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Thursday newsletter time: Yamamoto was very good, and so was Cody Bradford

(AP photo/Lindsey Wasson)

 

For those who haven’t heard, Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitched Wednesday at Surprise Stadium. It was a big deal, as the latest arrival from Japan made his U.S. debut.

The Dodgers right-hander pitched really well, too, allowing only an Evan Carter single in two scoreless innings. Twitter was on fire with clips of Yamamoto’s assortment of pitches.

He was opposed by Rangers left-hander Cody Bradford, who doesn’t throw nearly as hard, doesn’t have the same arsenal of power pitches and doesn’t have a 12-year, $325 million contract.

Bradford, though, did just fine.

The Aledo High and Baylor U product also tossed two scoreless innings on one hit. Unlike Yamamoto, Bradford doesn’t have a rotation spot locked up, so it’s important for him to be good from the get-go. He’s been better than the rest early on in camp.

β€œI just want to make the team first and let the coaches decide where to put us after that,” Bradford said. “Obviously, I’ve been a starter for my whole career, so that’s kind of my excitement going into camp. I see that opportunity, and I want to do the best I can to help the team fill that role.”

Bradford was with the Rangers in the postseason, pitching some big innings out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Orioles. With the Rangers needing someone who can handle multiple innings in the bullpen, Bradford would seem to have a spot on the Opening Day roster if he doesn’t make the rotation.

He continues to work on his fastball command and hopes to be able to tunnel a curveball off of the heater. His best pitch is a changeup.

Danny Duffy, Jose Urena and the four minor-league starters want the fifth spot, too. The Rangers also need rotation depth, so the rotation at Triple A Round Rock could be fairly prospect-heavy.

Sad news

Longtime Rangers coach Hector Ortiz passed away Wednesday morning in Phoenix at the age of 54 after a four-year battle with cancer. He leaves behind a wife, three children and a deep roster of players he helped either in the minor leagues or in the majors.

Ortiz coached catchers after a career that included stops with the Royals and Rangers. Among his pupils was Robinson Chirinos, who paid tribute to Ortiz on Twitter.

The Rangers said that they will honor Ortiz with a moment of silence before today’s game against the Brewers. Third-base coach Tony Beasley, a cancer survivor, said that he had been visiting Ortiz daily after workouts at the Mayo Clinic.

Springing to action

The Rangers announced that four spring games will air on TXA/Channel 21, bringing the total of spring training TV games to eight. Four will be shown on Bally Sports Southwest.

The first TXA broadcast is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. March 12 vs. the Guardians and will be followed on March 19 (3:05 p.m. vs. A’s), March 22 (3:05 p.m. vs. Rockies) and March 26 (1:05 p.m. vs Red Sox at Globe Life Field).

With the Rangers headed to TV free agency after the season, they are considering all avenues for delivering their games to viewers and this might be an experiment toward that end. TXA can reach more than 3 million households in the Metroplex.

ICYMI …

Less than a week remains until Rangers Today returns to spring training, this time with John Moore. We’re missing out some friends who are there this week and offering to buy beer. We’ll have to do a better job next year coordinating our trips. Even though we’re in Texas, the work continues on the website and the podcast. Up next is Colby Lewis. For all you newcomers to the newsletter, here’s our latest content, in case you missed it.

Roster project 1.0: Where’s Wyatt?

The Sunday Read: Peas and carrots

Revisiting T.R.’s Memoirs on spring training

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast YouTube channel

Doggy video!

Man, he really wanted that stick … uh, branch. 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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