Tuesday newsletter time: The clock is ticking on Rangers’ remaining roster decisions
(AP photo/Charlie Riedel)
The Rangers’ last off day of spring training has arrived, though they will also be off Sunday after returning from Arizona and March 29 before the season opener.
And March 31 after the Opening Day.
Golf balls will be in the air today, though some players might choose to spend time packing for Arlington.
Club officials and coaches will be mulling what to do with the final roster spots, between packing or playing golf or whatever it is they do when they don’t have to be at the Surprise Recreation Complex.
Manager Bruce Bochy reinforced some of what to expect in the coming days when he sat down Monday for his daily media session.
The Rangers are in win mode and are going to take the players who best fill their needs. Right now, that’s multi-inning relievers, in light of the Jake Odorizzi, Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi injuries/innings shortfalls, and center fielders, in light of the Leody Taveras injury concerns.
That’s good news for Dane Dunning and Cole Ragans, who have pitched well enough to be on the team. They are also part of the rotation depth, but Bochy said whoever ends up on the team will pitch enough to stay stretched out enough to make a spot start if needed.
Could Glenn Otto’s injury play a role in the decision? Yes, as the Rangers would be a depth piece down.
Josh Smith has played center field the past few days, which only further cements his spot on the roster. Bubba Thompson needs to make more contact, Bochy said, but has been playing a good center field in Taveras’ absence. Taveras could still end making the team, which could put a dent in someone’s immediate future.
Ian Kennedy is making a push for the bullpen, and Bochy likes having multiple veteran relievers. Kennedy, though, needs a 40-man spot, and that’s an issue.
Speaking of Ragans
The left-hander received some love from Baseball America, landing in the publication’s listing of 25 players who have impressed this spring.
The scout BA spoke to said that Ragans was the best pitcher he had seen so far, with velocity readings up to 98 mph. Ragans had a clean delivery and was commanding the strike zone.
A word about the 98: It’s real. He was there two starts ago, too. Pitchers say the Surprise Stadium radar gun runs 1-3 mph slower than the readings the Rangers give their pitchers. That could mean that the 100 mph deGrom hit Monday might have been, well, you can do the math.
The harder Ragans throws, the better his plus changeup will be. But none of it will matter if he’s not in the strike zone, which he learned during his first two months in the majors and worked over the offseason to fix.
Rangers Today reminders
Round 3 of the Rangers Today three-round spring-training bout begins today, an off day. Perfect timing. The day will be a full one. Trust me.
The final week of camp is always filled with news. The Rangers haven’t set their roster or named their Opening Day starter. Those decisions are due soon.
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