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.
- 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.”
- 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:
- Colby Lewis
- Derek Holland
- Yu Darvish
- Matt Harrison
- Neftali Feliz
- 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.
- T.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.