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Friday newsletter time: Bruce Bochy knows spring evaluations can be tricky

(AP photo/Charlie Riedel)



The most difficult time to evaluate players is during spring training.

Stats can be wildly misleading, depending on when in games they are being accumulated and the caliber of pitcher/hitter they are being accumulated against.

Bruce Bochy knows that as well as anybody. He is in his 26th spring as a big-league manager, and he admits that he has been fooled more than once by the spring phenoms.

The key, he said, is trusting what he and the coaches are seeing and also trusting a player’s track record if he’s having a bad spring.

And that brings us to left-hander Cole Ragans.

The Rangers’ game notes for Thursday listed Nathan Eovaldi and Ragans as probable pitchers for today’s game against Milwaukee. Eovaldi sure as heck isn’t pitching in relief.

Each will get the innings he needs. Eovaldi is attempting to build for the regular season after being shut down for a few days with left side tightness. Ragans is also still stretching out for the regular season, as he could be in the rotation at Triple A Round Rock.

He could have done that in a minor-league game. But he’s pitching in relief in a Cactus League game, and that’s not insignificant.

Ragans has put himself in the discussion for the Opening Day roster as a multi-inning reliever, and this might be an audition for it. Glenn Otto worked in relief Sunday. Dane Dunning might be up for a relief look his next time.

With Jake Odorizzi likely to start the season on the injured list, that roster spot is one to watch and Ragans is a candidate. He’s had a terrific spring. Otto not so much. Dunning struggled the first time out but has been great of late.

They don’t have much of a big-league track record, and none of them has been a reliever.

There are a few other issues in play when determining where the trio will start, but determining if the spring performance are for real will also be a factor.

Another chance for opener

The Rangers are offering fans who don’t have tickets for Opening Day have another chance to get them.

An undisclosed but small amount of individual tickets will go on sale 9 a.m. Tuesday for the March 30 season opener at Globe Life Field. Fans can purchase tickets at texasrangers.com, by calling 972-RANGERS or at the Southeast Box Office at Globe Life Field.

Season ticket packages remain available, too.

The Phillies will be the Rangers’ foe for their 52 home opener in Arlington and fourth at Globe Life Field, but it’s the third with fans after the inaugural opener was played without fans during the COVID pandemic.

Card of the Week

The Wilsons made it back from spring training Monday night no worse for the wear. We probably gained a few pounds, but suffice to say the boy had a terrific time.

Among his highlights was getting autographs from every player he could get near. He brought with him some baseball cards and acquired a few baseballs. The last one he obtained, though, was his favorite and is the Card of the Week.

It’s the 2021 Panini Select Jacob deGrom red prizm 32/199.

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time, and deGrom couldn’t have been nicer. Every player was nice, and they reported that the boy used proper manners when asking for an autograph and after receiving one.

Back in my day, I specifically remember Will Clark at Giants camp requiring kids seeking his autograph to call him Mr. Clark and say please and thank you. Or at least he did that day.

But it takes a little bravery for a kid to ask an idol for an autograph, and it’s a thrill to get one.


Doggy video!

Smart boy. Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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  1. Donna Ferri March 17, 2023

    News letter enjoyable. Loved the deGrom story and info on spring training selections! Would love to be there opening day but I’m in NJ, A bit far away😞

    1. Jeff Wilson March 17, 2023

      It’s about a three-hour flight. You can make it.


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