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Tuesday newsletter time: Marcus Semien getting dialed in early in camp

(Texas Rangers/Bailey Orr)

 

Spring training is no longer the time of year when players get themselves into shape for the season.

They come to camp in shape and ready to work.

Pitchers, though prepared from a fitness standpoint, need six weeks. They are the reason spring training is so long. Position players don’t need nearly that much time.

Example A on the Rangers’ spring roster is Marcus Semien, who connected Monday against the Angels for his second spring home run. He’s batting only .231, but the second baseman has a .500 on-base percentage and an 1.166 OPS. He’s ready to go.

Justin Foscue appears to be ready, too. He’s batting .350 after another two hits Tuesday.

Cody Bradford looks pretty spiffy, too. He allowed one run in three innings with four strikeouts as he competes for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Today is a big day in that competition. Owen White will make his first start of the spring and will be followed by Danny Duffy and Cole Winn (Jose Corniell, too, but he’s not contending for the rotation). Jack Leiter, Jose Urena and Adrian Sampson are also in the mix.

Wash returns

Ron Washington manages those Angels, and he was back in Surprise Stadium to watch his team win 3-2.

The Rangers’ all-time leader in managerial victories and the first manager to take the club to the World Series, Washington opened his time with the media by congratulating the Rangers and their fans for winning the World Series last season.

The Angels hired Washington about a week later, after interviewing him at the GM meetings. He boarded the plane for New Orleans without the job and apparently didn’t get the inflight Wifi. News broke that he was the Angels’ choice while he was in the air, and his phone blew up with text messages when the plane landed and he switched out of airplane mode.

Yes, Washington learned via text that he would be a manager for the second time in his career.

His return to the dugout was overdue. Washington thought he had a job in 2019, but the Padres instead chose Jayce Tingler, a former Rangers assistant coach and executive.

Washington turns 72 on April 29, so he was running out of time to be a manager again. His task now is to take down the team that made him a manager the first time in his career.

 

Stick a fork in it

Dane Dunning’s new pitch is … a forkball.

The right-hander revealed as much to the scribes in Surprise, saying he threw some of them in his latest outing.

A forkball is a variation of a splitter, at least in terms of grip. It’s thrown slower than a split and can move like a curveball.

It’s bygone pitch that injured Mets starter Kodai Senga throws. Hall of Famer Jack Morris threw it. So did Roy Face, for those who go back that far.

The pitch remains a work-in-progress for Dunning. If he gets comfortable enough with it in spring training, he could use it during the regular season. If not, he can put it in mothballs until next offseason.

Regardless, it’s kind of fun.

Doggy video!

More gangs need to be like this. 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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