Tuesday newsletter time: A grand, shift-beating night for Rangers’ offense
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — The Royals didn’t violate the new rule banning infield shifts in the second inning Monday night, but they definitely tried to circumvent it with Jonah Heim at the plate.
The switch-hitter was batting left-handed. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino and second baseman Nicky Lopez were in their traditional alignment, but right fielder Nate Eaton could almost scratch Lopez’s back as played very shallow in an attempt to turn a grounder into an out at first.
So, Heim hit it over Eaton for a single.
In the fourth, Heim hit it over the fence.
The Royals continued to play Eaton in and presumably will station their right fielder there whenever Heim is in the lineup the rest of the three-game series. Heck, they did it during the two exhibition games here before the regular season.
Whatever, the catcher said.
“We knew about it,” Heim said. “We still just try to put the barrel on the ball and let things happen. We like it when a routine flyball turns into a base hit.”
Corey Seager and Adolis Garcia also hit home runs. Garcia hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run sixth inning as the Rangers won 11-2 and topped 10 runs for the third time this season.
They’ve also been shut out twice, so go figure.
The Rangers won for the second straight game with Bubba Thompson and Travis Jankowski in the lineup, and they produced again with three combined hits, three runs and three RBIs at the bottom of the lineup. They are playing well just as Leody Taveras nears coming off the IL.
“We just had great at-bats all night,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Josh Smith was at third base to give Josh Jung a day off.
Rocker gets going
Right-hander Kumar Rocker, the No. 3 overall choice by the Rangers in the 2022 MLB Draft, will make his first start of the season tonight for High A Hickory.
Rocker pitched last year in the Arizona Fall League and participated in big-league spring training, but the Rangers opted to start him at Hickory rather than at Double A Frisco. That decision, club officials have said, was not based on the speed bumps 2021 No. 2 overall pick Jack Leiter hit last year after debuting a Frisco.
Speaking of Frisco, an intriguing arm is scheduled for tonight. Right-hander Ryan Garcia will make his Double A debut as his comeback from injuries continues.
Garcia, the Rangers’ second-rounder in 2019, logged only 56 2/3 innings last season, but Low A and High A hitters didn’t have much of a chance. He posted a 1.91 ERA over 14 games/13 starts, and he impressed club officials this spring.
Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020 and dealt with multiple lat injuries in 2021.
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