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Friday newsletter time: Progress for Jon Gray, but Rangers’ bats go silent

(Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports)


ARLINGTON — Jon Gray, who is harder on himself than any of his critics, was mostly pleased with his performance Thursday afternoon.

He allowed only one run, a second-inning home run to Seth Brown, in five innings. That should have been good enough for the Rangers to overcome.

Alas, they were no-hit into the seventh inning by JP Sears and finished with only an Adolis Garcia single in a 1-0 loss to the A’s.

Oakland won twice in the three-game series, and the Rangers finished their homestand with a 3-4 record. Up next is a 10-game, three-city road trip that begins tonight at Houston.

Gray, meanwhile, will continue to build upon his best outing so far this season and continue to search for the velocity missing from his pitches.

“I don’t have any pain,” Gray said. “I just noticed it’s a lot slower, but I can still pitch with that. Today showed that. If it ticks back up, great. If not, I can still pitch with it.”

He threw more curveballs and changeups than he normally does. The ball Brown hit was a changeup that Gray left up in the zone. The A’s also fouled off more pitches than Gray would prefer, which pushed his pitch count higher.

But he made progress against the A’s, and that should be the big takeaway from the Rangers as they will soon be faced with deciding which starter to drop out of the rotation once Michael Lorenzen is deemed ready to go.

That could be as soon as next week after he pitched Wednesday for Triple A Round Rock. The Rangers will ride six starters through the end of their stretch of 17 straight games and then make a decision.

Montgomery, Boras split

Jordan Montgomery has given his review of Scott Boras’ services, and he didn’t leave a five-star review.

The former Rangers left-hander has a new agent.

Montgomery moved on from Boras, switching to the Wasserman agency, after a grueling offseason that saw the free agent sign only days before the regular season and for far less than he was anticipating.

After reportedly seeking a seven-year deal worth $175 million, Montgomery signed a one-year, $25 million deal with the Diamondbacks that comes with a vesting player option that could be worth $25 million in 2025.

He can turn down the option and be a free agent again after this season.

The question that hasn’t been answered is how much Boras/Montgomery turned down in pursuit of a bigger offer. The Rangers, fearful of a larger luxury-tax penalty and uncertain about their TV money going forward, never seemed to make a competitive offer.

Boras has a reputation as an agent who pushes his clients to take the largest contract. Greg Maddux and Jared Weaver stand only a few Boras players who took less to go (in Weaver’s case, stay) where they wanted to be.

While the player has the ultimate say, he also leans heavily on his agent to get him the best deal. With another round of free agency ahead, Montgomery apparently wanted to lean on someone else.

$16 million!

Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter was charged Thursday with bank fraud after pilfering $16 million from MLB’s biggest star, $12 million more than initially reported.

Charges were filed Thursday against Ippei Mizuhara, who was employed by Ohtani’s two clubs and also by Ohtani as a personal assistant. The investigation found that no bets on baseball were placed, and MLB issued a statement saying that the issue is settled.

Nothing two see here (insert eye-roll emoji).

A few questions still remain:

Mizuhara, documents show, was $40.7 million in debt with more than $300 million wagered. No one with Team Ohtani knew about his gambling problem?

With $16 million just missing from Ohtani accounts, did no one on Team Ohtani find that odd?

Apparently not (insert eye-roll emoji.)

Card of the Week

O.J. Simpson is dead, passing away after battling cancer, though he died to many in 1994.

That’s when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, and within the week attempted to evade arrest in the back of a slow-moving white Bronco famously captured on TV.

Ultimately, he was acquitted of the crimes in the most shocking trial of our lifetime.

That was it for the Juice as a celebrity. (He later served nine years in prison after being convicted of the armed robbery of a memorabilia dealer.)

That also ended my desire the 1969 Topps Simpson rookie card, which is the Card of the Week.

The design of the ’70 set is great. The Len Dawson card is a favorite, with his stoic pose. I actually prefer the colorful 1969 set for classic football cards and the 1971-72 Topps basketball set.

That said, I have soft spot for the tall basketball cards of the previous two seasons.

The 1962 Topps is my favorite baseball set.

As for the Juice, I was watching the Naked Gun the other day, and my 11-year-old son had no idea who the actor playing Officer Nordberg was or that he had was one of the best running backs of all time.

Or that he took a dramatic fall from grace in 1994.

Doggy video!

Happy guy. 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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