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Monday newsletter time: Five Rangers signings from Friday that shouldn’t be ignored

(AP photo/Jeff Chiu)

 

 

Lost in the weekend madness at Rangers Today was an early-evening release Friday regarding five players who had signed minor-league deals with invitations to Rangers big-league spring training.

One of them broke his news about 18 hours earlier. It’s right-hander Ian Kennedy, who took a similar path with the Rangers in 2021, ended up as the closer, and was traded to Philadelphia with Kyle Gibson and Hans Crouse for Spencer Howard and two minor-league pitchers.

Kennedy has a chance to make the team as a leverage reliever, and not just because he is close with Rangers general manager Chris Young and special assistant Dayton Moore from Kansas City. Another with ties to a honcho, Reyes Moronta, has a chance to be in the bullpen, too. He knows manager Bruce Bochy from their Giants days.

The Rangers also signed another ex-Royals pitcher, left-hander Danny Duffy. He’s coming off an injury and might not be ready until after the season begins, but he could have a role later in the season if he’s healthy and effective.

Two outfielders also signed, and, considering the state of left field, they have a chance to make the team. One is Clint Frazier, the former first-round pick who is back to going by Clint after briefly going by his middle name, Jackson. The other is Travis Jankowski, who can play all over the outfield.

Frazier is a right-handed hitter, and Jankowski is a lefty hitter. It’s looking more and more like the Rangers will try to assemble a platoon for left field this season, and those two are now candidates.

The Rangers also announced a lengthy list of internal non-roster invitees, and one to keep an eye on is Kyle Cody. Young was asked about him Saturday and gave a very warm response in regards to Cody’s chances at being in the bullpen.

Fan Fest takeaways

Granted, I wasn’t out pounding the pavement and artificial playing surface Saturday at Globe Life Field, but the sense here is that Fan Fest went well and the majority of attendees were pleased with the one-day kickoff to the 2023 baseball season.

My guess is there was some contentiousness in the autograph lines, though not enough for someone to gripe to me on Twitter or via email.

The best part, as is the case every time it’s allowed to do its job, was the roof. Anyone who remembers a frigid Fan Fest or two across the street knows what I mean.

Underneath all the activity was the media interview room, where some good nuggets came to light.

The Texas Tech men’s basketball team is winless in Big 12 play, former Red Raiders baseball star Josh Jung said. I had no idea, especially after Tech played TCU close in Fort Worth on Dec. 31. He also upgraded his wheels, from a single-cab pickup he drove for eight years to a new full-size truck with lots of bells and whistles.

Jacob deGrom has been introduced to the “Texas U-turn,” the turnarounds found at many highway frontage roads in big metro areas in the state. He sees the value in them, especially after driving in New York the past eight years, but he said he’s been tricked by them when attempting to make a left.

Mitch Garver was open about his return from injury and how he feels going into spring training. He’s nervous to see how his flexor tendon (elbow) holds up under game conditions. He is ahead of schedule on his recovery, already throwing to 200 feet. He hasn’t thrown to bases yet, but has made several hard throws at those distances.

Corey Seager might have been the most relaxed person at Fan Fest. One reason is he no longer has to face deGrom, and he said he won’t even do so in live batting practice at spring training. Seager, though, is selling himself short. He’s 5-for-14 (.357) in his career against deGrom with two doubles and a .400 on-base percentage.

Nate Lowe wore a turtleneck Friday night to the Leadoff event, where he collected two awards from 2022 — the American League Silver Slugger at first base and Rangers Player of the Year. He told the crowd that he had worn the turtleneck earlier in the day at the golf course, raced home to wash it, partially dried it in a dryer, and finished the job on the air conditioner in his car on the way to the event.

ICYMI …

Rangers Today is slowly but surely working out the kinks in the new email system deployed last week. I think I’ve caught up to those kinks, and hope to know more today. In the meantime, thanks to Fan Fest, there was plenty to write over the weekend, and that will bleed into the next two weeks until spring training begins. Good stuff is ahead. Speaking of good stuff, here’s our latest content in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: Lineup needs this duo to hit

Friday on the Farm: Crim still tops at first

Rangers part ways with Bayron Lora

Out of left field?

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast: Links to TK Roby encore

Doggy video!

Monday, if it were a puppy tackling stairs. 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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