Friday newsletter time: Ian Kennedy pitches well in battle for roster spot
(AP photo/Charlie Riedel)
No Rangers player was informed Thursday that he had made the Opening Day roster, or at least manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t ready to publicly divulge that information.
Maybe by Saturday he will have something to announce. The Opening Day starter announcement should come today. The way things line up, it will be right-hander Jacob deGrom.
Spots were on the line Thursday night as the Rangers played the A’s, namely in the bullpen.
Left-hander Cole Ragans has worked as a starter this spring, but if he makes the team it will be as a multi-inning reliver. Right-hander Ian Kennedy is also vying for a roster spot, a late-inning leverage role.
He has a taller task because he isn’t on the 40-man roster.
Kennedy, though, has pitched better of late. He tossed a scoreless third Thursday as four relievers opened the game with an inning apiece before giving way to Ragans.
The other three — Zack Littrell, Dominic Leone and John King — threw a scoreless inning apiece. King is on the 40-man roster.
Ragans allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in relief. He wasn’t as sharp as he’d been, but Bochy wasn’t discouraged by the outing.
Let’s make a deal
A mid-morning check of Twitter showed “Cancel Spring Training” as a trending topic in the U.S.
Ah, a player must have been injured and that team’s fan base was bellyaching.
It wasn’t just Phillies fans miffed about the injury to first baseman Rhys Hoskins, a torn ACL that will keep him out all season. There were non-Phillies people calling for the banishment of spring training.
That’s ridiculous, just like Twitter. Injuries happen, and it’s a shame when anyone gets injured. It’s going to happen the first week of the regular season.
Should MLB go ahead and pre-emptively cancel that? No.
A few fans are in scramble mode besides the Phillies, including the Astros after second baseman Jose Altuve was injured in the World Baseball Classic (need to cancel that, too).
The Mets lost closer Edwin Diaz in the WBC (knee) and have concerns about center fielder Brandon Nimmo. There have been others.
Maybe those clubs will call the Rangers, who have a surprising amount of infield depth. They don’t have any extra first basemen, but maybe Phillies can move, say, Alec Bohm to first base and acquire, say, Ezequiel Duran to be their third baseman.
Brad Miller had success with the Phillies before joining the Rangers. It’s doubtful he burned any bridges, and he can play just about anywhere.
General manager Chris Young might want to pick up his phone.
Not only is today the penultimate day of Rangers spring training, it’s also National Cocktail Day.
I will be celebrating.
Here’s my current favorite — the Evolved Revolver:
• 2 ounces bourbon
• 1 ounce coffee liquor
• 1/2 ounce vermouth
• a couple dashes of orange bitters
Shake it with ice, but serve it neat.
Card of the week
Some interesting things pop up when talking on the back fields, and this one is noteworthy:
No player underwent a more drastic physical overall from last season than Low A outfielder Yeison Morrobel.
It’s true. He’s no longer a skinny young outfielder. He’s put-together young outfielder.
Suffice it to say, Morrobel no longer represents the they way he looks in his first Bowman card, the 2022 Bowman Chrome, which is the Card of the Week.
The Rangers knew the physical development was coming, but it happened quickly rather than a gradual change over multiple offseasons. There’s no concern. In fact, the Rangers are excited.
Morrobel spent last season in the Arizona Complex League working to add some lift to his swing so that the hard contact he was making on the ground would start finding some gaps and going over the wall.
If all is working properly with his newfound strength, that shouldn’t be a problem.
My guess is the puppy got a reaction, eventually, and not the one he wanted. Enjoy.
"Dude, honestly, I can't even look at you right now" pic.twitter.com/Og9n9tW1vm
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) March 23, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com