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Tuesday Newsletter time: ‘He might be Spider-Man.’ White dazzles with amazing catch in Rangers’ win

(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)

 

ARLINGTON — Eli White is capable of the spectacular, Rangers manager Chris Woodward frequently reminds the media, and has the motor of a Ferrari.

Getting that engine to hit on all cylinders more consistently is what the Rangers have been working on the past two seasons.

When it isn’t backfiring, White can do things no one else on the team can.

He showed that Monday night in the first inning.

White skied to make a dazzling catch, robbing Ji-man Choi of a three-run homer and paving the way as the Rangers beat Tampa Bay 9-5 in the opener of a four-game series.

The catch rates the best in the majors this season. White appeared to be upwards of three feet off the ground and his body was well over the wall in left-center field, right in front of the Rays’ bullpen, when he made the grab.

“He might be Spider-Man,” right-hander Glenn Otto said.

That sounds good to White.

“He’s my favorite superhero,” the former infielder said. “That was definitely the best play I’ve ever made. …

“It was kind of the play I’ve dreamed about making since I went out there.”

Leody Taveras made a homer-robbing catch in 2020 in the same area, but didn’t appear to leap quite a high. The best catch in Rangers history came in 2006 as Gary Matthews Jr. robbed Houston’s Mike Lamb of a three-run shot at Globe Life Park by planting his leg in the center-field wall and springboarding above the wall.

Just for good measure, White added a sliding catch to end the eighth inning.

Otto was the beneficiary of the spectacular play. He posted a zero in the first, and the Rangers responded with two runs in their half as Drew Rasmussen walked the first three batters and Kole Calhoun followed with a single that knocked in two.

White did some damage at the plate, going 3 for 4. He launched a two-run homer in the second after Josh Smith singled in his first career at-bat. Jonah Heim connected for a solo blast in the third for a 5-1 lead, and a White bunt single helped spark a three-run sixth.

Mitch Garver doubled in two of those runs as part of a 3- for-4 game. Calhoun finished with three RBIs.

White, though, was the star of this game.

“That play was one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Woodward said.

Smith’s debut

Five Rangers players had collected three hits in their MLB debut entering Monday. Smith made it six.

The infielder collected three singles, including one in his first career at-bat, and scored two runs. The last player to enjoy a three-hit debut was Nomar Mazara in 2015 at Anaheim, and his day included a home run.

“It was everything you dream of as a kid,” said Smith, one of four players acquired in the Joey Gallo trade. “That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing baseball.”

Smith said that he learned he was being promoted Sunday as Triple A Round Rock finished its series at Albuquerque. He felt comfortable stepping into the Rangers’ clubhouse after spending ample time in big-league spring training, where he made a striking first impression.

“That helped a lot,” Smith said. “The guys have treated me very well.”

Ezequiel Duran was also in big-league spring training and is on the 40-man roster. He is leading minor-league baseball in doubles and batting over .300 for Double A Frisco.

Woodward, though, said that Duran will have to play at Triple A before getting a chance at his MLB debut.

“It’s a good problem to have when you have really talented guys that you’re trying to choose from,” Woodward said. “I just think that Smith is a little more polished to be able to handle the big leagues right now.”

Otto good again

The only pitcher in the Gallo trade, Glenn Otto, made his seventh start of the season and posted his sixth start allowing two or few runs when he issued two (one earned) in six innings.

The other start? Eight runs in four innings, which is why his ERA is 4.33. Not that that’s awful.

Otto went six innings Monday for the second time this season, an indication that he has started to earn the trust of Woodward.

One sticking point from the outing might be the three walks he issued. He was a tad inefficient, using 99 pitches in six innings.

“I don’t know if I’ve put together a start yet where I’ve been hitting on all points,” Otto said. “I fell behind a lot of guys, but I was able to grind through it.”

The bottom line, though, is he left with a 9-2 lead. He did his job.

Matt Moore didn’t do his job, allowing all five batters he faced to reach in the seventh. Three of them scored.

Dennis Santana, though, put out the Rays’ rally.

Doggy video!

This is better than a high-five. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.

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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