Wednesday Newsletter time: Jon Gray recovers, Rangers play better, but skid continues
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Jon Gray returned from the injured list and was back on the mound Tuesday as the Texas Rangers opened a six-game road trip at Seattle, and for an inning it looked like maybe he should have stayed on the IL.
He struggled to throw strikes in the first inning, walking and hitting consecutive batters, before spinning a hanging slider to Eugenio Suarez. Suarez pounded it to center field for a three-run homer. Gray surrendered a solo shot to Jarred Kelenic in the second, and the Rangers were on their way to a 6-2 loss.
But Gray settled down, retiring 10 straight after the Kelenic homer and becoming the second Rangers starter to complete five innings. With the blister that led to the IL stint not an issue, Gray should be able to throw seven innings Sunday at Oakland.
“It was almost like I forgot how to hold my slider and throw it,” Gray told Bally Sports Southwest. “I made an adjustment and I was able to get more horizontal movement on it. But I had already put myself in a hole.”
It was a good start after the rough first inning, but it wasn’t good enough in a ballpark where the Rangers have struggled (2-16 the past two seasons) and where the home team is a postseason contender.
“We played a clean game,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Today was a step forward in a lot of ways. I know we lost and it sucks to lose, but we played a better game.”
To make room for Gray, the Rangers designated former All-Star closer Greg Holland for assignment. He had a 7.71 ERA in five appearances this season, and his DFA creates a spot on the 40-man roster.
That doesn’t necessarily mean a roster move is coming, but as the Rangers run through relievers there are multiple candidates in the minors who are not on the 40-man roster. Leading the way could be right-hander Jesus Tinoco, who has opened his season with five scoreless appearances at Triple A Round Rock.
He couldn’t hurt with the Rangers sitting at 2-8 and riding a four-game losing streak.
Days like the one the Rangers’ farm system enjoyed Tuesday don’t happen as often as one might think. The Rangers’ full-season affiliates had a perfect 4-0 day.
Round Rock beat Albuquerque 3-2 behind five solid innings by A.J. Alexy, who allowed one run and struck out seven. Sherten Apostel, who cleared waivers last week, hit his first homer of the season.
Double A Frisco edged Northwest Arkansas 4-3 as Ezequiel Duran, Blaine Crim, Dustin Harris and Justin Foscue knocked in a run apiece. Foscue was playing his first game of the season after opening the season on the injured list because of back stiffness.
High A Hickory started fast with a three-run first inning but needed two in the seventh to beat Wilmington 7-5. Evan Carter went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Finally, Low A Down East got home runs from Efreyner Narvaez and Marcus Smith in a 6-4 victory over Columbia in a battle of Wood Ducks and Fireflies.
New at Rangers Today
One of the most popular regular features at the Texas Rangers Newsletter was T.R.’s Memoirs. The good news is that they will continue to appear at Rangers Today.
T.R. Sullivan penned another that was published Tuesday, this time on Jeff Burroughs. The Rangers have had five players win an American League MVP Award, and Burroughs was the first in 1974. Juan Gonzalez (twice), Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez and Josh Hamilton joined him later — way later.
Be sure to check it out.
And don’t forget to watch our first in-studio episode of the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast, with Jon Daniels. Subscribe to the our YouTube channel, too. We’re inching closer to our goals in watch ours and subscribers, but need your help.
Thanks for your support.
Shame on the owner for not paying attention to this good dog. Enjoy. See you Thursday.
When dad has to go back in the store and pay for the toy he didn’t notice you grabbed and carried out..
🎥 @aguyandagolden pic.twitter.com/1UcNAjol2N
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) April 19, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Glad T.R.’s memoirs will be a regular feature. His articles have unlocked some great memories for me of the old Arlington Stadium and some of the forgotten old Rangers. I remember an opening day when Richie Zisk hit a homer for a win over the hated Yankees.
I think he’s enjoying it, too.