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Friday newsletter time: A loss is a loss, but Rangers’ Heaney sees progress

(Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports)

 

ARLINGTON — Andrew Heaney never gets too excited, and he definitely didn’t want to get excited Thursday afternoon.

He had just tossed six innings, allowing four runs, in the Rangers’ 4-3 loss that dropped them back to .500, back to second place in the American League West and kept them from winning a series against the Mariners.

The Rangers have played four series against West foes and haven’t won any of them.

But Heaney (0-3) wasn’t upset with his performance. It was probably his best of the season.

“You don’t want to feel good about a loss,” the left-hander said.

Seattle’s runs came on two-run homers by Ty France and Luis Urias, and that was that. Heaney liked the pitch to Urias and was more aggravated by allowing the two runners on base ahead of the homers.

The good news is that he didn’t walk a batter as he continued to see progress toward where he hopes to be.

“Solo homers don’t beat you,” said Heaney, who struck out seven. “Other than that, I thought it was good. I’m encouraged but still frustrated.”

Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Smith hit their first home runs of the season, and Marcus Semien delivered a two-out RBI single in the seventh that brought the Rangers within a run.

Up next are the Reds, a young club and another good one as the Rangers traverse the first month of the season while not at their best or at their healthiest. Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to start tonight in the opener, so the Rangers are hoping he can get them off to a good start.

Three runs, though, might not cut it. For all the difficulties some of the starting pitchers have had the past two weeks, the offense continues to be the facet that isn’t doing enough.

What a relief

Right-hander Cole Winn faced six batters and retired them all as he continues his splendid work out of the bullpen since his April 14 promotion to the big leagues.

Winn struck out six and needed only 22 pitches to carve through the Mariners in the seventh and eighth innings. He’s pitching in higher-leverage situations, too.

“I’m just trying to attack hitters,” the 2018 first-round pick said.

Josh Sborz was reinstated from the injured list before the game and tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to extend the bullpen’s stretch of consecutive scoreless innings to 13.

Amid all the bellyaching over the bullpen earlier in the season, manager Bruce Bochy was steadfast in his belief that the bullpen is going to be better this season than in 2023. He might be onto something.

Beach bound

Right-hander Max Scherzer will make his second rehab appearance Tuesday for Double A Frisco at Corpus Christi, Bochy said.

The other possibility was for Scherzer to again pitch for Triple A Round Rock, but the Rangers didn’t want Scherzer pitching at elevation in Albuquerque. If Scherzer is to make a third rehab start on four days’ rest, he again will be faced with the Corpus/Albuquerque decision.

Scherzer was happy with how things went Wednesday night at Dell Diamond, and so were the Rangers. He returned from Round Rock late Wednesday and was back in the clubhouse Thursday morning.

He again gave the media his outline for the umpire relegation system, something he said he first starting pondering while a major player in the players’ union.

Card of the Week

The Wednesday trip to Round Rock to watch Scherzer pitch was like a stroll down tortured Rangers Memory Lane.

That had nothing to do with the Express. The roster for the Salt Lake City Bees was filled with former Rangers players.

Outfielder Jason Martin, who played for the Rangers in the dreadful 2021 season, homered off of Scherzer as the game’s second batter. Charles Leblanc, a former fourth-round pick, followed.

The Bees also have pitchers Jimmy Herget, Hans Crouse and Tyler Thomas. Andy Hawkins is the assistant pitching coach.

But the ex-Rangers player on the Bees’ roster with the biggest name is Willie Calhoun, and his 2015 Bowman Chrome 1st Bowman is the Card of the Week.

He’s still plugging along seven years after he was the centerpiece in the Rangers’ Yu Darvish trade with the Dodgers at the deadline.

Calhoun was at the center of a few unfortunate incidents while with the Rangers. Short story: He didn’t like it when he was sent to the minor leagues.

The first came at the end of spring camp in 2018, when he was in the first wave of cuts from big-league camp. He pouted his way in May.

He went into a public pout in 2019 after he found out that Hunter Pence beat him out for the final roster spot. Calhoun was inconsolable as he laid on the grass beyond the right-field bullpen at Surprise Stadium for far too long.

He ended up having a nice season and was looking like a part of the future in 2020, but he took a fastball of his face in spring training and wasn’t the same hitter in the 60-game COVID season.

He cracked the Opening Day roster in 2022 but had a dreadful April. When the Rangers sent him down, he essentially said that he was through with the organization and requested a trade. He seemed to regret it a few weeks later, but the Rangers eventually obliged him in a deal with the Giants.

I’ve always liked Willie and wish him nothing but the best. His tenure with the Rangers was a unique one.

Doggy video!

Take that, cat. 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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