Monday newsletter time: Mitch Garver’s turn at catcher a key step for Rangers
(AP photo/LM Otero)
The Rangers started three different catchers in their first three games of spring training, and the trend was expected to continue Monday with Mitch Garver settling in behind the plate.
He was fourth for a reason. Manager Bruce Bochy said the Rangers wanted to give Garver a few more days to continue building arm strength after he underwent surgery in July to fix the flexor tendon in his right arm.
Garver hadn’t complained about his arm. He has said since Fan Fest last month that throwing was going well and that he had simulated throws from behind the plate. He hadn’t done much before camp because, well, it’s hard to get on a field this time of year where he lives in Colorado.
His health remains one of the few things hanging over the team. The Rangers believe he will be ready to catch multiple games a week by Opening Day, but they still have veteran Sandy Leon in camp along with Sam Huff. Garver is also expected to get a healthy dose of at-bats at designated hitter.
Catchers won’t play more than three or four innings early on in camp, so don’t be alarmed if Garver leaves early. But Bochy said last week that he wants his catchers and position players to play a full nine innings before camp breaks, as Ron Washington used to have them do.
That’s been missing the past few years.
Gray good, not so good
Right-hander Jon Gray seems to be flying under the radar in his second spring with the Rangers, though he certainly shouldn’t be.
When he was healthy last season, he was really good. He’s a power pitcher with a big fastball and a solid slider when he is healthy, which he is so far in camp.
He dialed up two scoreless innings Sunday against the Guardians, allowing only one hit. While the results looked good, Gray told reporters at Goodyear Ballpark that he didn’t feel remotely good.
The good news is that it was his first start of the spring and there’s time to build.
“I’m grateful that it was today, and it was good to work out of it,” Gray said. “It’s all simple stuff, really. I don’t want to say it’s mechanics, but it is. It’s just staying within yourself. Day 1 you want to put that extra 10 percent in, and sometimes it doesn’t feel very good.”
Gray said that he didn’t pay much attention to the pitch clock, but he did pitch exclusively from the stretch to see if that will make things easier on him with games sped up. The full windup, he said, could mess with his timing now that time is a factor.
It’s been a good month at Rangers Today, with more subscribers signing on in anticipation of a better Rangers season. And it is going to be better. You should sign up, too. The young pitching has been the talk of the camp, when the talk hasn’t been about Jacob deGrom’s left side. That’s fading in the rearview mirror, and soon the young talent will fade into minor-league camp. Rangers Today hit the veterans and the prospects in our latest content. Here it is, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Strong starts to camp
Friday on the Farm: Get to know Lucas Jacobsen
Rangers Today Baseball Podcast: Links to new Joe Barlow episode
Get your Monday started with this kind of energy. Enjoy.
"It's a new day! Look how nice it is, time to get up, Woohoo! Come on human, lets goooo!" pic.twitter.com/CJF5Oz2woX
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) February 26, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com