Friday newsletter time: This Rangers starter needed extra rest more than others
(AP photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
The spot start Cody Bradford made Monday gave the Rangers’ rotation an extra day off. The off day Thursday gave Martin Perez, Jon Gray and Andrew Heaney two days off.
That trio is schedule to start the three Rangers games this weekend against the Rockies, with Perez starting tonight in the opener. He might have needed the rest more than any of them.
Remember, Perez pitched in the World Baseball Classic, which means he had to start his offseason throwing program earlier than normal. He threw 196 1/3 innings last season. He probably could have used the extra time off.
He won’t make any excuses for the 54 hits he’s allowed in 42 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting .312 against him.
But it looks like he has hit a bit of a wall in his past two starts, allowing 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings.
Gray, meanwhile, flirted with a no-hitter his last time out and has been much better since ditching the sweeping slider in favor of the one he’s thrown his whole career. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Heaney has actually been hard to hit, with a .208 average against, but he has allowed a team-high 18 walks and eight home runs in 42 innings.
Outfield prospect Aaron Zavala, the Rangers’ second-round pick (38th overall, Oregon) in 2021, returned to action Wednesday after recovering from offseason UCL brace surgery and connected Thursday for his first home run.
He’s batting .500 after two games.
Hopefully appearing on the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast won’t be his only highlight today.
Barring a last-minute scheduling conflict, Zavala will make his second appearance on the podcast and his first since the 2021 offseason.
The Rangers are thrilled with the way Zavala attacked his rehab, squeezing all he could out of his time on the field. It was similar to Josh Jung each of the past two times he was injured.
Don’t be surprised to find him, Dustin Harris and Evan Carter roaming the outfield together at Triple A Round Rock by mid-July. Don’t be surprised if Zavala makes his MLB debut later this season, either.
Card of the Week
Kumar Rocker has a date with Dr. Keith Meister very soon, perhaps today. He might have had it Thursday. Meister, though, is one of the last people pitchers want to see.
Something is usually wrong, and in this case Rocker has torn ulnar collateral ligament and needs Tommy John surgery. He will be back at some point in the second half of next season if all goes well.
Rocker is to be in good spirits, which is good because he has a long road ahead of him. He’ll be spending a lot of time at the Surprise Recreation Campus, where my son zeroed in on him one March day on the back fields and snagged his autograph.
Rocker’s 2022 Bowman Chrome Draft 1st Bowman refractor is the Card of the Week.
In case Rocker didn’t get acquainted with Surprise last summer after getting drafted, or in the Arizona Fall League, or during spring spring training, here are a couple restaurant recommendations:
The list, of course, starts with Booty’s Wings Burgers & Beer. I’m a big fan of Las Cazuelas and Rito’s, and Mr. Mesquite makes a solid burrito. Babbo’s is a chain Italian place, but the bread is unique and fantastic.
Rocker, unfortunately, is going to have time to try them all.
From the creative genius who brought us “Cheese Tax,” it’s time for “Big Stretch.” Enjoy.
— puppysongs (@puppysongs) April 4, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org