Fantasy Now: Prince Fielder

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
4:19
PM CT


video

Should you expect a bounce-back season from Prince Fielder in 2015?

Fantasy Now: Yu Darvish

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
4:18
PM CT


video

After an injury-shortened 2014 season, will Yu Darvish return to form this season?

Rangers sign Odor, Profar to one-year deals

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
3:07
PM CT
The Texas Rangers announced Friday that 16 players have agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2015 season.

The 16 players are pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla, Alexander Claudio, Jon Edwards, Jerad Eickhoff, Spencer Patton, Anthony Ranuado and Nick Tepesch; catchers Jorge Alfaro and Tomas Telis; infielders Hanser Alberto, Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar; and outfielders Michael Choice, Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua and Jake Smolinski.

The club now has 34 of the 41 players on the major league roster under contract for 2015.

Texas will open Cactus League play on March 4 against the Kansas City Royals at 1:05 p.m. MT at Surprise Stadium.

Banister's message: 'Why not us?'

February, 26, 2015
Feb 26
10:00
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- New Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister finally got to address the entire team Thursday, more than four months after getting the job.

In a meeting before the first full-squad workout, Banister had a simple message.

"Why not us?" Banister asked the team.

The Rangers had an American League-high 95 losses last season, their most since 1985. But Banister said that is in the past.

Banister said everybody had the opportunity to reflect on that and understand what happened. He said it is now time to focus on this season, and working to be a playoff contender again.

"It's been the message from the very beginning," he said. "When I had the opportunity to interview, I watched a group of men that really truly ... they got punched in the mouth, but they're significant players. Good players. Great players."

With all the injuries last year, including losing slugger Prince Fielder and ace pitcher Yu Darvish for significant portions of the season, the Rangers hope last year was more of an anomaly.

During the nearly 30-minute meeting, Banister showed a video of highlights from last season.

"They've been told all last year and all winter what they didn't do, how bad they were and that, quite frankly, they just stunk," Banister said. "I'm watching video and I'm going, 'No, this is a good ballclub.' ... There were really good things that did happen. I wanted to show them that, reinforce that, so they can believe that they are a really good ballclub again."

In each of the four seasons before 2014, the Rangers won at least 90 games. They went to consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011, the only AL pennants in franchise history, then lost the first AL wild-card game in 2012 before losing in a 163rd-game wild-card tiebreaker in 2013.

Banister, who spent the last 29 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a player and coach, was picked by the Rangers last October over two other finalists, former Rangers bench coach Tim Bogar and former Cleveland Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash.

Bogar, who was 14-8 as interim manager after Ron Washington's sudden resignation for personal reasons last Sept. 5, is now with the AL West-rival Los Angeles Angels as a special assistant to general manager Jerry Dipoto. Cash became manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.

When the Rangers had their first full-squad workout, there were 64 players on the spring training roster. Along with the full 40-man roster, there were 23 non-roster invitees along with second baseman Jurickson Profar on the 60-day disabled list after shoulder surgery this week.

"I think we have a really nice mix of young athletic players with grizzled veteran players, and they all seem to share the same desire and the same wants," Banister said. "We've got to be able to match up our want-to with our know-how. And why not us?"

Yu Darvish sharp against hitters

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
8:34
PM CT

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish faced hitters for the first time since last August, throwing 30 pitches against teammates during batting practice Wednesday.

Darvish missed the final seven weeks last season because of right elbow inflammation.

"I was able to do some things I'd worked on in the bullpen," Darvish said through a translator. "My command was very good and there was power on the ball, but the batters were pretty much just standing in the batter's box, so it was hard to judge."

Darvish had already had two bullpen sessions in Arizona before throwing to Delino DeShields Jr., Thomas Field and Ed Lucas.

"I thought he was very sharp -- guys couldn't square up the ball," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "One thing about Yu, he doesn't overthrow. He was very consistent. Mission accomplished."

Darvish went 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA last season, his third with the Rangers since coming over from Japan. He is 39-25 with a 3.27 ERA in 83 major league starts, and led the American League with 277 strikeouts in 2013.

The right-hander was sidelined because of inflammation after his start Aug. 9 at Houston, when Darvish allowed six runs on nine hits and four walks in four innings. He didn't pitch after that with the Rangers, who had an AL-worst 95 losses last season.

"I am concentrating on my form and what I want to work on," Darvish said. "Since there are batters standing in the batter's box, all I wanted to do is what I had been doing in my two previous bullpens."


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Jurickson Profar has labrum surgery

February, 23, 2015
Feb 23
5:59
PM CT

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar has undergone shoulder surgery and is expected to miss his second season in a row.

Team physician Dr. Keith Meister repaired a labrum tear in Profar's right shoulder Monday in Texas.

According to the team, Meister reported that surgery went well and nothing else needed to be surgically repaired in the shoulder.

After missing last season because of his shoulder, Profar had started throwing while getting an MRI every three weeks. The 22-year-old infielder was throwing at 105 feet, the same distance before a previous setback last September, when an MRI last week revealed the same muscle strain.

Once the team's top prospect, Profar was 19 when he homered in his first major league at-bat in 2012.


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Rangers extend Beltre through '16

February, 23, 2015
Feb 23
2:35
PM CT
[+] EnlargeAdrian Beltre
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre batted .324 with 19 home runs and 77 RBIs in 2014 despite injuries depleting the Rangers' lineup of protection.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers announced Monday that they have extended the contract of third baseman Adrian Beltre through the 2016 season.

The extension is an amendment of the original contract Beltre signed on Jan. 5, 2011. In that deal, the first five years and $80 million were guaranteed with an option in 2016 that could have paid Beltre $16 million if he hit specific incentives in plate appearances last year and/or in 2015.

"It was an easy [process]," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It wasn't really a negotiation. We wanted to pick it up and he wanted to be here and it got done."

Under the amendment announced Monday, Beltre is guaranteed $16 million this year and $18 million in 2016, The Associated Press reported.

Texas could have voided the final year if Beltre failed to reach the incentives, but when Beltre arrived a few days early for camp on Sunday, general manager Jon Daniels said he didn't intend on letting the issue, which was a hot topic in camp, go that far.

"We would like Adrian to finish his career as a Ranger," Daniels said.


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Adrian Beltre Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesThe Texas Rangers are likely to pick up the 2016 option for third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Adrian Beltre is at the heart of the Rangers, writes Gerry Fraley.

From his story:
The Rangers want him to stay a while. At least two years.

General manager Jon Daniels indicated the club could soon pick up an option on Beltre for 2016, at a salary of $16 million. Beltre could guarantee the option with 586 plate appearances this year, but Daniels hopes by acting now to avoid creating a subplot that would hang over the club all season.

“We’ll address that relatively soon,” Daniels said. “We don’t want that to be a distraction nor even a story as we go through the year.”


The Rangers’ 2014 season disintegrated quickly in an avalanche of injuries, from Derek Holland to Yu Darvish to Prince Fielder to Shin-Soo Choo, and it made sense for them to at least consider some trades of players not tethered to their future. For example, they spoke with other teams during the summer about Alex Rios, who became eligible for free agency last fall.

But when I’d ask various sources about the possibility of Beltre being marketed, I’d be shooed away from the idea. The Rangers view Beltre as a legacy player, an all-time great third baseman who could finish his career with Texas and perhaps have the Rangers’ cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Sore shoulder sidelines Kirkman

February, 22, 2015
Feb 22
3:03
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers President of Baseball Operations/General Manager Jon Daniels announced Sunday that left-hander Michael Kirkman could miss up to a week with soreness in the back of his shoulder.

"It's not considered serious," Daniels said.

Kirkman said he reported the sorness after he was unable to get loose for his throwing session.

The 28-year-old is a non-roster invitee to camp after signing a minor league deal with the team in December when he ran out of options and became a free agent. Kirkman was brought into spring training with a chance to make the Rangers roster as a reliever.

"To make the club, it would be best for him to be out there and performing," Daniels said. "But we are early enough where if that's all it is, it's better to nip it in the bud now and give him a chance to compete."

In 36 games for Triple-A Round Rock, Kirkman went 5-5 with a 4.47 ERA. After getting called up to the Rangers, he pitched in 12 games, going 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA.

Adrian Beltre's contract hot topic

February, 22, 2015
Feb 22
2:24
PM CT

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre arrived a few days early for Texas Rangers camp on Sunday and one of the topics discussed was his contract and its sixth-year option for the 2016 season.

Beltre signed a contract in January 2011 that guaranteed him $80 million over five years and could be worth $96 million over six.

The Rangers can void the final season if the slugger fails to have either 1,200 plate appearances in 2014 and 2015 combined, or 600 in 2015. He had 614 plate appearances in 2014, so the key number regarding the option is his total for the upcoming season.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he didn't intend to let the issue go that far.

"We'll address that relatively soon," Daniels said Sunday. "Our intent is for [plate appearances] to not be a factor. I don't want that to be a distraction or even a story going into the year."

Daniels said the team picking up the option sooner than later is a possibility and didn't balk at the thought of an extension when it was brought up.

"We would like Adrian to finish his career as a Ranger," Daniels said.

Beltre didn't hesitate to say he would like to remain with the Rangers, as long as the team doesn't decide to undergo a change in philosophy. The club is coming off a 67-95 season, the worst in the American League.

"Obviously, the main focus for me my last few years, or whatever I have left, is to win," said Beltre, who turns 36 in April. "If this team shows they're going to win while I'm here, then obviously I don't want to go anywhere else. If they go another way, then I don't think I have time to waste. I want to win a World Series and I want to be on a team thinking like that."


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Day 1 of Rangers camp: Quick, efficient, effective

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
4:56
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Anytime a new leader is put in place, there are bound to be changes. Those changes were apparent Saturday on the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers under new Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister.

After a 75-minute session, which ended before noon, we learned Banister likes to run an efficient workout while completing the tasks at hand in as little time as possible.

Pitchers were divided into groups and rotated between four fields for different drills. The pitchers were also divided into two categories -- throwers and non-throwers. Guys who did not throw today either threw Thursday or Friday.

Also, there was no live batting practice. Instead, a group of pitchers simultaneously threw an average of 35 pitches to their own catcher at their own pace.

The quicker process was met with a positive response, especially given the beautiful near-80-degree, sunny day in Surprise.

“Sometimes change is good, and I really enjoyed it. It was new to me,” pitching coach Mike Maddux said. “I’ve only done it one way, but it was pretty neat, and I liked how we were able to condense everybody’s days.

“I think the guys appreciated that they were in and out. It was short and sweet. I thought it was a pretty good program.”

Day 2 of workouts for pitchers and catchers is scheduled for Sunday morning. The first full squad workout is next Thursday.

Yu Darvish looks strong in first workout

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
4:04
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitching coach Mike Maddux only needed one word to answer if Yu Darvish had any problems with his elbow following the Texas Rangers ace's 35-pitch session Saturday during the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

“Zero,” Maddux said.

That one word carries a lot of weight and should also lift any concern of lingering effects from the mild elbow inflammation that sent Darvish to the disables list last August before he was later shut down for the season as a precaution.

“I thought Yu threw very well. I liked what I saw,” Maddux said. “The ball was coming out clean. His command was good. The spin was good. He’s ahead of the field a little bit.”

Maddux kept tabs on Darvish, who has been throwing for a month, so he knew the Rangers ace was in good form entering camp. Despite that knowledge, Maddux admitted he was still curious and eager to see Darvish when he took the hill Saturday at Surprise Recreation Campus.

“Those are both good words,” Maddux said. “I was looking forward to seeing him throw.

A healthy Darvish is vital for the Rangers if they are to rebound from their injury-riddled 67-win season in 2014, and all early indications are that is the case.

Darvish finished 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings last season.

Banister excited to get to work with Rangers

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
1:29
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Even though it's been four months since the Texas Rangers announced Jeff Banister as their new manager, Saturday can be viewed as his first "real" day on the job.

Banister donned the Rangers uniform for the first time, as he walked the fields at Surprise Recreation Campus for the first official workouts of his pitchers and catchers. It's a moment the first time MLB manager has anticipated since his hiring in October.

"For the first time, I get to see these guys in uniform and see them do baseball activity," Banister said. "Short of getting married and having two kids, this is probably the most exciting day of my life."

Saturday also marked the first time the Rangers could show their wares in front of their new boss. While the temptation is there to want to make a good first impression, especially by those who aren't guaranteed a roster spot or have a defined role, Banister said he told the team not to think that way.

"On Day 1, my message to them was to go at the pace that they know they need to go at," Banister said. "It's easy to be overamped and excited on day 1. This is an exciting day, but having the ability to temper your actions and stay in control of your effort is of paramount importance.

"It's not about evaluation of their skill or how they perform but where they are physically," he continued. "No one makes the club on Day 1, but you sure can knock yourself out if you get hurt."

Banister spent 29 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, including the last five as their bench coach. He also served as their minor league field coordinator for eight years during his career.

Rangers' Holland happy to be back at camp

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
11:31
AM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland stood in front of his locker inside the Texas Rangers clubhouse on Saturday morning with a huge smile on his face while displaying the light-hearted attitude that he is known for.

It was the complete opposite of what the Rangers left-hander experienced at this time last year when he was a month removed from a freak knee injury that ended up costing him spring training and nearly all of the 2014 season.

"Last year, I was home and I was closest to my all-time low," Holland said. "I was very depressed because the injury had happened and I couldn't be here with my teammates. It was a tough time for me."

Holland made his return late in the season and was excellent in five starts, finishing 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA while allowing just six earned runs in 37 innings with 25 strikeouts. His performance not only erased any doubt about Holland returning to form following the injury, but also reinforced the notion that the left-hander was on the cusp of taking his career to the next level.

"I know it pained him to not be able to help when the team was struggling," GM Jon Daniels said. "You saw when he came back that he was motivated for a lot of reasons, including he had a chance to be a little bit of good news for us during a tough season."

There was some question about whether Holland would pitch at all last season, as the benefits of him throwing for a team out of contention were weighed against the perceived benefit of extra rest.

Given how Holland threw, the decision to let him pitch proved a wise one, not only to build confidence about his recovery, but also to show the Rangers that Holland is ready to be one o the anchors on an improved starting rotation.

"We know we have some questions," Daniels said about his team entering the 2015 season. "Hopefully he (Holland) answered one of them by showing he could pitch at such a high level.

"But what's fair is fair. He worked hard to get back, and once he was medically cleared to return there was no reason to take that away from him."

With camp underway, Holland is energized to get back on the mound after a strong finish in 2014 despite the small sample size.

"I've been working my butt off all offseason to get back out there and continue what I had at the end of last season. I didn't sleep that well last night because I was so excited to be out here and ready to go."

Daniels 'not totally surprised' Profar needs surgery

February, 20, 2015
Feb 20
7:13
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Thursday's announcement that an MRI exam showed Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar would need surgery after all to repair his long-lingering and recurring shoulder injury was met with surprise by many.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, while hopeful of a full recovery for Profar that didn't require going under the knife, wasn't among them, citing the challenges his young infielder faced during the rehab process.

"We got out to the point, 105 feet, where [Profar's shoulder] failed on him previously," Daniels said, referring to the throwing distance that has served as a stumbling block. "So it's not a total surprise. That was a key moment we were hoping for him to get through. Unfortunately his shoulder didn't cooperate, so we'll get him fixed and get him back. It's just going to take longer than any of us wanted."

Since the announcement, Profar has faced a lot of criticism about his decision to forgo surgery when it was discussed in September. His goal was to try to heal the injury through rehab, knowing surgery would probably mean another lost season.

Now that the worst-case scenario is playing out -- Profar will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2015 season -- Rangers fans, who are eager to see the former top-rated MLB prospect play regularly, have taken to social media to voice their frustrations directly to Profar.

"I don't think it's fair," Daniels said of the criticism. "He wants to play and worked his butt off. He didn't go home this winter to see his family. He stayed here and did a tremendous job. We saw a lot of results, but he's hurt, so I don't think it's fair to criticize him.

"In a lot of ways, I think it was a harder call to make. He put the work in, it just hasn't worked out. Fortunately, he's still just 22 years old. We'll get him back and we'll get him out there."

The emergence of rookie Rougned Odor last season softens the blow of Profar's absence, as the 20-year-old proved capable both in the field and at the plate, even though his MLB arrival came sooner than anticipated.

Due at least in part to Odor's play at second base, it was thought that once Profar was healthy, he would play with Triple-A Round Rock in 2015 for more seasoning. Instead, the Rangers must wait until Monday to learn about the severity of the injury, recovery time, and whether the opinions of the doomsayers who fear the much-hyped Profar may never return to the field are warranted.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182