Texas Rangers: 2012 All-Star Game

Ian Kinsler can't get Chipper Jones' grounder

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
9:33
AM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No, Ian Kinsler was not trying to let Chipper Jones get a hit in his final All-Star Game.

"I wish I could have [made a better play on the ball]," Kinsler said. "Both my hamstrings felt like they were going to explode and that I had lead in my feet. It worked out that it was Chipper Jones hitting it. Said and done it was pretty cool, but I would never just let a guy have a hit.

"It's cool that it worked out that way, no doubt, but there's not a lot of room to run underneath the dugout there, so I wasn't the freshest," Kinsler said.

For more on the story, click here.

Matt Harrison has fun despite rough inning

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
8:00
AM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For four pitches, it appeared Matt Harrison's All-Star debut was going to be a good one. He retired the first two batters he faced -- Pablo Sandoval and Dan Uggla -- and was hoping to get Rafael Furcal and get back to the dugout.

But Furcal hit what Harrison said was a good pitch (closer Joe Nathan agreed, saying it was down and on the black of the plate) for a triple to right field. Pinch hitter Matt Holliday then singled the other way to score Furcal. Then Harrison made a big mistake to Melky Cabrera.

"That pitch was right down the middle and he hit a homer," Harrison said.

Cabrera was named the MVP of the game.

Harrison was disappointed he didn't pitch better, but he was pleased to play in the All-Star Game.

"They got to me, but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything," Harrison said. "It was a great time and I will definitely cherish this moment for a long time.

"This is the All-Star Game. It was my first time here. I gave up a couple of runs, but that's just the way it goes."

ASG doesn't go as planned for Rangers, AL

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
1:24
AM CT


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Texas Rangers had hoped that with eight All-Stars on the AL squad -- and all of them understanding fully how important homefield advantage is in the World Series -- they could have a positive impact in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

It didn't work out that way.

Most of the Rangers weren't able to do much to help the AL, but even before any of them could hit or pitch in the game, the NL had built a sizeable lead.

Justin Verlander came out lighting up the radar gun, but couldn't darken the lower part of the strike zone. He gave up five runs on four hits in the first inning as his fastball, which hit 100 mph on the Kauffman Stadium radar gun at one point, was up too high.

Verlander said he understood that the game meant something.

"But we're here for the fans," Verlander said. "The fans don't want to see me throw 90 on the corners."

Instead, they got to see 100 and a bunch of National League hits. Verlander admitted that by throwing that hard that soon, he hadn't had a chance to settle into his delivery rhythm. In other words: He sacrificed some command for velocity.

That's fine in an exhibition game, but not so great in a game that decides home-field advantage in the World Series. Or one that tries to be both, as it seems these All-Star Games do.

Verlander said he wasn't trying to give up runs, obviously. But he also didn't approach the game like a normal start, either. And he didn't look like Cy Young or MVP Justin Verlander in the process.

"I just expected him to be Verlander -- go out and get outs like he always does," AL manager Ron Washington said. "It just didn't work out."

The Rangers' players, like the rest of the AL roster, couldn't do much once they got behind. Matt Harrison allowed three runs on four hits -- all with two outs -- in the fourth to effectively put the AL too far behind to rally. Harrison retired the first two batters he faced on four pitches, but after Rafael Furcal tripled, NL manager Tony LaRussa went to his bench and a familiar face in St. Louis Cardinal Matt Holliday. The right-handed hitter belted a single opposite field to score Furcal. Then Melky Cabrera hit a home run into the AL bullpen in left field to score two more runs.

"I had fun," Harrison said. "I wanted to pitch better, but it was my first All-Star Game and I was taking it all in. The pitch I threw to Furcal was a good one and he got it. But the one to Cabrera for the homer was right down the middle."

That homer helped Cabrera claim MVP honors for the game.

Read the rest of the story here.

Texas just focused on return to World Series

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:56
PM CT


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Texas Rangers players were disappointed that the American League couldn't win Tuesday's game and capture home-field advantage in the World Series. But the group was also focused on simply returning to the World Series.

"Let's get there first and then we can worry about it," second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

The 8-0 loss to the NL means that if the Rangers return to the Fall Classic, they'll start on the road yet again. The club has lost the last two World Series after not having home-field advantage.

"If we've got a chance to go for a third time, I don't think we're going to care or think about the fact we don't have home-field advantage," shortstop Elvis Andrus (who played third base in the All-Star Game) said. "The World Series is the World Series. You still have to win games on the road. They played better than us. They played really well from the first inning on. They deserved it."

Closer Joe Nathan, who pitched a 1-2-3 second inning, simply wants a chance to play in a World Series.

“I haven’t been to a World Series yet, but if our team is fortunate enough to get to that position, obviously we’d rather have home-field advantage, but that’s not what is going to be what makes or breaks us going out there," he said. "It’s going to be about competing. No matter where you are, you’re trying to win a game. This game is important.

"We would have liked to have won it. But it doesn’t mean the National League is going to win the World Series just because they won this game. It just means they get to play at home one more time than we do.”

Yu Darvish doesn't pitch, but enjoys game

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:31
PM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish did not pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Manager Ron Washington and pitching coaches Mike Maddux and Andy Hawkins decided that Darvish would be in reserve in case they needed someone who could pitch multiple innings late or if the game went to extra innings.

Darvish watched from the dugout, hanging out near bench coach Jackie Moore and teammates Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus before they went into the game. The 25-year-old did have one quick comment after the game.

"It was my first All-Star Game," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I was able to meet and talk to some of the players, so I enjoyed it."

Elvis Andrus plays third base for first time

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:19
PM CT


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- He's played second base and the outfield. He's even pitched. But never -- not in Little League, the minors or the big leagues -- had Elvis Andrus played third base until the ninth inning of Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Texas Rangers bench coach Jackie Moore asked Andrus if he was OK with playing there and the 23-year-old quickly agreed. Asdrubal Cabrera, who was playing shortstop, told Andrus that he would play third. But Andrus wanted to give it a try. And right away, he got a ground ball hit to him off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.

Andrus had to make a quick and strong throw to first to get the speedster.

"It was fun," Andrus said. "I'm going to make a lot of fun of Adrian (Beltre) when I see him. I'll teach him how to take ground balls."

Beltre, of course, started the game at third base, meaning a Ranger started and finished at the position. One reporter joked that Jurickson Profar had to be excited to see Andrus playing a different position than shortstop.

"There's no better place to play third base the first time than at the All-Star Game," Andrus said. "It was a lot of fun to get one out. I didn't do that bad."

Andrus got one at-bat in the game and hit into a fielder's choice. When the game ended, he was standing on third base and wasn't able to score to end the shutout bid as the AL fell, 8-0.

All-Star Rapid Reaction: NL 8, AL 0

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
10:27
PM CT


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Justin Verlander gave up five runs in the first inning and Matt Harrison gave up three more in the fourth and the AL never did manage to mount any sort of comeback, falling 8-0 to the National League on Tuesday night. The Rangers as a team had just one hit -- by Mike Napoli when Bryce Harper lost a ball in the lights. Some quick thoughts on the game:

What it means: If the Rangers advance to a third consecutive World Series, they'll start on the road just like in the other two (losses to San Francisco and St. Louis, in case you needed reminding).

Nathan gets 1-2-3 inning: Joe Nathan came into Tuesday's game earlier than expected, replacing Justin Verlander to start the second inning, and needed just eight pitches (seven strikes) to get through a perfect frame. Verlander allowed five runs on four hits in the first and faced all nine NL hitters, needing 35 pitches. He was supposed to go two innings. Instead, manager Ron Washington went to his closer to bridge the gap to David Price, who was scheduled to pitch in the third (and did). ... Nathan benefitted from some great defense as Jose Bautista made a diving catch in shallow right field to rob Ryan Braun of a hit.

Napoli gets hit, strikes out: Catcher Mike Napoli faced a familiar foe in Washington pitcher (and former Oakland A's hurler) Gio Gonzalez to lead off the third. Napoli struck out on an 0-2 curve ball. Napoli had 86 strikeouts in the first half of the regular season, tied with teammate Nelson Cruz for fifth-most in the AL. ... Napoli made a catch near the screen behind home plate to retire Buster Posey to end the third inning. ... Napoli was given a hit in the fourth when Harper lost his fly ball to left in the fourth.

Harrison gives up two-out runs: After Harrison needed just four pitches to get the first two outs of the fourth, he gave up a triple to Rafael Furcal. So NL manager Tony LaRussa inserted Matt Holliday, a right-handed hitter, to face Harrison instead of Carlos Gonzalez. LaRussa's former player came through for him, delivering an opposite-field single to score Furcal. Harrison then allowed a two-run home run to Melky Cabrera that landed in the AL bullpen in left to make it 8-0. So in his All-Star debut, Harrison surrenders three runs on four hits -- all with two outs.

Kinsler flys out with bases loaded: Ian Kinsler came into the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs. He fought off some foul balls from Clayton Kershaw and turned an 0-2 count into a 3-2 count. But the at-bat ended with a fly ball to left field. ... Kinsler made a rifle throw to first baseman Joe Mauer on a slow bouncer in the seventh to retire Jose Altuve.

Andrus plays third: Washington hinted before the game that Elvis Andrus might not play shortstop, and he didn't. For the first time in Andrus' big league career, he was at third base. Andrus immediately got a fielding chance and made a nice, strong throw across the diamond to get Andrew McCutchen, who can run. ... Andrus hit into a fielder's choice in his only at-bat in the ninth.

Chants of "Yuuuu": Yu Darvish, who did not pitch in the game, heard a nice, loud "Yuuu" from the sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium when he was announced. All five Rangers reserves were announced last just prior the to the starter introductions. All got a nice hand.

Fans love Hamilton: One of the biggest cheers for any non-Royal went to Josh Hamilton. He garnered more votes (more than 11 million) than anyone in history and made his fifth consecutive start in the All-Star Game. Hamilton had a big smile as the crowd cheered him while he trotted out of the AL dugout on the first-base side.

Up next: The Rangers will get Wednesday and Thursday off before heading to Seattle to start a swing through the AL West. Derek Holland gets the start on Friday for Texas.

Ron Washington takes staff out to dinner

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
5:57
PM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Just as he did last year in Phoenix, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington took his coaching staff and their families out to dinner Monday night.

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Last year, Washington got emotional when he stood up and talked to the group.

"I did this time, too," Washington said. "I was able to check it a little bit more this time. I finished my speech when it hit me and I was sitting down.

Washington said it's an opportunity to show them how much he cares about them and how thankful he is to have him on his team.

"I just told them how much I appreciated them, their families and how much I appreciate their support of my coaches," Washington said. "I told my coaches how hard they work. I know sometimes these guys (the players) can make you feel like your not progressing, but they never quit. The thing I look forward to most is they never quit, they keep working."

The staff will get Wednesday off and part of Thursday before the club leaves for Seattle, where they start the second half Friday.

One speech down, one to go for AL skipper

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
4:13
PM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- American League manager Ron Washington met with his All-Star squad following Monday's workout at Kauffman Stadium and, without any cameras around, spoke briefly to them as a group.

PODCAST
ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett says Ron Washington is serious about winning the All-Star Game and wrapping up home field advantage in the World Series.

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"Have fun, enjoy yourselves -- you're All-Stars," Washington said he told them. "The All-Star Game has changed. There’s more emphasis put on it. We want to win. We certainly don’t want them trying to get outside of themselves to get it done. Just relax and play and do what the game asks them to do."

Washington has one more speech to give prior to the first pitch tonight and he'll do that with the cameras in the room.

"We'll see where that goes," Washington said.

When it comes to Washington's speeches, it could go anywhere.

AL will save Yu Darvish just in case

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
4:06
PM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- American League manager Ron Washington said the plan is that Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish will be "the last man standing" for the pitching staff in tonight's All-Star Game. That means he would be waiting in case he's needed for multiple innings late in the game or in extra innings.

"He's the freshest guy we have, so we designated him as the last guy standing," Washington said. "He's had the most time down than anybody."

Darvish was given his last start off to rest his arm and give him some extra time through the All-Star break. He hasn't pitched in eight days.

Washington indicated he'd like to stay away from Felix Hernandez, who threw more than 100 pitches Sunday, and Jake Peavy, who pitched on Saturday, if possible.

"If we need them, they'll pitch," Washington said.

Click here to read more.

Bud Selig: Rangers' rise 'is remarkable'

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
1:29
PM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday that he had no idea the Texas Rangers would go from bankruptcy to an American League contender so quickly.

"Are you kidding? I would have been under too many hot showers if I thought they'd be where they are today," Selig said when asked about the club at a meeting of the Baseball Writers Association of America prior to the All-Star Game. "I knew things where in place there, but this is unprecedented and it's remarkable."

It was just two years ago in Anaheim that Selig was asked at the same pre-All-Star Game meeting about the court proceedings with the Rangers and whether the league would find a suitable solution. One month later, the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan won the bidding process in bankruptcy court in Fort Worth. Greenberg is no longer with the club and Ryan is the CEO.

The Rangers went to the World Series later that season, losing to the San Francisco Giants. They went back to the World Series in 2011, losing in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals after being a strike away from the title twice in Game 6. Texas is among the favorites to return to the Fall Classic this year.

The Rangers are on pace to welcome around 3.4 million fans into Rangers Ballpark in Arlington this season and have already shattered their previous sellout records.

"Not only have they built a great organization, but (they are) drawing well," Selig said. "They are one of the great success stories. No question about it."

Elvis Andrus wants to play with Ian Kinsler

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:30
AM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus knows he's been fortunate to have gone to two World Series and two All-Star Games before his 24th birthday.

"That's what you dream about as a kid is to be an All-Star and to play in the World Series," said Andrus, who turns 24 on Aug. 26. "It's been special to me to do that already."

Andrus was an All-Star reserve in 2010 when the game was in Anaheim. In that game, he got to play alongside teammate Ian Kinsler at second base. Kinsler is also at tonight's All-Star Game.

"I want to play with Ian again," Andrus said. "We played together a few years ago and it was fun. It was a good experience, and I'd like to do it again here in Kansas City."

That will be up to manager Ron Washington. But with both players coming off the bench, it's certainly possible they could be in together again.

Adrian Beltre impressed by Yu Darvish

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
8:00
AM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was Rangers row at the media availability Monday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City (yep, all the baseball players were at the football stadium), which meant that Adrian Beltre was just a few tables down from Yu Darvish.

Beltre would glance Darvish's way a few times, noticing the huge crowds that stayed steady for 45 minutes talking to the Japanese pitcher. It was one more example of the demands on Darvish this season and how he's handled them just fine. It's something that's impressed Beltre.

"We expected him to have a good season, but I don’t think we expected him to become accustomed to the U.S. so quickly," Beltre said. "We knew he had potential and what he did in Japan, but we didn’t know how well that would translate over here. He’s learned quick. When he’s in there, he’s in there to win the game. He battles. He has some games where he has trouble throwing strikes, but he comes back and he helps keep our team in the game."

Darvish feels like he's learned a lot in his short time in the big leagues and he knows that will only continue.

"I’m a better pitcher than I was the first day at camp," Darvish said through interpreter Joe Furukawa. "I think I’ve gotten stronger mentally. I’ve learned not to pay too much attention to the small details. So mentally, I’ve gotten strong."

Darvish has grown off the field too, and he's starting to pick up more and more English.

"The communication with the players is going well and it’s obviously better now because communication is improving," Darvish said. "I’ve always felt comfortable, even from the beginning. Aside from baseball, there isn’t too much culturally or anything I’ve struggled with or had a hard time adjusting."

Mike Napoli ready to catch Justin Verlander

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
5:49
PM CT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whenever Justin Verlander's name is brought up, Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is quick to replay his first at-bat against last year's Cy Young Award winner.

"My first major league at-bat was against him in Detroit," Napoli said Monday, with some national reporters around that hadn't heard the story. "I hit a homer. It was a curveball with two strikes."

Napoli smiled as he talked about it and admitted that he still has the ball.

On Tuesday night, Napoli will be behind the plate when Verlander makes the first pitch of the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.

"That's pretty awesome," Napoli said. "He’s a Cy Young winner and one of the best pitchers in the game. It should be a cool experience. Hopefully that can give me some insight on how to hit against him."

Cole Hamels knows trade is possible

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
4:06
PM CT


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cole Hamels hears the chatter and knows that it's possible he could be headed out of Philadelphia and shipped to a contender. The Texas Rangers have scouted some of Hamels' starts and they certainly have the pieces in the farm system to be in the mix for the 28-year-old lefty, if they choose.

Hamels, though, isn't worried about any specific teams. He knows if he gets dealt, it will be to a winning organization.

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"Winning in general, that's all I think about," Hamels said from the All-Star Game on Monday. "I only get to go out every five days and pitch. I pitch to win. When you're on a winning team, that's all the appeal you need."

Hamels, who is 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA on a Phillies team that has not lived up to expectations so far this season, said he hears about teams that might be interested and admits that in a clubhouse where the team isn't winning, that stuff is talked about. Does he hope he gets dealt to a contender by the July 31 deadline?

"I don't really hope for anything but just going out and playing well," Hamels said. "It's really hard to think outside in this sort of realm because everybody is focused on playing baseball well and trying to help this baseball team get over a hump or start something. It's something you have to wait and see."

Hamels said he honestly hasn't given much thought to where he could end up if he's traded.

"I know it's not fair to where I am and what I'm doing now," Hamels said. "Living in the past, living in the future is not going to help out what I'm doing in the present. I think I've been able to succeed by focusing on the present."

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 17 68 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 68
RA. Beltre 68
OPSA. Beltre .877
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182