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Friday newsletter time: Prospects mini-camp kicks off Rangers’ big weekend in Arlington

(Rangers Today)

 

 

Not all of the Rangers’ top prospects are in town this week for a mini-camp at Globe Life Field.

Josh Jung, Owen White and Cole Winn are on the 40-man roster and weren’t obligated to attend. They also participated last year. Outfielder Dustin Harris and infielder Jonathan Ornelas, though, are on the 40-man roster and were two of the 11 prospects in attendance.

Also among the 11 were outfielder Evan Carter and right-handers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter.

Injured outfielder Aaron Zavala was there, and he’s already throwing after offseason UCL band surgery in his elbow. Harris, who hurt his left wrist last season, said he’s fine.

Carter and second baseman Justin Foscue married their longtime girlfriends in the offseason. Left-hander Cody Bradford is already married, and he’s also already in Arizona for spring training.

Ornelas, an Arizona native, and righty TK Roby took part in a press conference that unveiled Rangers U, which is a series of courses designed to help player development while also counting as college credits. Abilene Christian designed and teaches the courses, and an estimated 30 minor-leaguers have been in the virtual classroom this offseason.

Roby then shifted gears to another hard-hitting line of questions as the guest on the upcoming Rangers Today Baseball Podcast.

He’s a cool customer, smart, good on the mound, and has made a favorable impression on the field and off it with club officials.

Right-hander Dane Acker seems to have forged a quick bond with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux. Infielder Thomas Saggese seems to have forged a bond with everyone.

Next up is a couple more weeks of workouts before spring training. Harris and Ornelas will be in big-league camp, and some of the remaining nine will be non-roster invitees. That list is due soon.

The mini-camp is part of a 2023 kickoff weekend that includes The Leadoff event, honoring the 2022 team award winners; Fan Fest from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Globe Life Field; and two more Winter Caravan stops Sunday, including one with Jacob deGrom.

Baseball is coming.

Charley Pride applications open

The Charley Price Fellowship Program has reached its third year, and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation is now accepting applications for a summer program working with the Rangers.

Five fellows will have the opportunity to rotate through three departments in the front office over the 10-week program. The fellows will work 20-hour weeks.

To apply, visit texasrangers.com/charleypridefellowship. Before you do, know the following:

The Rangers are seeking students from diverse backgrounds. Candidates must be rising college juniors or seniors who are enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program) and carry a minimum 2.5 GPA. A passion for and knowledge of baseball is helpful but not required

Applicants must include a resume, cover letter, college transcript, personal statement no longer than 500 words, and two letters of recommendation.

Applications are due by April 7. The first day of the fellowship is May 29, and the end date is Aug. 4.

 

Card of the Week

The first of the 11 prospects to face the media Thursday was Rocker, and it was apparent that he is much more at ease than he was in at his introductory press conference in August.

He’s a baseball player again, not some hopeful scarred by a failed physical exam. His career is moving forward instead of at a standstill, and in July and August he just wanted to get it started.

Rocker also said that he has watched the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast and seemed open to being a guest on a future episode.

For now, he’ll have to settle for being the Card of the Week. It’s his 2022 Bowman Draft chrome refractor, which recently hit the market.

Rocker said he doesn’t really care where he starts the 2023 season. The Rangers sent his former Vanderbilt teammate, Leiter, to Double A Frisco for his first season in 2022, and he finished with an ERA over 5.00.

Where Rocker debuts will be one of the big stories to open the upcoming season.

My guess is High A Hickory to get his feet wet before a bump to Frisco by mid-May.

Doggy video!

Friday has arrived. Happy times ahead. 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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