Royals come to town as contenders

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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The last time the Kansas City Royals reached the postseason they won the World Series. That was back in 1985.

The Royals have been rebuilding ever since and just ended a nine-year stretch of sub-.500 seasons with a 86-76 record last season. They head to Arlington this weekend leading the AL Central.

But the Royals, with all their young talent, are not without problems.

ESPN's Jayson Stark discussed some of the Royals' issues as contenders in the AL in a recent piece, including a lack of power in their lineup.

"But the bad news is, the Royals are still on pace to hit a mere 99.8 home runs this season," Stark writes. "So maybe they finish with 100 homers. Maybe they don't. But if they don't, you should know that playoff teams that fail to hit 100 home runs are almost as rare as a day without a Kardashian headline."

There were rumors the Royals had interest in Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, but Rios' power numbers aren't exactly earth-shattering. He has just four home run son the season and is currently nursing a sprained ankle. He has a no-trade clause to six teams -- the Royals are one of those teams -- but he's said he's open to waiving that clause depending on the situation.

Rangers' officials believe things will improve next season when some of their young talent matures and some veteran players recover from injuries. GM Jon Daniels is determined to also improve the team in free agency, and ownership is committed to Daniels' plan.

So while the Rangers struggle this season, the resurgence of the Royals is alive and well, something that hasn't happened in a long time.

Reliever Neal Cotts claimed off waivers

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
12:30
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Texas Rangers reliever Neal Cotts has been claimed off revocable waivers, according to a source. The organization has until Friday to work out a trade with the claiming team or pull Cotts off waivers.

(UPDATE: The Rangers couldn’t work out a deal, so they pulled Cotts back, meaning he can no longer be traded.)

The Rangers have sent Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios through waivers in the last few weeks. But the team has no intention of trading some of its high-priced talent such as Darvish because of the value he has to the franchise.

However, GM Jon Daniels is doing his due diligence analyzing the market for his players. Daniels said he's open to trading players entering the final year of their contracts, which is the case with Rios and Cotts. The team has an $13.5 million option on Rios and expressed interest in him returning.

Cotts becomes a free agent once the season ends, and the organization has expressed interest in bringing him back in 2015 even if he's traded to another team.

After being charged with a blown save August 8 against the Astros, Cotts hasn't allowed a run in his last 3 2/3 innings of work. He's allowed two hits and one while striking out two over that span.

Cotts has become one of manager Ron Washington's more reliable relievers, but with the club utilizing younger pitchers, the 34-year-old Cotts has become expendable at this stage of the season. It might be a different story had the Rangers been in contention.

Wash to manage All-Star team in Japan

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
11:55
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Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington will manage a team of MLB All-Stars in a five-game series against Samurai Japan, Japan's National Team, beginning Nov. 11.

Games will be played in Osaka, Tokyo and Sapporo, with exhibition games in Osaka and Okinawa.

Among the major leaguers who will participate are Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig and Albert Pujols.

This is the 11th All-Star Series and the 36th time overall that a team of major leaguers has toured Japan for exhibition games. The current format started in 2006, with the U.S. going 5-0 against Japan's National Team.

The series ends Nov. 20

Martinez, Rangers top Marlins, 5-4

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
2:46
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video

MIAMI -- Nick Martinez allowed two runs over six innings in his homecoming, Alex Rios drove in two runs and the Texas Rangers roughed up Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi early on the way to a 5-4 win over the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.

Leonys Martin had three hits for Texas, which grabbed a 5-0 lead after two innings.

Martinez (3-9) allowed six hits and threw 62 of his 96 pitches for strikes. He was born in nearby Hialeah and pitched at Belen Jesuit Prep, about 12 miles from Marlins Park.

Miami rallied in the ninth with solo homers by Marcell Ozuna and pinch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia, both off Neftali Feliz. And with the tying run on first, Feliz closed out his fifth save in six chances by striking out Donovan Solano to end the game.

Eovaldi (6-8) gave up nine hits and five runs, four earned, in five innings.


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Stanton single in 10th sends Marlins over Rangers

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
10:26
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MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning and the Miami Marlins beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 Tuesday night for their third straight win.

Miami (63-62) surpassed last year's total of 62. The Marlins moved over .500 for the first time since June 20.

Jeff Baker reached with one out in the 10th on first baseman Mike Carp's error. Donovan Solano's infield single with two outs moved Baker to second.

Neftali Feliz relieved Neal Cotts (2-7) to face Stanton, who singled to right field.

Sam Dyson (2-0) struck out the side in the 10th.


(Read full post)


These are very key times for Yu Darvish

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
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This is a critical week for the Rangers in terms of where they stand with ace Yu Darvish. At some point he should throw a bullpen session.

It doesn’t have to occur today or tomorrow, but he needs to throw sometime. Darvish wasn’t expected to make the two-game road trip to Miami, where the Texas Rangers face the Miami Marlins. If anything, Darvish isn’t needed now.

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He's needed next week and there’s an expectation Darvish will pitch at Seattle on Aug. 25, the day he comes off the 15-day disabled list due to inflammation with his right elbow.

This is mild inflammation and the Rangers don’t want to push Darvish into something that would hurt him in the long term. Darvish needs to show the club he can pitch through some discomfort, especially if games are meaningful.

Now you could say the Rangers aren’t involved in meaningful games. But people inside the organization would disagree, because there is Adrian Beltre playing hard every day minus a day off in a lost season.

You see Elvis Andrus walking around the clubhouse with ice on his back. Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo are playing through ankle sprains when it’s clear they need rest. Rios is even getting treatment for a minor hand injury, too.

“We’re in a race to win ballgames,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said last week. “I expect Darvish to pitch on the 25th. Why wouldn’t he? So he’s got inflammation. I’ve got inflammation.”

(Read full post)

W2W4: Rangers at Marlins

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
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The Texas Rangers have a brief stay in South Beach and face the Miami Marlins in a two-game series starting Tuesday night.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Marlins? The Marlins (62-62) have won their last two games and seven of 10. They have beaten the Rangers just twice in the last nine meetings in Miami. The Marlins are a solid team in one-run games with a 31-18 mark, best in the big leagues and 10-2 in such contests since the All-Star break. Former Ranger Jarrod Saltalamacchia has reached base in 20 of the last 23 games. Giancarlo Stanton has 14 homers that have tied or given the Marlins the lead this season. Casey McGehee has 60 RBIs and 45 runs scored and Marcell Ozuna produced 16 home runs and 62 RBIs.

What’s up with the Rangers? They finished their homestand 2-5 with both victories coming by walk-offs courtesy of Adam Rosales. The Rangers are 6-9 against the NL this season. Alex Rios is hitting .284 on the season but still has just four home runs. Elvis Andrus is hitting .272 on the season but his OBP is just .322, the lowest in a career averaging .337. Adrian Beltre is 4-for-6 with two home runs against Tuesday’s starter Jarred Cosart. Shin-Soo Choo is 1-for-6 with five strikeouts against him.

Martin is on a tear: Center fielder Leonys Martin is 10-for-21 in the last six games and hit .417 in the just completed homestand. The Rangers wanted him to be selective early in the count and he’s done that. Now he just has to convince manager Ron Washington to let him start against left-handed pitchers. Martin is hitting just .198 against them. He won't face one in South Beach.

The matchups: Tuesday: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-5, 7.71 ERA) vs. RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1, 2.92 with Miami, 10-8, 4.27 overall). Wednesday: RHP Nick Martinez (2-9, 5.27) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-7, 3.96). Mikolas and Martinez have South Florida ties each being from the area.

Yu Darvish clears waivers

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
11:27
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[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesYu Darvish, who is on the DL with right elbow inflammation, is 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA this season for the Rangers.

Staff ace Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers cleared waivers on Monday, according to a source.

The Rangers can now trade any of these players and considering their huge contracts an opposing team would have to take a substantial amount of the remaining years of the contract to make a deal happen.

The Rangers are 48-76 this season.

Team officials don't comment on players clearing waivers, however, the moves are interesting with the Rangers looking for high-quality prospects.

Two weeks ago, the team was able to get starting right fielder Alex Rios through waivers, but he has yet to be traded.

Reliever Neal Cotts, another player who could be sent through waivers, has interest from several teams.


(Read full post)


Rangers release Pena from Triple-A

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
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The Rangers released first baseman Carlos Pena from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday.

Pena was originally signed to a minor-league deal this summer before he was called up to the Rangers.

In 18 games, Pena hit .136 in 63 plate appearances for the Rangers before he was designated for assignment.

At Round Rock, Pena hit .297 with four homers in 20 games.

Stock Report: Bullpen up, Darvish down

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
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The Rangers had an eventful week with two walk-off victories and they avoided getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels.

STOCK UP

Streaking
Bullpen: Relievers Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz worked two scoreless innings in Sunday's victory over the Angels. In the three game series against the Angles, the Rangers bullpen gave up just one run over eight innings and has a 0.40 ERA over the last six games.

Leonys Martin: The starting center fielder is surging. After an 0-for-12 stretch, Martin went 10-for-21 the last six games. In the just completed seven-game homestand, Martin hit .417 and picked up his first career four-hit game Tuesday against Tampa Bay. While he's not hitting against left-handed starters, Martin is improving.

Adam Rosales: A nice week for the backup first baseman as he helped the Rangers to two walk-off wins. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 14th inning in a win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday and he got a single in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Angels on Sunday. Rosales reached base three times Sunday.

STOCK DOWN

Slumping
Yu Darvish: The ace went on the disabled list with mild inflammation in his right elbow Wednesday. Darvish could have pitched through the discomfort but doesn't want to risk his future. The Rangers don't have plans to shut down his season but are monitoring his progress. He is expected to return Aug. 25 at Seattle.

Alex Rios: He's playing through a sprained ankle and you wonder if that's bothering him at home plate. He's in a 1-for-21 spell with just two RBIs. He ended an 0-for-16 drought with a single Saturday night and his slash line, .285/.314/.401, should be much better considering what he's done in the past.

J.P. Arencibia: A tough stretch for the starting first baseman. He finished the homestand 1-for-13 and snapped an 0-for-19 stretch with an RBI single Saturday. He did the team a solid by pitching a scoreless ninth in relief Wednesday night. But his once-hot bat is now cold.

Joey Gallo tied for minor league HR lead

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
11:00
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Joey Gallo, one of the top prospects in the Rangers organization, maybe the No. 1 player depending on whom you speak with, hit his 40th home run Sunday night for Double-A Frisco.

Gallo's 40 homers in the minors this season tie him with Kris Bryant of Triple-A Iowa for the lead.

Gallo is the first minor leaguer with 40 home runs in consecutive seasons since Ron Kittle did it in 1981-1982.

Last season, Gallo hit 40 home runs with 88 RBIs for Class-A Hickory and in the Arizona rookie league.

In 115 minor league games this season, between Myrtle Beach (Class A) and Frisco, Gallo has 40 home runs and 98 RBIs.

It's doubtful that Gallo will be promoted to the big leagues anytime soon. Expect Rangers officials not to rush the talented left-handed hitting slugger and see what he can do in spring training in 2015.


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Considering where Texas Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch is in his young career, Sunday afternoon's outing against the Los Angeles Angels was a positive step in his development.

Tepesch didn't get the win, but he pitched until the eighth inning, allowing just two runs on six hits in 91 pitches. He left down 2-0 and frustrated that he started the eighth by walking Mike Trout.

The fact Tepesch is more relaxed now, something manager Ron Washington said is good in his development, gives the Rangers more confidence that they can depend on him the next two months of the season.

"I've got a better plan in what I want to do even before when I step up on the mound versus waiting to see the suggestions from the catcher," said Tepesch, who has allowed fewer than three runs in his past four outings. "Most of the time, we're right on the same page anyways, so it's not even thinking about."

Tepesch battled through major trouble in the second and fourth innings.

In the second, he allowed four consecutive hits, along with a groundout, to give up two runs. With runners at second and third and two outs, Tepesch retired Trout on a bouncer to third to end the inning.

(Read full post)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adam Rosales and Mike Carp hit RBI singles in the ninth inning off Angels closer Huston Street, rallying the Texas Rangers over Los Angeles 3-2 Sunday.

Texas had lost four in a row overall, and nine straight to the Angels. Los Angeles had won its last four games.

Rosales drove in the winning run for the second time in six days. His fly ball over the head of drawn-in left fielder Collin Cowgill was the Rangers' fourth straight hit off Street to begin the ninth.

Street (1-1) had saved the first two games of the three-game series. The blown save was his second in 35 opportunities with the Angels and Padres.

Street had not given up a run since being acquired from San Diego on July 18 until Carp's tying single.

Neftali Feliz (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth inning.


(Read full post)


Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Angels 2

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
5:17
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers avoided a sweep by displaying some rare magic in the ninth inning. Adam Rosales' RBI single drove in Adrian Beltre with the game-winning run in a 3-2 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon.

The Rangers win prevented a three-game sweep by the Angels and gave them their sixth walk-off win and second during this seven-game homestand.

Rosales has produced both walk-offs, he got the first one earlier this week when he drew a bases-loaded walk against Tampa Bay.

How it happened: The ninth-inning magic started when Alex Rios singled to left and continued when Adrian Beltre picked up a hit through the hole at short. Mike Carp's RBI single to center tied the game and gave Huston Street a blown save and ended his scoreless appearance streak at 12 since he was traded from San Diego.

With the infield in, Adam Rosales stroked a ball over the shallow outfield to win it.

While Rangers starter Nick Tepesch was getting his act together in the early innings, the Angels took advantage. Erick Aybar and David Freese reached on base hits and Efren Navarro drove in the first run with a single to right. Collin Cowgill bounced a shot up the middle and Tepesch knocked it down. Maybe he should have let the ball go through and allowed shortstop Elvis Andrus make a play on the ball. It kept things going and one out later, Kole Calhoun brought in the second run with a ground out to second.

The Rangers cut the deficit to 2-1 on Rougned Odor's RBI single to right, but Odor was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. The next best opportunity came in the seventh with a man on and two outs. Geovany Soto struck out looking on a fastball that nicked the corner from reliever Kevin Jepsen.

Bullpen work: One of the bright spots of late is the Rangers bullpen. In a critical eighth inning, Washington used it to keep the deficit at one. Following Mike Trout's leadoff walk that chased Tepesch, Washington inserted Shawn Tolleson. He allowed a double to Albert Pujols and intentionally walked Howie Kendrick to load the bases. With the infield in, Tolleson struck out Aybar and then David Freese. Washington called on lefty Neal Cotts to face Navarro, another left hander. He struck out Navarro on a slider in the dirt to end the inning. Coming into the game, the Rangers bullpen was 0.94 in the last seven games and hitters were batting just .213 in August, fifth lowest in the AL.

Odor’s chats: Odor has a promising career and will create a position battle with Jurickson Profar at second base in spring training next year. Until then, the Rangers will undergo some growing pains with the rookie. In the fifth inning, Odor’s RBI single cut the Angels deficit to 2-1. Odor was thrown out at second trying to stretch things to a double. It was a close play, one that prompted manager Ron Washington to challenge the play. The problem with Odor’s move was he should have stayed at first and he became the second out. The throw home was cut off by Pujols at first, who had the presence of mind to spin around and throw Odor out at second. When the inning was over, first base coach Bengie Molina met Odor at the top steps and had about a two-minute talk with him. Washington was next, who talked with Odor at the other end of the dugout.

What’s next?: Nothing. Well, the Rangers have an off day and will travel to Miami on Monday.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.322 17 64 64
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 64
RA. Beltre 64
OPSA. Beltre .876
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182