Texas Rangers: Dave Magadan

Mike Maddux returning as pitching coach

October, 31, 2014
The Texas Rangers announced Friday that pitching coach Mike Maddux will return for his seventh consecutive season with the club. Maddux's contract was scheduled to end Saturday.

Financial terms and length of his new deal weren't disclosed.

The Rangers also announced the majority of their coaching staff: Dave Magadan, hitting coach; Andy Hawkins, bullpen coach; Bobby Jones, assistant hitting coach; Steve Buechele, bench coach; Hector Ortiz, first base coach/catching instructor and Jayce Tingler, major league field coordinator.

A third base coach will be announced at a later time.

Maddux and Hawkins are the longest tenured coaches, each entering his seventh season with the Rangers.

Magadan, who returns for a third season, interviewed with the Yankees and Mets about becoming their hitting coach. Magadan has one year remaining on his contract.

Buechele was a minor league manager for several years, most recently with Triple-A Round Rock. This is Buechele's first job on a big league club as a coach and he, along with Maddux, interviewed for the managing job that eventually went to Jeff Banister.

Ortiz was the Rangers' minor league catching instructor from 2011-to-2014 and has spent 10-years with the organization. Tingler is the youngest staff member at 33. He's been with the Rangers for the last eight seasons, including the last three as the minor league field coordinator.

Dave Magadan to remain with Rangers

October, 23, 2014
The Texas Rangers will retain hitting coach Dave Magadan for the 2015 season.

Magadan met with team officials Thursday in Surprise, Ariz., and after "a getting to know you" session with new manager Jeff Banister, it was agreed by all parties involved he should stay.

Magadan, who has one year left on his contract, said contract talks for an extension weren't discussed.

The Rangers are trying to finalize their coaching staff, and in addition to retaining Magadan, who had spoken to several other clubs about employment, pitching coach Mike Maddux's status remains unsettled.

Maddux's contract ends at the end of October and while he's highly thought of, he needed to have conversations with Banister.

Tim Bogar's status uncertain

October, 16, 2014
With the Texas Rangers officially hiring Jeff Banister as their manager Thursday, it means the coaching staff is in a fluid situation.

One thing we know is Triple-A manager Steve Buechele will keep his job in Round Rock but could be promoted to the big club after an impressive interview with club officials.

[+] EnlargeTim Bogar
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsTim Bogar wasn't selected to become the Rangers' permanent manager, but GM Jon Daniels said he was open to Bogar returning to the staff.
As for Tim Bogar, the bench coach who took over for Ron Washington in September, his status is unknown. General manager Jon Daniels said Bogar interviewed well for the manager's job though wasn't hired.

Daniels said he was open to keeping Bogar on the staff.

"I think the next steps with him and everybody on the staff is to have Jeff be able to connect with them and spend some time with them," said Daniels, who informed Bogar on Thursday morning he wasn't getting the job. "It's a situation where everybody involved going forward is in a good spot and everyone feels it can be productive individually and for the Rangers. I have no problem with him being on the staff."

Pitching coach Mike Maddux, who also interviewed for the managerial position, worked in the Arizona Fall League for the Rangers and would like to stay. Daniels said those decisions will be worked out between him and Banister.

Meanwhile, third-base coach/outfield coach Gary Pettis is in serious talks to join the Houston Astros. Nothing has been finalized, but Pettis' contract expires at the end of October.

Hitting coach Dave Magadan has spoken to both New York baseball clubs about taking the same position. Nothing is finalized with Magadan's status, either.

The Rangers, however, are interested in speaking with Oakland Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis, and talks with him might increase now that Banister has been hired.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Mariners 2

April, 16, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Leonys Martin's single ended a wild ninth inning as the Texas Rangers earned their fourth walk-off win at home this season, 3-2 over the Seattle Mariners. Texas did all the damage with two outs. Kevin Kouzmanoff singled, Mitch Moreland walked and then the Rangers got some help. Donnie Murphy's ground ball to short should have ended the inning, but the flip to second was high. The error kept the inning going and loaded the bases for Martin. A wild pitch scored the tying run, and then, Martin's single to left ended it. A few quick thoughts:

Pitch counts: It seems to be a topic of conversation every time Yu Darvish pitches, but the 27-year-old ace threw 107 pitches in seven innings Wednesday -- an average of 15.2 per inning. He came into the game No. 2 in the AL in pitches per inning at 12.7, nearly four fewer pitches per inning than his average last season. Darvish had two full counts in a 19-pitch first inning and didn't get much more efficient from there. Darvish adjusted by throwing more breaking pitches earlier in the count for strikes, but his command of his fastball and slider was not as good as it was in his first two starts.

Ambushing the fastball: Knowing that Darvish was getting ahead on hitters with first-pitch strikes in his first two starts, the Mariners came in with the idea of swinging at first-pitch fastballs and got a triple off one from Nick Franklin with one out in the second inning to get Seattle in position to score. A single by Mike Zunino plated Franklin. Darvish also walked Dustin Ackley with two outs, and that proved costly, as Abraham Almonte's single brought home Ackley to make it 2-0.

Where's the run support?: Darvish has pitched 22 innings this season, and his offense has yet to score a run for him. Not one. Blame Felix Hernandez for that Wednesday, but it's been like that all season. Darvish has no margin for error. On Wednesday, the Rangers managed just four hits and were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position while Darvish was on the mound.

Defensive issues: In the two-run second for the Mariners, Shin-Soo Choo charged Almonte's single but seemed to hesitate before throwing home. His throw home was off target and went to the backstop, allowing a runner to advance. A few innings later, Martin and Choo had a communication issue, and what should have been a routine fly-ball out glanced off Martin's glove and hit the ground. It was scored a hit but was another mistake by the defense. Texas has 15 errors in 15 games this season, which leads the AL, but the Rangers have made other miscues that haven't been called errors.

Hernandez dazzles: It sure looked like the Cy Young version of Hernandez on the mound Wednesday. He allowed one run (in the eighth) on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. He was lifted after just 96 pitches following Martin's leadoff triple in the eighth. Martin scored on Michael Choice's sacrifice fly. Hernandez threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 26 batters he faced. In three career meetings against Darvish (the other two in 2012), Hernandez is 3-0 and has a 0.75 ERA in 24 innings pitched with 28 strikeouts and three walks. Darvish didn't have his best stuff but hung in for seven innings, allowing two runs.

Briefly: Kouzmanoff's ninth-inning single kept his hitting streak alive. He's hit in all seven games he's played for the Rangers. ... Moreland's first walk of the season came against Hernandez in the fourth. He also walked with two outs in the ninth off Fernando Rodney.

Up next: Right-handed pitcher Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 7.88 ERA) goes up against righty Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 5.63 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 1, Astros 0

April, 13, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas -- That's 15 straight series wins over the Houston Astros for the Texas Rangers as they secure their second 1-0 win in the past three days. It was the first time in club history that Texas had two 1-0 wins in the same series and the first time for two 1-0 games in the same series since 1982 vs. Boston Red Sox. Martin Perez pitched eight shutout innings and Alexi Ogando got the save in the ninth. Texas now has three shutout wins in the first 12 games of the season and they move to .500 on the season. Some quick thoughts:

Perez loves double plays: Young Martin Perez found a nice pace in Sunday's game, pitching quickly and with confidence. He allowed four hits, but no runs and the double play was very helpful for him. He induced four ground-ball double plays, including one to end the eighth inning, his final frame of the game. Perez was leading the AL with five ground-ball double plays before the game started.

Long start: For just the second time in his career, Perez got through at least eight innings. The only other time he did it was Aug. 11, 2013 against the same Astros. In that one, he got a complete-game victory, allowing just one run on four hits.

Don't steal from me: Catcher Robinson Chirinos' arm was impressive on Sunday as he threw out two Houston runners attempting to steal. He nailed Jonathan Villar in the third and Matt Dominguez in the fifth. He has thrown out four baserunners this season.

Andrus ejected: Elvis Andrus argued a called third strike to end the third inning and was quickly ejected by home plate umpire Alan Porter. It was a low strike call and Andrus didn't like it. The ejection also brought an end to Andrus' streak of hitting safely in every game this season. He was at 11 games prior to Sunday, so he won't catch Al Oliver's club-record 13 in 1979.

Solid substitutes: Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy made their presences felt in Sunday's game. Wilson moved over to shortstop and Murphy came in to play second when Andrus was ejected. They played solid defense, and provided some offensive help in the sixth. Wilson led off the inning with a single, went from first to third on a single by Shin-Soo Choo and scored on Murphy's sacrifice fly, which game in the spot that Andrus would have batted in had not been asked to depart early.

Ogando in for the save: With Joakim Soria having pitched for two straight games, Alexi Ogando got the opportunity to save Sunday's game and came through. It was his fourth career save, his last one coming in 2012 as he pitched when Joe Nathan needed rest that season, grabbing three saves.

Defensive gems: Prince Fielder made a nice diving stop toward the first-base line to take an extra-base hit away from Jesus Guzman with one out in the fourth. Fielder worked earlier this homestand on his footwork and short-hops at first base with manager Ron Washington and will get some more work on other aspects of his defense before the homestand ends. But that was a very nice play for Fielder to keep the Astros off the bases. ... Josh Wilson, playing shortstop after Andrus' ejection, ranged to his left and snagged a line drive from L.J. Hoes, preventing a hit in the fifth.

Rapid Reaction: Astros 6, Rangers 5 (10)

April, 12, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A Texas Rangers comeback fell short on Saturday, as the Houston Astros scored in the 10th inning and held on for a 6-5 win.

Texas tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, but a triple by Jason Castro, aided by a strange bounce off the wall in right, put him in position to score on Jose Altuve's sac fly to right. A few thoughts:

Great stop: Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar made a terrific diving play, backhanding a ball to his right and throwing to first to get Alex Rios with Elvis Andrus at second and no outs in the bottom of the 10th. The Astros wiggled out of the jam and preserved the win. The game could still be going on if not for Villar's play.

Baserunning blunder: After Rios hit a double off the wall in left-center to score Andrus and make it a one-run game, the outfielder tried to steal third. He was caught stealing for the first out of the inning, preempting the rally. The next two Rangers batters got out quickly, and any hope of tying the game at that point was lost. Rios also had trouble with a throw back to the infield in the 10th, missing the cutoff man, though it didn't allow the Astros an extra base (that happened on the odd bounce off the wedge wall).

Right Choice: Michael Choice didn't start the game, but he came in to pinch hit to lead off the ninth inning and belted his first career home run 412 feet into the Rangers bullpen to tie the score. It was only the 13th at-bat of the season for Choice, who hits mainly against left-handed pitchers. That included lefty Kevin Chapman in the ninth on Saturday, and Choice took advantage.

Two-out runs: Through three starts for Tanner Scheppers, he's had trouble finishing off innings with runners on base. That was the case again on Saturday as the Astros came back from a 2-0 deficit to score five runs -- four with two outs -- in the fourth inning to take the lead. Scheppers didn't allow a hit in the game until that frame but gave up three singles, a walk and a three-run home run to alter the game early.

Velocity up: When Scheppers was in the bullpen, he was regularly able to dial up his fastball to 95 or 96 mph. That didn't happen this season until Saturday. Scheppers touched 97 at one point and had that fastball in the 93-95 range consistently. That was an improvement.

Better finish: The fourth inning -- and Robbie Grossman's three-run homer specifically (with some help from the Globe Life Park jetstream) -- ruined any bid for a quality start, but Scheppers did bear down in the next three innings to get through seven. He needed 29 pitches as he retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced to finish off his start.

Hard-hit balls: Prince Fielder hit a few balls hard on Saturday, perhaps a sign that his timing is coming around. Fielder's single in the first was a one-hopper through the shift and probably the hardest ball he's hit all season. He also hit a long fly ball in the third. It's a small thing, but with Fielder struggling to do anything, it was noticeable.

Leadoff strikeouts: Neither leadoff hitter had a good night on Saturday. Shin-Soo Choo, who came in with seven strikeouts the whole season, had five in five at-bats, including four off Jarred Cosart (two of them looking). It was the first time he had five strikeouts in his career. The last time he had four strikeouts in a game was in July 2012 while with Cleveland. Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler wasn't much better, striking out in his first three at-bats against Scheppers (one of those looking).

Did it hit him?: Carlos Corporan was given first base in the sixth on a hit-by-pitch that plate umpire Rob Drake said hit the jersey. But it sure looked on the replay like it didn't hit him. That is a call the manager can challenge, but the Rangers chose not to do that. The HBP came with two outs, and Scheppers retired the next batter to end the inning.

Briefly: Donnie Murphy got a chance to play second base and took advantage with a double, a walk and two runs scored. … Andrus has now hit safely in 11 games to start the season. The club record is 13 by Al Oliver in 1979.

Up next: Left-hander Martin Perez (1-0, 4.50 ERA) takes the mound for the Rangers in the final game of this series against Brett Oberholtzer (0-2, 4.91) in a 2:05 p.m. game.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 1, Astros 0 (12)

April, 11, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have played four games in Arlington. They've won three of them in walk-off fashion. And Robinson Chirinos was the hero in the 12th inning. His single to right scored Kevin Kouzmanoff from second -- who got there by staying aggressive and getting to second on a ball in the dirt -- to give the Rangers a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros.

It was the longest game (by innings) to go scoreless in Arlington since Sept. 22, 1992, when the Rangers lost to the Minnesota Twins 1-0 in 13 innings. Nolan Ryan started the game for the Rangers with Pudge Rodriguez catching. Both Ryan and Rodriguez were at the game Friday.

Darvish dazzles: The Rangers' ace loves pitching against the Astros. Last season, he was one out away from a perfect game in Houston in April. On Friday, he had a perfect game through five innings before Matt Dominguez -- hitting .129 when the game started -- hit an 0-2 breaking pitch for a looping hit to left-center. Darvish retired the next three batters to end the inning with no damage done, but it ended his perfect game and no-hit hopes. In that at-bat, Dominguez hit a foul ball down the right-field line that Alex Rios nearly caught but wasn't able to (and it would have required he dive against the wall, which would have been risky). Shortly thereafter, Darvish gave up the hit.

Still, Darvish went eight innings and gave up that lone hit with one walk and nine strikeouts. It was a terrific performance. He now has pitched 15 innings of scoreless baseball.

Darvish established his fastball the first time through the order, then utilized the slider more the second time through. Once again, he was efficient, throwing 101 pitches in his eight innings of work. Darvish was in command and in control out there, not even getting to a three-ball count until he walked Jose Altuve with two outs in the seventh. It didn't hurt that the Astros rolled out a lineup that featured six batters hitting under .200 and another hitting .226.

Baserunning problems: Shin-Soo Choo did a terrific job of getting on base Friday, drawing three walks and a single in six plate appearances. But after a single in the 11th, Choo stole second base with one out and Elvis Andrus at the plate. Andrus hit a dribbler in front of the plate and Choo froze rather than moving to third. With Andrus' speed, it would have put even more pressure on the Astros, never mind possibly putting the winning run at third base with two outs, should a wild pitch or something have happened. Instead, Choo stayed at second and the Astros retired Alex Rios to end the inning.

10th-inning issues: Texas had a great chance to win the game in the 10th inning, loading the bases with no outs. Houston brought in Marwin Gonzalez and inserted him as part of a five-man infield with no left fielder. The Rangers needed a fly ball and couldn't get it. Mitch Moreland hit into a fielder's choice with the Astros throwing out Rios at home. Chirinos struck out and Leonys Martin grounded out to second.

Not quite in ninth: The Rangers rallied with two outs in the inning as Martin singled and Josh Wilson also singled, with Martin going to third. Choo had a typically solid at-bat, getting behind in the count but still drawing a walk. Andrus came up with the bases loaded and grounded out to end the inning.

Is that blood?: At one point in the sixth inning, TV cameras showed the top of Darvish's thumb was cut and he was bleeding a bit. It didn't seem to bother him as he continued to pitch.

Nice arm: Astros catcher Jason Castro threw out two Rangers runners Friday. He got Andrus trying to steal after Andrus didn't get a good jump to end the third, and he nailed Martin on a pitch-out call to end the fifth.

Nice catch: Martin had the highlight of the night, making a diving catch to end the seventh inning.

Offensive issues: The Rangers couldn't do much with the bats, though they had some chances. The best might have been in the seventh, when the Rangers put two on with one out and had the bases loaded with two outs and couldn't score anything. Houston opted to intentionally walk Martin -- the first time that has happened in his young career -- to pitch to Wilson and Scott Feldman struck him out to end the frame. Give Feldman some credit. His curveball was working and he pitched very well only two days after his father died.

Hesitancy hurts: With Kouzmanoff at first, Moreland laced a ball to the gap in right-center in the second inning, but Kouzmanoff didn't get a good read on the ball and hesitated. He ended up at third base but might have had a chance to score had he been running right away. That put runners and second and third with one out, but J.P. Arencibia struck out, and Martin grounded out to end the threat.

Big hand for Nolan: Ryan, a Hall of Famer and former Rangers CEO, was at the ballpark on Friday night and sat next to former president George W. Bush in the owner's box (his usual place from the past handful of seasons). He was shown on the video board between innings early in the game and received a standing ovation (while "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" played as background music).

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Phillies 3

April, 2, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's early, and yet the Texas Rangers already have a penchant for comebacks in 2014.

For the second consecutive game, the Rangers found a way to score the runs they needed in the ninth and took the series from the Philadelphia Phillies with a 4-3 win.

Some quick thoughts:

Comeback kids: Down two runs in the ninth, Adrian Beltre started the comeback with a single. Jim Adduci's pinch-hit single scored Beltre to make it a one-run game. Leonys Martin scored Mitch Moreland, who hit a double earlier in the inning, to tie the score. Then Shin-Soo Choo ended up delivering with a patient walk with the bases loaded to win the game. It was the Rangers' first walk=off walk since 1999.

Early chance goes awry: The Rangers had a terrific opportunity to score early runs and grab the lead on Wednesday and couldn't get the job done. Singles by Choo and Elvis Andrus and an errant throw by right fielder Marlon Byrd put them at second and third with no outs. The key at-bat was Prince Fielder's. He got the count to 3-2, then took a swing at a pitch out of the zone and struck out. Beltre's ground ball back to the mound wasn't fielded well by Kyle Kendrick, but Choo's hesitation got him caught in a rundown. Choo stayed in it long enough to allow both runners to move up, but with two outs, Alex Rios' ball to deep center was caught. Just like that, the Rangers got nothing.

Ross vs. lefties: One of the big questions going into the game was whether Robbie Ross could retire left-handed hitters consistently -- something he didn't do last year. He left a slider in the middle of the plate to Ryan Howard, who crushed it 411 feet to right-center for a two-run shot to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead in the third. And of his seven hits allowed, three of them came off the five left-handers that Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg had in the lineup.

Decent debut: No, Ross didn't dominate the Phillies and he wasn't efficient, throwing 96 pitches in five innings. But Rangers manager Ron Washington wanted Ross to keep his team in the game. He did that; he just couldn't get any help from his offense. Ross pitched out of some jams and ended up with a career-high seven strikeouts. Ross had at least two men on base in every inning, yet limited the damage. All in all, not a bad first start.

Two-out RBI: Martin had a two-out RBI single to right in the seventh inning, scoring the Rangers' first run. It scored Moreland, who hit the third triple of his career, diving into third base ahead of the throw on a ball hit to the right-center gap.

Velocity up, control down: Pedro Figueroa's first four pitches on to Chase Utley were in the mid-to-high 90s. They also were all balls. But with one out and a runner at first, Howard smoked a Figueroa fastball right into the Fielder's glove for a double play.

Solid Seth: Rangers reliever Seth Rosin came in for the eighth and ninth and pitched well, allowing one hit and no runs in both frames. Rosin has tossed three scoreless frames so far this season.

More for Moreland: After a rough start to the season, Moreland found his stroke late in Wednesday's game. He had a triple in the seventh and a double in the ninth.

Up next: The Rangers are off on Thursday before heading to Florida for a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays. The pitching matchups:

Friday, 6:10 p.m. CT: LHP Joe Saunders vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi
Saturday, 6:10 p.m. CT: RHP Nick Martinez vs. LHP David Price
Sunday, 12:40 p.m. CT: RHP Yu Darvish vs. RHP Alex Cobb

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Phillies 2

April, 1, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre's walk-off single to right scored Shin-Soo Choo with the winning run as the Texas Rangers got their first victory of 2014, 3-2 over the Philadelphia Phillies. Some quick thoughts on the game:

Clutch: Beltre delivered in big moments twice on Monday, something he did with regularity last season. With two outs and a runner at third in the seventh, Beltre doubled the other way to score the tying run. Beltre was tops in the league last year with a .416 average in the "close and late" stat, which is how a batter fares when his team is leading by one, tied or has the tying run on base. He had two hits and two RBIs in those situations on Monday, including the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth.

Bullpen lineup: With a close game, manager Ron Washington lined up the bullpen the way he wanted to in the later stages. That was Jason Frasor to finish off the sixth and pitch the seventh, lefty Neal Cotts in the eighth and closer Joakim Soria in the ninth. They all did the job, allowing no runs on one hit with one walk and four strikeouts in 3 ⅓ innings.

Choo vs. lefty: The Phillies sent a steady diet of left-handed pitchers out against Choo on Monday and it worked. On Tuesday, they opted to take righty A.J. Burnett out and put lefty Jake Diekman in with Choo leading off the seventh and Choo punched a ground ball single to left. He ended up scoring on Beltre's two-out double to right. Choo had just a .215 average against lefties last season.

Perez solid: Martin Perez left with a deficit, but that doesn't change the fact that he pitched well overall in his first start of 2014. The lefty allowed two runs -- both in the sixth -- on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He was locked in a scoreless contest with Burnett until the sixth, when he allowed a leadoff double to Cesar Hernandez and then surrendered hits to three of the next five batters he faced. Perez's slider and changeup were excellent and he attacked the strike zone, something he talked about before the start.

Getting in replay flow: The Rangers challenged one play in the sixth inning on Tuesday and won it, getting the call overturned. You can read more about that here. But to me, what was more interesting was watching how the mechanics worked as the club decided whether or not to challenge. Earlier in the sixth, Washington showed how slowly he can walk to chat with an umpire so that Joey Prebynski could look at the replays. They showed the umpires got it right, so Washington looked in the dugout and got a sign from someone (likely bench coach Tim Bogar) not to challenge, and didn't. Later in the inning, walking slowly yet again, Washington got the go sign and the Rangers won the challenge. That's how you do it.

Missed opportunities: Prince Fielder came up with runners at first and second and no outs in the third inning and wasn't able to convert, popping up in foul territory near the Phillies' dugout. Beltre then hit into a fielder's choice and Alex Rios lined out to second base to end the frame. ... Fielder smoked a two-out double in the fifth -- the bat speed was extremely fast -- and Beltre hit a ball to one of the deepest parts of the stadium, but it was caught against the wall to end the frame.

Briefly: Former president George W. Bush was on hand, sitting in the owner's box. It was odd not seeing Nolan Ryan down there with him as the two have watched a fair number of games together at Globe Life Park since Bush left office. ... Catcher Robinson Chirinos, playing in his first game of the season, showed off his arm in the second, getting Jayson Nix trying to get to second base. It appeared to be a botched hit-and-run attempt, but Chirinos made a terrific throw that had Nix out by a lot.

Up next: LHP Robbie Ross is on the mound for the Rangers as they take on the Phillies and RHP Kyle Kendrick in the final game of a three-game series, which starts at 7:05 p.m. at Globe Life Park. Ross has been in the bullpen the past two seasons and now will get a shot to start for the first time since making six starts for Double-A Frisco in 2011. Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Rangers Rule 5 draft pick Russell Wilson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Buzz: Magadan keeping faith in hitters

September, 16, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan offered his take on the Rangers scoring some early runs some time soon, like starting Monday night.

"I'm in favor of it," Magadan said. "I'm not against it."

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.

Listen Listen
The Rangers just completed a six-game homestand in which they went 54 innings without holding a lead. They've trailed at the end of 34 consecutive innings going back to Wednesday against Pittsburgh. They haven't led since last Sunday in Anaheim against the Angels.

So Magadan would happliy make scoring early runs a part of his hitting philosophy.

"It would be nice to jump out to a nice lead," Magadan said. "The guys know that. They hear it all the time. They realize what's at stake and what we're going through. I have confidence in our guys and we have to prove it."

Magadan was the hitting coach for a Boston Red Sox team that collapsed in 2011 and missed the playoffs, but he said that season wasn't anything like what the Rangers' offense is going through.

"It was different," Magadan said. "It's something you don't forget. I don't think frustrating is the right word (for what the Rangers are dealing with). Baseball's a funny game. It's not an easy game. It's why these guys get paid a lot of money to do it. They know what they need to do to get out of it. There are so many variables as a hitter. Like (Sunday) I thought we had some pretty good at-bats."

Magadan pointed to an at-bat by Ian Kinsler with two runners on when he lined out to A's right fielder Josh Reddick. Joey Butler and Jim Adduci also had good at-bats. Adduci had three hits.

Magadan said it's important for his players to have a good approach and try not to change too much. He came to the Rangers stressing a hitting approach of "doing the little things a lot." He wanted to see the Rangers be as versatile on offense -- whether it's hitting home runs or stealing bases -- to generate runs as they were when they reached the World Series in 2010 and 2011.

It just hasn't happened. The Rangers haven't hit a home run in six straight games. They're 12th in the American League with runners in scoring position with a .251 average. They've batted .225 in the last 15 games and the Rangers have won twice.

It hasn't been the first season Magadan thought it would be in Texas, but he refuses to stop believing.

"Certainly the first year with the team, you want everything to go great," Magadan said. "It would be nice to be not only at the top of the standings, but doing a good job offensively. As a hitting coach, it's not so much scoring a lot of runs, you don't want the offense to be the reason you're not winning games."

But Magadan says he's still confident his hitters will turn things around in these final 14 games.

"We have as tough a group of guys as anybody in baseball," Magadan said. "They've been through a lot, young guys that are learning to make it through the tough times. They learn from the veteran guys. We have a good group of guys that talk to our young guys. There's a respect factor there."

Manager Ron Washington defended Magadan and all of his coaches, saying it's everyone's responsibility.

"He believes in our guys. He believes in every one of those guys," Washington said. "It comes down to a point where you have to stop looking for reasons and start seeing what the reasons are for real. In our last nine ballgames, no coach has had anything to do with those games. It's not just the coaches. It's all of us. It's all of us. When things go wrong, the coaches, the players, everybody is responsible. It's not just the coaches."

Fifth-starter: Washington said he'll decide about Tuesday's starter after Monday's game with Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch, Travis Blackley and Ross Wolf all candidates to make the start.

Ogando would seem like the best candidate, but Washington said he'd likely be able to go only three innings after returning from the disabled list to the bullpen. Tepesch would be good for five innings.

Ogando has impressed in his return with his velocity back to 95-96 mph and his slider is working again. He has six scoreless innings in four games since coming back from his third stint on the DL For shoulder inflammation.

"He's been throwing the ball well," Washington said. "The issue that he had when he was on the DL cleared itself up. And now he has freedom and now his arm is swinging better and that's why his velocity is better. He doesn't feel uncomfortable. He even has more bite on his slider. It's snapping, not spinning."

Players-only meeting: The Rangers had a players-only meeting before Monday's game, one that manager Ron Washington was happy about, but also responded to by saying, "I hope they've figured it out."

And then?

"Go out there and do it," Washington said. "I don't give a damn what they said, I want them to go out there and do it. It comes down to getting a win."

The meeting lasted for about 15 minutes and ended with the players coming out in good spirits.

"Everybody is back on the same page," outfielder David Murphy said. "We're ready to basically give everything we have and throw our best game out there for the last 14."

Short hops: Adduci is the man in left field against right-handers, which means Murphy will be coming off the bench. "If I can find it for the remaining 14 games, for whatever opportunities I get, it's going to be a huge opportunity to help the team," Murphy said. "So I'm going to do whatever I can." ... Lance Berkman started Monday's game at designated hitter and with right-handers going for Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday -- Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Archer -- we might see more of the veteran if his health and swing hold up.

Extra Bases: Andrus still searching for groove

June, 19, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers hope shortstop Elvis Andrus has his energy back. They need his bat back too.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski joins GAC to share how the Rangers are continuing to "fight the fight" through a tough stretch of games.

Listen Listen
Andrus was given a day off by manager Ron Washington and didn't play in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to Oakland.

Andrus said before the game that he doesn't have his normal energy. It's shown at the plate, where he's never found a groove this season and has struggled of late in particular.

Since a five-hit game against Detroit on May 18, Andrus is batting .167 over a 25-game stretch. He snapped an 0-for-12 stretch with a base-loaded single in the ninth inning Sunday. He was ejected for the second time in his career on Friday.

Andrus, usually clutch, is batting .186 in his last 56 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He did say Tuesday he has identified his problem.

The Spurs had a championship in their hands, but melted down late in Game 6. Fitzsimmons & Durrett flash back to one of the most gut-wrenching moments in DFW sports history, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, and compare it to San Antonio's meltdown.

Listen Listen
"I just need to stay back on the ball," Andrus said, "And use my hands."

Andrus said he would work with new hitting coach Dave Magadan, whom he trusts will help him locate his stroke.

"He is great to work with," Andrus said.

Other notes:

  • Outfielder Leonys Martin has been successful on nine straight stolen base attempts. He has 10 steals in 28 games after none in the first 32 games. His confidence is bursting. "I love the base-running part of the game," Martin said Tuesday. He is batting .364 over the last seven games.

  • Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is batting .349 in 24 games since being activated from the disabled list with an oblique injury.

  • Ranger starters have gone 17 games without a victory, the longest drought in club history. Justin Grimm was the last starter to win, back on May 30 against Arizona.
  • Buzz: Magadan still confident in his guys

    June, 15, 2013
    PM CT
    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan said Saturday that he has confidence in all of his hitters and that he expects the club's beleaguered offense to get going.

    The Rangers have scored five runs in four games. They had been held scoreless for 16 innings since Nelson Cruz's solo home run in the second inning on Thursday night entering Saturday's game against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The Rangers have gone 13 straight games with 10 or fewer hits, the longest streak for the club since 15 in a row in 1988. They are batting .167 with runners in scoring position.

    It's gotten that bad.

    "It's definitely a bump in the road," Magadan said. "Everyone goes through it. We have to keep it at a minimum."

    The Rangers can start by putting some hits together. They have had back-to-back hits once in each of the past three games. Twice the first hit has been a solo home run. The last time the Rangers had consecutive hits when one wasn't a home run was in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Cleveland when Leonys Martin had a single and Jurickson Profar a double in the bottom of the eighth.

    The last time they had three straight hits was in the top of the fifth of Sunday's 6-4 victory at Toronto.

    "It's a matter of stringing some good at-bats together," Magadan said. "We haven't done that the last week, week and a half."

    Magadan said the solution to the Rangers' woes is simple -- stay selective and, as a hitter, swing at your pitch.

    "It begins and ends with getting good pitches to hit," Magadan said. "We have to be ready the first pitch or the fifth pitch. If it's the first pitch, you have to be ready to hit it."

    Leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, who was batting .302 before a rib cage injury sidelined him on May 19, returned to the lineup Saturday. First baseman Mitch Moreland, who has 12 home runs, is on schedule to return Friday in St. Louis.

    The reinforcements will help, Magadan said, but this needs to be a group effort.

    "We can't depend on one of those guys to get us out of this," Magadan said. "It has to be a concerted effort on everyone's part."

    Moreland ready: First baseman Moreland ran the bases for the first time as he gets closer to coming off the 15-day disabled list on Friday in St. Louis.

    Moreland, rehabbing a strained right hamstring, will begin a rehab assignment soon.

    "I'm ready to go," Moreland said.

    Baker won't need DL: Rangers manager Ron Washington said Jeff Baker won't need to go on the 15-day disabled list for his sprained right thumb.

    Baker suffered the injury during a poorly executed high five during Thursday's pregame ceremonies. The Rangers had a sign posted in their dugout Saturday that "no pre-game hand shakes today."

    McGuiness new to knuckler: Rangers first baseman Chris McGuiness has never faced a knuckleball pitcher in a game, so he said he had a plan for his first at-bat Saturday against Toronto's R.A. Dickey.

    "See one for sure," McGuiness said.

    Garcia needs to play: Washington said that utilityman Leury Garcia will benefit from getting to play every day at Triple-A Round Rock. He was the odd man out with Profar staying on the team after Ian Kinsler was activated.

    "Leury needs to play," Washington said. "His game has been going backwards."

    Buzz: Magadan asks hitters to relax with runners on

    May, 3, 2013
    PM CT
    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Hitting coach Dave Magadan's message to his players as they struggle with runners in scoring position -- depend on each other.

    Setting aside the Rangers' 10-6 eruption against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, the Rangers have scored five runs in four games, all losses.

    The Rangers were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in Thursday's 3-1 loss, including a crushing inning-ending double play by cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre with the bases loaded and the go-ahead run at first base. Beltre has been the biggest surprise of the early season struggles, going 4-for-34 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers as a team are batting .247 with runners in scoring position.

    “We’re not doing a very good job with guys on base,” Magadan said. “We’re getting guys on but we’ve got guys pressing with men on base. We had a meeting about it. It didn’t pay off right away but I think we’re all on the same page. We have to have a pass-the-baton mentality, don’t feel you have to be the guy that does it."

    It's not just on Beltre. The Rangers are 3-for-26 with runners in scoring position for the four losses. They had several opportunities in Thursday's games despite three hits with seven walks and a hit batter. But the Rangers couldn't get a clutch hit, especially in the final two innings.

    "Approach-wise has been fine," manager Ron Washington said. "There's some guys up there you can say that are still having some rhythm trouble or sometimes chasing in situations where a maybe a walk would have been good for them. That's consistent for baseball."

    Magadan wants his hitters to be patient at the plate.

    “If you don’t get a good pitch to hit, have confidence that the guy behind you will get it done," Magadan said. "It’s a work in progress. We’ve got a lot of confidence in our guys. We just need to get them to relax and let their talent rise to the top.”

    Other Rangers notes for Friday:

    Antsy to end slump: Left fielder David Murphy hasn't started a game since Sunday in Minnesota against Twins right-hander starter Kevin Correia. He walked in the ninth inning of Thursday's game after entering the game as a defensive replacement for Jeff Baker.

    Murphy has one hit in his last 15 at-bats. His average has been below .200 since he went 1-for-3 on opening day. It's been stuck at .176 as he waits to get back in the starting lineup, which will happen Saturday against John Lackey, unless he is scratched like Chicago's Jake Peavy was on Thursday.

    "These are definitely numbers that are not fun to sit on," Murphy said. "Everything happens for a reason. I've used it as an opportunity to take a little break mentally and physically and to prepare for this next stretch."

    Murphy said he is a hitter who thinks his way out of a slump rather than taking a lot of extra batting practice.

    "I think about what I'm doing up there," Murphy said. "Everything starts with a thought."

    Napoli speaks:
    Ex-Ranger Mike Napoli held court with the media before Friday's game and while he said he was excited to see his old teammates -- he gave Beltre a huge bear hug -- he wants to win for his new team the Red Sox.

    He did admit it won't be the same as playing against his first team, the Los Angeles Angels, who Napoli crushed for two seasons in Texas.

    "I don't think I have as much sports hate for the Rangers as I have for the Angels," Napoli said.

    Poor baserunning: Mitch Moreland's out on the bases in Thursday's game was the latest mistake the Rangers have made in the last week. It's well known it's an area of the game that they pride themselves on being as good as any team in baseball.

    Washington guaranteed that the Rangers will be seen as good base running team before this season is all said and done. And he wants his players to stay aggressive.

    "I don't want a passive team," Washington said. "We just have to think a little bit and react to what you see."

    Reminder for Saturday: Saturday's game is at 7:05 p.m. Some early versions of the Rangers schedule had an afternoon start time, but it's a 7:05 first pitch.
  • The good news for Leonys Martin is that Ron Washington said the 25-year-old center fielder is his pet project this season.

    The bad news: Washington will be critiquing his every move - good or bad - in hopes that he can extract all of his talent.

    ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to give his take on the Texas Rangers' controversy in the front office.

    Listen Listen
    When the Rangers talk about somehow being a better offensive club despite losing Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, who combined for 67 home runs and 184 RBIs, they’re expecting players such as Martin to step up.

    He’s the kind of guy who can single, go first to third on another base hit and score on a groundout. But he also has enough power to generate some extra base hits and turn those into runs.

  • Coach Gary Pettis, who earned five gold gloves as a player, will also be hounding Martin about his defense. Center field in Rangers Ballpark is vast. Misplaying balls can be disastrous.

    The Rangers have invested $15.5 million in Martin, but that won’t help him win the job. It’s more an indication the Rangers believe he has tremendous potential and the ability to make Hamilton's absence just a little less painful.

    Of course, the Rangers also have Craig Gentry, who played well last season and could be part of a platoon in center field with Martin.

  • Part of the reason the Rangers haven’t signed Kyle Lohse is because they believe he’s slightly better than just a guy.

    Lohse is 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA the last two seasons, but that’s in a NL pitcher’s park.

    While it’s obvious the Rangers will need more than five starters, they’re not interested in giving a 34-year-old pitcher a multi-year deal worth about $14 million a year and sacrificing a first-round pick.

    They checked into Detroit’s Rick Porcello because he’s a younger, cheaper option with more upside, but he might not be in the rotation either when Colby Lewis returns. The Rangers believe -- based on doctors' reports -- that Lewis will return to the rotation in late May.

  • One reason the Rangers moved Gary Pettis from first base coach to third base coach is because Ron Washington wants the club to be even more aggressive running the bases.

    Washington doesn’t just want the Rangers going from first to third regularly, he wants the team being aggressive from second to home and first to home.

    He also wants the Rangers stealing bases again, regardless of how pitchers use slide steps and pickoff attempts to stop them. Recognizing pitch sequence is one way to do it. That’s a fancy way of saying the Rangers need to run more on breaking-ball counts.

  • Dave Magadan’s job is to convince hitters that situational hitting and execution is the most important aspect of their job.

    It’s not homers and RBIs. It’s not on-base percentage. It’s moving runners over, getting runners home from third with less than one out. It’s doing all of the little things that result in scoring runs and doesn't require the ball to be hit out of the ballpark.
  • Magadan's message: 'Do little things a lot'

    February, 21, 2013
    AM CT
    SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The wet and chilly weather Wednesday morning gave hitting coach Dave Magadan a chance to have his first full group meeting with his hitters since spring training began.

    As the Rangers work toward Opening Day, Ben & Skin discuss what's happening at spring training and Ben gives his confidence meter.

    Listen Listen
    His message, as translated by manager Ron Washington: "Do the little things a lot."

    Magadan has worked with each hitter in camp, but he hadn't had a chance to talk to them as a group yet. He stressed what he wanted the Rangers' offense to be, one that is as versatile as it was in 2010 and 2011.

    "It was an introductory meeting where we addressed who we are now, what happened at the end of last year and what we can do to get back to what we do," right fielder David Murphy said. "That's being a well-rounded team and doing the little things better. There were some guys, and Magadan was one of them, that talked about how our team was looked at from the outside.

    "When he was with the Red Sox, we were viewed as a team that could beat you in a lot of different ways. We could hit the long ball. We hit for average. We saw a lot of pitches. We didn't strike out a lot. We didn't swing at balls out of the zone. We ran the bases well. There were a lot of good things that made us a scary offense and a scary team. Toward the end of the season last year we got away from those things. We weren't as consistent at them."

    Magadan has impressed players so far with how hard he works and his knowledge of the swing.

    "He's in the cages at 7:30 every morning when guys are walking in from the parking lot," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "He's already in the cage, waiting on us. As a player, to have that it's very comforting. You know where his head's at. It's just nice to have a guy around that has the tremendous amount of experience he has.

    "He's one of those guys that you feel like you've known him for a while. He's very easy going. He's trying to figure out his players and get an understanding for the way he needs approach certain guys."



    Adrian Beltre
    .324 19 77 79
    HRA. Beltre 19
    RBIA. Beltre 77
    RA. Beltre 79
    OPSA. Beltre .879
    WC. Lewis 10
    ERAC. Lewis 5.18
    SOY. Darvish 182