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Thursday newsletter time: Corey Seager returns, helps Rangers KO old team

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Corey Seager hadn’t played in a week, and he couldn’t play Tuesday as the Dodgers welcomed him back with a video montage and a standing ovation.

He played Wednesday night, and Dodgers fans wish he hadn’t.

Seager delivered a three-run homer in the fifth inning, taking former teammate Walker Buehler out to right field, and the Rangers hung on for a 3-2 victory.

The game ended on a play at the plate, as center fielder Leody Taveras recovered from a bobbled ball, threw to second baseman Marcus Semien, who threw home in time for Jonah Heim to tag out Andy Pages.

“I saw great execution,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Once Leo bobbled it, I got a little nervous. That’s just a beautiful play with the game on the line.”

Seager’s home run was his team-leading 14th. It lifted the Rangers to a victory the night after they lost 15-2, but, right on cue, he downplayed his heroics.

“It’s nice to get back out there. You always want to be out there with your guys,” Seager said. “I got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on a ball and kind of got lucky. We’ll take it right now.”

The Rangers welcomed Jon Gray back to the starting rotation, and the right-hander allowed one run in three innings before being lifted at 65 pitches. Jacob Latz and Jose Leclerc followed with two scoreless innings apiece, and David Robertson followed with a scoreless eighth in which he struck out Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman.

Not bad.

Kirby Yates wasn’t as sharp as he has been, allowing a run and nearly allowing the tying run. He gets credit for the save, but Semien and Heim saved the Rangers on the game’s final play.

Seager was pretty big, too.

Burke back

Brock Burke is back with the Rangers.

The left-hander was reinstated from the 60-day injured list for a broken right hand, the result of punching a door April 12 at Houston. Grant Anderson, who allowed four home runs Tuesday night, was optioned to Triple A Round Rock.

The Rangers brought Burke back the first day he was eligible after a long rehab stint with Round Rock. There was no “punishing” Burke, say, by optioning him to Round Rock, for letting his temper get the best of him

He earned his reinstatement by pitching well at Round Roc, where he was throwing his fastball 98 mph and showing better command of his pitches. He told Rangers Today on June 1 that he has worked to slow down the game rather than feeling rushed to beat the pitch clock.

They have the pitch clock at Round Rock, too.

Burke will have to show something with his new opportunity. He took a step back last season after a breakthrough 2022 campaign and was really struggling when he lost the battle with a metal door at Minute Maid Park.

 

10 for Monty

Jordan Montgomery made his 10th start of the season Tuesday night for the Diamondbacks, and that’s potentially a big deal for the Rangers postseason hero.

The player option for 2025 in his contract vested for $20 million. The price tag climbs to $22.5 million at 18 starts and $25 million at 23.

It is an option, which means Montgomery can pass on it, become a free agent for the second straight offseason and attempt to cash in after failing to do so over the winter as he and agent Scott Boras held out for the nine-figure offer that never came.

The way Montgomery hugged it out with Bochy and general manager Chris Young last month when getting his World Series ring, it seems like there would be mutual interested in him returning.

Montgomery fired Boras shortly after signing with Arizona only days before the regular season started. Montgomery spent some time in the minors building up, debuting April 19 in what might rate as his best start of the season (six innings, one run).

His ERA is 6.58, and he has only 32 strikeouts in 52 innings.

Yeesh.

If Montgomery reaches 23 starts, that $25 million is going to be looking pretty good. If he reaches 23 starts and doesn’t show significant improvement, he might have a hard time beating $25 million in free agency.

Doggy video!

Just getting warmed up. Enjoy.

Watch today’s video here.

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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