Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Intrasquad: Relief candidates show off stuff
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- After starter Matt Harrison got his work in, a slew of relief candidates strolled to the mound with a chance to impress the coaching staff and some scouts in attendance.
"I felt like all the people that need to see me were there," Nate Robertson said. "I'm sure all of us felt that way. Some of those folks may have been seeing us live for the first time. So you want to perform well."
Some of them did that in chilly conditions on Field 1 (Nolan Ryan Field) on the Rangers side of Surprise Recreation Campus. Robertson, who remade his delivery this offseason with hopes of extending his career, was pleased with how his low three-quarter arm slot reacted to hitters as he threw to them for the first time without an "L screen" in front of him. He gave up a couple of singles, but also struck out Leonys Martin with a slider and was glad that he got to pitch to some left-handed hitters.
"I've had four elbow surgeries and I knew I needed to do something to give me another chance," Robertson said. "I taught it to myself this offseason and I'm glad to see I've got movement on my pitches. I'm not a velocity guy. I can't tough 94 or 95 mph anymore. So it's third on my priority list behind command and movement. The more velocity you have, the greater your margin of error. I have to locate my pitches, and I did that today."
But there were two pitchers later in the game that impressed the scouts on hand: Josh Lindblom and Joe Ortiz.
Lindblom, who came over from Philadelphia in the Michael Young trade, struck out the side. He got Craig Gentry to chase a slider, Geovany Soto struck out on a fastball swinging and Mike Olt watched a fastball hit the corner for a third strike.
"Today the biggest thing was my fastball command," Lindblom said. "It was down on both sides of the zone. If you do it, you're going to have success."
Ortiz, a longshot coming into camp, continues to pound the strike zone. One scout compared him to Eddie Guardado as a guy that may not have high velocity but keeps the ball down and is constantly ahead of hitters. He did touch 92 mph on the radar gun and had two strikeouts, both on sliders.
Another error: There's something about Gentry that seems to bug Elvis Andrus. For the second straight game, Andrus committed an error off a ball hit by Gentry. Andrus rushed the throw, which was high, allowing Gentry to get to second base. He was stranded there as Harrison got out of the inning.
Highlight reel: Leury Garcia had one of the better defensive plays of camp, barehanding a tough chopper and throwing to first to get the speedy Andrus. ... Mitch Moreland made a nice backhand stab at first base on a hot shot, keeping the ball in front of him and getting the out.
Tepesch's tale: Nick Tepesch threw some nice breaking pitches, striking out Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz on sinkers. He hit 91 mph on the radar gun.
Buckel's line: Cody Buckel, one of the fifth starter candidates, gave up three hits (all singles), a walk and a wild pitch, but allowed just one run.
Big hits: Pierzynski had an RBI single, scoring Kinsler. ... Reserve Brett Nicholas had a three-run homer and a double in his two at-bats. ... Juan Apodaca had a two-run triple in the fourth.