Texas Rangers: Ben Rowen
Rios has managed the toe since then and eased off it for a few days. But he's back and expected to participate in drills today. He's not in the lineup for the intrasquad game.
* INF Kevin Kouzmanoff (sore back) will not participate in drills today and is listed as day-to-day.
* RHP Tanner Scheppers (back) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today.
* C Geovany Soto (left foot surgery) is in Arizona and is expected to come by the facility at some point today. His timetable is 10 days to let the sutures heal before he can resume baseball activity. The Rangers hope he can get in some Cactus League games in the final two weeks before the season starts.
* RHP Ben Rowen (biceps tendinitis) will start a throwing program the first week of March.
* RHP Daniel Bard (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) is in the early stages of his throwing program.
* Assistant GM Thad Levine (broken left thumb) injured the thumb playing basketball. He's wearing a brace on it and certainly can't play basketball for a while.
"We're going to be cautious," Daniels said. "He wants to throw and says it doesn't bother him on the mound, but we'll take it easy anyway."
Harrison is listed as day-to-day.
Other injury news:
* The big injury news of the day is Jurickson Profar's shoulder, which bothered him throwing Monday to the point that he is now going to take it easy for another week. The setback means he likely won't play second base in Cactus League games until the second or third week of March. You can read all about that here.
* RHP Daniel Bard: His back feels better and he's doing conditioning, but still isn't throwing because of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in January.
* RHP Roman Mendez (olecranon stress fracture): Scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.
* RHP Ben Rowen (biceps tendinitis): Played catch Monday and had continued discomfort. He had an MRI that was clear, but won't throw until team physician Dr. Keith Meister clears him to throw.
* RHP Shawn Tolleson (ankle): Came out of Monday's session feeling good and is scheduled to do everything Tuesday. Assuming he's OK, he wouldn't be on the injury report after today.
Other injury notes:
Texas Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar has been cleared to throw by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. The team will still ease him in and he'll start Cactus League games at DH before transitioning to full-time second-base duty. Read more about Profar's status here.
* RHP Ben Rowen (biceps tendinitis): Cleared to start his throwing program, but won't be ready for the start of Cactus League games based on his progression.
* RHP Shawn Tolleson (left ankle sprain): He's going to throw live BP later today, so the ankle is feeling better.
* RHP Daniel Bard (stiff back): He will go through conditioning and get treatment, but he was behind anyway because of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in January.
That includes left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison, who threw 44 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday and was pleased with how he's feeling.
Yu Darvish, who had an injection in his back at the end of last season, threw 34 pitches on Sunday and is listed as fully healthy.
Colby Lewis likely throws his first bullpen on Monday, but will do so on schedule. After coming off hip surgery, Lewis has been throwing at his home and the club lists him as "full go." The hip resurfacing was a rare procedure on a pitcher (in fact, there's no record of an active pitcher having it), so everyone will be paying close attention to Lewis' progress.
Other injury notes:
Holland had microfracture surgery earlier this offseason and is recovering after tripping on his boxer, Wrigley, on the stairs of his home and injuring his left knee.
Other notes from general manager Jon Daniels, who spoke to beat writers on Wednesday afternoon:
* The Rangers are still negotiating with Mitch Moreland on a contract for the 2014 season. Moreland, who is arbitration-eligible, and the club have a hearing scheduled for Feb. 19. When the two sides exchanged figures, Moreland was looking for $3.25 million and the Rangers offered $2.025 million. We'll see if the two sides can find enough common ground to avoid a hearing. The Rangers haven't had a hearing since 2000.
"I'm hopeful that we can (reach an agreement), but you get this close you have to be prepared," Daniels said. "I'm sure both sides have prepared their cases. I know we have, and hopefully we don’t have to go down that path. You have to be prepared for anything."
* Daniels said he's stayed in contact with Nelson Cruz's agent, Adam Katz, but expects the slugger to sign elsewhere.
"We check in periodically, but nothing’s changed there," Daniels said.
* Daniels indicated the Rangers aren't pursuing any right-handed bats on the free agent market at this time, opting to go internal at that spot. Those candidates include Alex Castellanos, Robinson Chirinos, and Michael Choice.
* The GM did not address anything about Tommy Hanson, though he said he hoped to add some pitching depth soon. It's likely that the club is waiting another day or two when they can place Holland on the 60-day disabled list, giving them room to put Hanson on the 40-man roster.
* Ben Rowen, the right-handed submarine pitcher, has some biceps tendinitis that will keep him from following the same schedule as the rest of the club's pitchers. But the club doesn't think he'll be too far behind.
Today's position: Middle and long relief
As pitching coach Mike Maddux put it last week, the club will take the best "staff," not the best "relievers" or the best "starters." The mission is about putting together the 12 pitchers who can most help the team. That means figuring out the group they want and how best to align them.
There are a host of candidates for a job in the starting rotation. That's a pressing issue now that Derek Holland's recovery from knee surgery will probably keep him out until midseason. But even as those players compete for that job, they could also be competing for a spot as a long reliever. The pitcher who doesn't go into the rotation could slide in as a long man and spot starter.
The list of internal candidates for the rotation spot include Michael Kirkman, Colby Lewis, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Nick Tepesch. There will be more, you can be sure. And there will be external candidates that will get a look as well.
If Ross doesn't earn the job, the lefty could be a critical middle reliever for this team. While he didn't have as strong a 2013 as he did 2012, Ross was still 4-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 65 games. He pitched in a variety of situations. But what was odd about Ross' season was his inability to get left-handed batters out consistently. They hit .341 against him in 91 at-bats. It's something Ross is working on this offseason and into 2014.
Kirkman and Tepesch could be viable long men and spot starters should they not end up in the rotation. Kirkman is motivated after a poor 2013 and believes that the pitcher that showed up for spring training and pitched so well last year can do the same in the regular season. Tepesch got some big league experience last year, stepping into the rotation because of injuries. He was 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 19 appearances (17 starts) and is working on a changeup with the hopes of that helping make him more effective.
If Scheppers doesn't start, he's a late-inning reliever and someone who has the experience of getting big outs late in close games. We'll talk more about him tomorrow.
The Rangers also have veteran Jason Frasor for middle relief. He was actually the first player the club signed this offseason. Neal Cotts burst onto the scene last year and returns after a terrific 2013. Cotts had a 1.11 ERA in 57 innings pitched, and opponents hit just .180 off him. Others such as Shawn Tolleson and Ben Rowen will try to impress coaches this spring and see if they can get into that mix.
OUTLOOK: The Rangers have plenty of internal options for the middle and long relief roles, but it may take some time to sort them out. It's a good mix of veterans and young players in the bullpen. We'll talk more about the later innings and the closer in the next few days.
Tolleson, 25, was 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 41 relief appearances (37 2/3 innings pitched) over the last two seasons with the Dodgers. He had only six appearances in 2013 because of a lower back surgery and a left hip injury. Tolleson, who attended Allen High School and pitched at Baylor, has a career 1.34 ERA in 107 appearances (127 2/3 innings pitched) in the minor leagues. He also has a .932 career WHIP in the minors with 185 strikeouts against 31 walks.
The Rangers also added right-handed pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla and Ben Rowen, along with infielder Luis Sardinas, to the major league roster. Left-handed pitcher Edwar Cabrera cleared waivers and been assigned outright to the minors.
Rowen, 25, went 6-1 with a 0.69 ERA in 51 total appearances for Frisco and Round Rock in 2013. Bonilla, 23, was 7-5 record with six saves and a 4.79 ERA in 47 games (two starts) for Frisco and Round Rock last season. Sardinas, 20, batted .288 with two home runs, 46 RBIs, 81 runs scored and 32 steals in 126 total games with Myrtle Beach (High-A) and Frisco in 2013. He has a .354 (45-127) average in 31 games with La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Cabrera, 26, was received from Colorado on a waiver claim on October 16.
The Rangers now have 38 players on the 40-man roster.
What this means: Texas falls back to .500 and has dropped two of its last three. The 14 runs allowed tied the most in a single game this spring (Feb. 26 vs. Chicago White Sox).
Roughed up rookie: Starter Nick Tepesch had his most difficult outing of the spring, allowing eight earned runs on 12 hits with three walks and three strikeouts in five-plus innings. The rookie right-hander was on the cusp of earning the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, but after this performance, and allowing three runs in five innings to the Cubs on Sunday, the 24-year old will need to bounce back well in his final spring start next week.
|ESPN MLB Insider Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett in Surprise to discuss what to expect from the Rangers this season.
Rare air: Even LHP Joe Ortiz, who has been untouchable in 'A' games this spring, fell victim to the Colorado offensive assault, giving up a two-run home run and allowing one inherited runner to score. Ortiz was unscored upon in nine innings in 'A' games.
Still streaking: Elvis Andrus went 1-for-2 extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He is 15-for-34 during that span (.441) and is hitting .378 overall this spring.
Whoa, Nellie: Nelson Cruz continues to hit well this spring and sparked the Rangers four-run fourth inning with his two-run, home run to right field.
Four for four: Texas scored four runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to continue its recent offensive onslaught. The Rangers had posted three of their highest hit totals in the last five games.
Four fifths: David Murphy and A.J. Pierzynski hit back-to-back home runs in the Rangers four-run fifth inning. Murphy blasted a two run blast to right, followed by Pierzynski's shot that cleared the grassy area in right field and went well into the home run party tent that sits behind it. Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry followed with doubles off the wall as the bottom half of the Rangers order roughed up Rafael Betancourt.
What's next?: Texas will hit the road to take on the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. CT at Goodyear Ballpark. RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 1.04) is the scheduled starter for Texas. RHP Mat Latos (0-0, 2.45) will take the mound for Cincinnati. The game can be heard live on ESPN 103.3 FM.
Rowen and Bonilla have seen limited spring action as minor-league extras, but both have made the most of their opportunities and own impressive résumés.
"Both guys were discussed before camp, as far as coming in," president of baseball operations/general manager Jon Daniels said. "We had quite a few numbers but they've come over and thrown a few innings and I think everyone wanted to see a little bit more of them -- get them in this environment, get them with Mike (Maddux). Both guys have impressed."
Bonilla was acquired in December from Philadelphia as part of the Michael Young trade. His changeup is considered his best pitch, followed by a slider.
He's thrown one scoreless inning this spring with a walk and a strikeout.
The 22-year old Samana, Dominican Republic native was 3-2 with a 1.55 ERA and four saves in 31 appearances in Single-A and Double-A in 2012, his first season as a full-time reliever.
Rowen's deep, submarine delivery is enough to garner attention, but the results of his funky throwing motion have been eye-popping as well.
"We have a bunch of guys with different arm slots, he's even more extreme," Daniels said. "Almost more like Chad Bradford, more like that angle with his hand barely above the ground when it comes to his arm swing. He's a unique guy."
Rowen throws plenty of strikes but isn't packing the velocity with a fastball that peaks in the low 80s, but he has excellent command. Last season he finished 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 19 saves for Myrtle Beach, earning him Closer of the Year honors in the Carolina League and the minors' Best Relief Pitcher from MLB.com.
Rowen has allowed one hit in two scoreless innings this spring.
The Rangers also announced Tuesday that RHP Jake Brigham, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Justin Miller and OF Joey Butler have been reassigned to the minor league camp.
Here's some information about the four players from the club's release:
Edwards, 20, was 1-0 with a 0.76 ERA (two ER/23.2 IP) and 29 strikeouts against nine walks, while holding opposing batters to a .127 average (10-79) over five games/four starts with the Arizona League Rangers and the Spokane Indians. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Edwards had the lowest opponent batting average and posted the fifth-lowest ERA of any minor league pitcher during the month. The right-hander was elevated to Spokane on July 12 and completed at least 5.0 innings with two or fewer hits and one or zero earned runs in three of his first four starts with the Indians. Overall, Edwards has combined to go 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA (six ER/48.0 IP) and 58 strikeouts against 19 walks in 10 games/nine starts with the AZL Rangers and Spokane. Edwards was selected in the 48th round of the 2011 June draft and signed by Chris Kemp.
Selen, 23, batted .409 (27-66) with 10 runs, four walks, two doubles, six home runs and 23 RBIs over 19 games with Low-A Hickory in the month of July. The Dominican Republic native had a season-high four hits twice during the month, along with career-best five RBIs on July 26 vs. Delmarva just one day after his second career multi-home run game on July 25 vs. Delmarva. Overall, Selen is batting .354 (46-130) with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 36 games with the Crawdads this season. Selen was signed as a non-drafted free agent on September 7, 2005, by Danilo Troncoso.
Odor, 18, started 26 games in the field for Low-A Hickory in July, appearing at second base 15 times and shortstop in 11 contests. The Venezuela native owns a .980 fielding percentage at second base this season, highest among any second baseman in the South Atlantic League with at least 345 total chances. He has spent the bulk of his playing time at second base, with 70 of his 90 games there. At the plate, Odor is batting .262 (94-359) with 21 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 40 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases in 90 games with Hickory. He was signed as a non-drafted free agent on January 3, 2011 by Rafic Saab and Mike Daly.
Rowen, 23, did not allow a run over 12.2 innings and tallied nine saves in 10 appearances out of the bullpen with High-A Myrtle Beach in July. The Virginia Tech product held Carolina League opponents to a .143 average (6-42) during the month, while recording 12 strikeouts with no walks. The right-hander is currently in the midst of a 29.2-inning scoreless streak dating back to June 3, during which batters have hit just .152 (15-99) with 21 strikeouts against just one walk. Overall, Rowen is 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA (six ER/46.1 IP) and 16 saves in 30 games with the Pelicans. He was selected in the 22nd round of the 2010 June draft.
Perez, 17, went 1-0 with a 0.50 ERA (one earned run in 18 innings) over three starts in August for the Dominican Summer League Rangers.
Gomez, 20, hit .475 with five doubles, two triples and 10 RBIs in 16 games for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers.
The Rangers also honored short-season Class A Spokane third baseman Mike Olt as defender of the month and Spokane right-hander Ben Rowen as reliever of the month.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
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Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
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Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.