those things and I’m going to continue to do those things. That’s what I mean by it.”
  • Again, I know it’s a business, but you just hate to hear a star player have to use the “employee-employer relationship” line.  If you missed our take on his statement from Friday, check it out here.
  • Josh went on to comment on the potential of negotiations during the season, saying ”If it’s during the season, I’m not going to know about them because I’ve asked not to know about them.  I trust my agent. He’s not just my agent, but a close friend and mentor of mine, somebody I go to for advice and I really trust. I leave that up to him. I just say call me when there is something worth talking about.  I’m just going to leave it up to him. If they approach him and he feels like it is something to go forward with, I’ll leave it up to him. It’s not going to be something I’m focusing on, concentrating on.”
  • Monday Morning FastballsJoe Nathan addressed the team during a team meeting yesterday which was intended to be a chance for the team, coaches and staff to air all of their feelings about how the World Series ended.  The veteran newcomer said “I talked about what it looks like from the outside looking in.  For me, watching that, they were the better team. What happened is baseball. Stuff happens in this game is sometimes unexplainable, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t the better team and I’m excited to be here and that they had nothing to be ashamed about.”
  • Nathan went on to talk about the current state of the team, saying ”I don’t think anybody is hanging their heads about last year.  I don’t think there’s a reason to hang your heads about last year. They’ve got a lot of things to be proud of about what they did last year. Even though it’s tough and you want to win and had a chance to win, you’ve still got to be excited about where this team is and where this team has been and 28 other teams wanted to be in their spot even though it was a tough way to go down.”
  • T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) covers the team meeting in more detail here.
  • Monday Morning FastballsElvis Andrus is listed as day-to-day after having a Plantar’s wart removed from his heel.  Shouldn’t have any long-term impact on the young shortstop.
  • Evan Grant (SportsDay DFW) shared his thoughts on the Rangers batting order: “I’d move Michael Youngto second and Elvis down to the lower third, but only if Young could be more of a situational hitter. His track record suggests he’s been prone to too many double play balls. I’d rather have Elvis hitting eighth or ninth with speed around him there, than to dropMitch Morelandto the 8th spot. Think the Rangers could do some manufacturing from bottom third of order that way.”
  • Evan isn’t alone in his thoughts above.  Elvis makes more sense hitting 2nd in terms of small-ball, while Young brings better numbers all-around.  It’ll be interesting to see if this changes in 2012.  If I had to guess, I’d say that it won’t change, only because I think Elvis will take another step forward in his offensive development in 2012, and you can tell that Ron loves having him in the 2 hole.
  • Grant also discussed the pitching staff, saying “I’m a little concerned. There is a lot of talent, but little track record. Both Holland and Harrison have only one half season each of real success. Lewis gave up 35 homers last year and I don’t expect that number is going to go down markedly. While Feliz and Darvish have limitless potential, neither has started a major league game. If everything goes right, it’s a dominant rotation, maybe the best and youngest in the league. But how often do things fall just right?”
    ROTATION: Lewis, Holland, Darvish, Harrison, Oswalt.
    BULLPEN: Feliz or Nathan (closer), Feliz or Nathan (setup), Ogando (setup), Mike Adams (middle/setup),Scott Feldman (long), a lefty TBA and one spot open for a Tateyama or someone of that level.
  • Jasen and I provided our thoughts on the pitching staff in last Monday’s podcast.  While it would be shocking to see Feliz not have a spot in the rotation after the signing of Nathan and the way things ended in 2011, I understand Grant’s position in that Oswalt brings more of a track record.  With the improvements that the Angels made, this is not a season where the Rangers will be able to risk losses due to experimentation – Feliz needs to prove he can be in this rotation during Spring Training.
  • As far as the “lefty TBA” mentioned above, watch out for phenom prospect Martin Perez.  Both minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark and manager Ron Washington have talked about his limited performance so far this Spring and have been impressed.
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Feb 212012
 

Baseball Do Podcast   Spring Training Special

We’re back…

Spring Training is upon and we answer some key questions facing the Rangers as they get to work in Surprise.

  • Center field – Gentry, Borbon, Martin, or….
  • Mitch Moreland
  • Pitching Rotation
  • Yu Darvish Distractions
  • Josh Hamilton Hangover (may be a better way to describe this…)

Be sure to listen carefully for an easy way to win a free “Nolan is my Homeboy” T-Shirt and for a way to participate and contribute to Baseball Do!

Smile folks…it’s time for Baseball!

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