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Wednesday newsletter time: Star-studded ceremonial first pitch for Rangers’ season opener

(AP photo/Jim Cowsert)

 

 

ARLINGTON — Anyone who thought the star power the Rangers were bringing to the mound Thursday was limited to Jacob deGrom was sorely mistaken.

The ceremonial first pitch will feature a former U.S. president and Texas governor, the current governor, and members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Rangers celebrate the 200th anniversary of the other Texas Rangers.

George W. Bush and Greg Abbott will participate in the ceremony, with Nolan Ryan accompanying Lt. Reuben T. Mankin, a 21-year veteran of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Mankin, who is assigned to Company B in Hurst, will be representing the Texas Rangers.

Ivan Rodriguez will catch Mankin’s pitch.

The Emmy Award-winning Texas Tenors will perform the National Anthem before the game and God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch, and Rangers Today favorite Joel LaGrone will perform Texas, Our Texas to open pregame festivities.

If the weather cooperates and the roof is open, there will be flyover after the anthem.

There will be eight members of the Rangers Hall of Fame partaking in pregame festivities: Ryan, Rodriguez, Jim Sundberg, Toby Harrah, Tom Grieve, Jeff Russell, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler.

Watching it all from somewhere inside Globe Life Field will be MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

Parking lots open at 11 a.m. Gates to Globe Life Field open at noon.

Final tune-ups

Martin Perez declared himself ready for the regular season after allowing one run Wednesday afternoon in five innings against the Royals.

The left-hander allowed two hits and a walk while striking out five Royals. He expects to be able to give the Rangers 90-95 pitches Sunday night against the Phillies.

Jon Gray followed him by allowing two runs in four innings, and then stuck around after the game to face Rangers hitters in an effort to reach his pitch count. The two runs allowed by Gray, who struck out seven, were the first earned runs against him this spring.

The Rangers will work out this afternoon at Globe Life Field.

Manager Bruce Bochy said that the Rangers are closing in on the final roster decisions, but wasn’t sure if there would be any announcements today. The Rangers have until 11 a.m. Thursday to submit their Opening Day roster, and might wait that long to see if any upgrades hit the waiver wire or if an 11th-hour trade comes together.

Bochy confirmed that center fielder Leody Taveras will begin the season on the 10-day injured list. It appears as if utility players Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran have made the team, and the final bench spot could go to outfielder Travis Jankowski.

The bullpen also remains unsettled. Bochy said he plans to talk to closer candidates Jose Leclerc, Will Smith, Jonathan Hernandez, Brock Burke and Ian Kennedy today about roles. Kennedy has not made the team as of yet.

Update on ex-prospects

Outfielder Nomar Mazara and first baseman Ronald Guzman, who signed with the Rangers as 16-year-olds in 2011 for more than $8 million combined, did not make their teams’ Opening Day roster and their futures in baseball are as clouded as ever.

Mazara opted out of his minor-league deal with the Orioles after failing to make their club. He turns 28 next month. Mazara has failed to reach 200 at-bats in each of the three seasons since the Rangers traded him to the White Sox at the 2019 winter meetings.

Guzman was not released from his minor-league deal with the Giants because he is injured. Now attempting to be a pitcher, the left-hander was hitting 98 mph with his fastball and showed a wipeout slider before a pronator strain in his forearm that does not require surgery. He was struggling with his command, but he presents as an intriguing project.

I talked to them both for the first time in January 2014 in the Dominican Republic. They are good people. Here’s hoping for the best for them both.

 

Doggy video!

Wait for it. 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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1 Comment

  1. deGrom Texas Ranger March 29, 2023

    You have Bush already. Get Gore (MacKenzie Gore). Kinsler is quite fun too. The only person whose name would go hand in hand would be Ron DeSantis, who can possibly convince deGrom to spell his name DeGrom. He already lives in Florida and loves it.

    Reply

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