Saturday, February 16, 2013
Notes: Manager talks to his full squad
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington wrote out his first major speech of the 2013 season, though he admitted he did ad-lib a bit. Saturday was the first day of full-squad workouts, and the skipper, as is the custom, spoke to his team in the clubhouse prior to the day getting started.
It's the seventh time Washington has given a form of this speech as the Rangers manager, but for many in the clubhouse it was the first time they've heard him motivate a group. That's what happens when so many new players join the club after some previous stalwarts depart via free agency and trade.
Washington said he talked about the club playing for one another and staying healthy. He said it didn't differ from too many messages from past seasons.
"I want to make sure we take care of each other," Washington said. "I'm the leader, so they draw on my energy and how I go about my business, and I try to set an example."
Washington did mention last year and how he wants the club to learn from it.
"We didn't finish the way we wanted to," Washington said. "We didn't meet the expectations we set out to meet. But the thing about baseball is when you start out a new year, everybody has a chance, and we have a chance."
A handful of players spoke at the meeting, though Washington didn't want to get into the specifics of what they said. He did mention that Lance Berkman, A.J. Pierzynski and hitting coach Dave Magadan were the new veterans or coaches that spoke, along with some core players. Washington said, in general, they talked about "taking care of one another."
Washington said Nelson Cruz spoke briefly.
"He said, 'I believe,'" Washington said.
* The skipper said he did talk about getting aggressive on the bases during the meeting, saying: "The handcuffs are off. The ankle chains are off. Let's see what you can do."
* Berkman said he'll borrow a glove from someone for Saturday's workout. The veteran blamed only himself, saying it was an "oversight" that he didn't bring one from home. Berkman will likely take it easy to start with anyway, as the club wants to be sure he keeps his knees in good shape for later in spring and the start of the season. I can tell you he has his bats and had them at his locker on Saturday. Berkman will go at his own pace this spring with Washington saying he knows how to get himself ready for the season.
* Joe Nathan remains on track to throw to live hitters on Monday as planned. Nathan said he feels good, but by waiting to throw to live hitters he can go through his normal spring routine. "Essentially, we shortened spring so I keep the same schedule," Nathan said.
* Washington said a few pitchers have impressed in camp so far. He noted Kyle McClellan, Randy Wells, Martin Perez, Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Michael Kirkman as guys that he noticed. "Those were the guys that I wanted to check out in BP the first couple of days," Washington said.
* The club has intrasquad games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, so many of the pitchers can throw in a game atmosphere prior to Friday's game with the Royals in Surprise Stadium.