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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers pitchers learning that PFPs are no longer a breeze

(Texas Rangers/Ben Ludeman)

 

 

SURPRISE, Ariz. — A chilly, windy day and a wet field from some early-morning rains Wednesday gave Rangers pitchers a reprieve.

All the pitchers fielding practice they have been doing has left them sweatier and breathing heavier than in past camps.

“I haven’t had to do this many PFPs in a long time,” right-hander Nathan Eovaldi said.

He wasn’t complaining. He understands why it’s being done. Rangers coaches are intent on improving mound defense, which has been seriously lacking the past few seasons. Maybe that’s because the Rangers have had a younger pitching staff or maybe it’s because fundamentals weren’t stressed enough during the rushed 2022 spring camp.

“You have to set the foundation. You have to set the fundamentals,” Eovaldi said. “There is going to come time, especially now that the shift is gone, that we have to be more athletes on the mound. But if the hit a in the infield, it has to be an out.”

Pitching coach Mike Maddux has had the Rangers practicing all kinds of situations, including backing up different bases and covering home on wild pitches. All the running might be welcome by some, but the drills are also allowing pitchers to do some conditioning on the field rather than in a gym.

Maddux brought his kid brother, 18-time Gold Glove winner Greg Maddux, to camp, and pitchers have been listening to his tips and asking him questions about fielding. Much of it has to do with communication.

But the pitchers are getting the message that coaches are demanding more from their fielding.

“A lot of times you go out there and you’re doing PFPs, and it’s nice, easy ones,” Eovaldi said. “You’re not really going to get those in games. This camp they’re crushing the ball back to us. There’s intent behind it.”

Frisco promotions announced

A talented, deep roster will be at Double A Frisco this season, and, as always, Chuck Greenberg and crew have come up with a talented, deep promotion schedule.

The calendar is highlighted by two nights in July. Leslie David Baker, better known as Stanley from The Office will be at Riders Field on July 21 for Pretzel Day. There will be a World’s Best Ballpark mug giveaway, and a chance for $50 do do a pregame meet-and-greet with Baker.

Yellowstone Night follows two days later. There will be a Yellowstone/RoughRiders belt buckle giveaway. Actor Denim Richards, who plays Colby Mayfield on the show, will make a guest appearance, and a meet-and-greet is available for $50.

This season is the 20th anniversary season for the RoughRiders, and each Sunday home game will feature a throwback to seasons past. The 20th Anniversary Weekend is Sept. 1-3 and will feature appearances by former Frisco players Chris Davis, Tanner Scheppers and Scott Feldman. Others could be added. The weekend will also included a Chris Young-Josh Jung combo bobblehead giveaway.

Frisco will continue its Thirsty Thursdays, Fireworks Fridays, Kids Run the Bases Saturdays and Kids Sunday Fundays. There are several more, and they can all be found here.

ICYMI …

Time flies when you’re having fun and attempting to do stuff you’ve never done. The dust looks like it’s starting to settle, but through it all Rangers Today has still been cranking (particularly on the YouTube channel). But don’t believe me. Check our latest content for yourself in case you missed it, and if you like something, it’s only $5.99 a month to subscribe.

Pitching first

Friday on the Farm: Cole Winn back to work

The Sunday Read: The benefit of a normal offseason, spring

Day 1 is unlikely any other

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast: Jack Leiter audio, video links

Doggy video!

I’m predicting the Giants as National League favorites based on this alone. 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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3 Comments

  1. Boo February 23, 2023

    Who’s behind the increase in the PFP drills? Mikey? Bochy? Greg?

    Reply
    1. deGrom Texas Ranger February 23, 2023

      Probably Chris Young – he is the man in charge, so he brought in all these guys, especially Mike and Greg Maddux, who used to actually Formerly be a Rangers’ staff member before

      Reply
    2. Jeff Wilson February 24, 2023

      The GM probably mentioned it, and Bochy and Mike ran with it. Pitchers don’t seem to care for it, so it must be working.

      Reply

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