Texas Rangers: Texas Rangers

Rangers lose reliever to Toronto

December, 23, 2014
Dec 23
Left-handed reliever Scott Barnes was claimed on outright waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays and right-handed reliever Ben Rowen has cleared unconditional release waivers and becomes a free agent.

On Dec. 16, Barnes and Rowen were designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers received Barnes from the Baltimore Orioles on a Dec. 8 waiver claim and Rowen, who made eight relief outings for the Rangers in 2014, spent the majority of the season with Triple-A Round Rock.

Rowen made 34 relief appearances for Round Rock.

Jurickson Profar working to get healthy

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
DALLAS -- Jurickson Profar, who turns 22 in February, doesn’t want to miss another year of baseball. He just can’t do it.

Profar missed the 2014 season with the Texas Rangers as the flexibility in his shoulders grew unstable. He tried rehab last season and was shut down three times and won’t throw again until next month. There would be times you would see Profar early in the afternoon at the ballpark, before the ushers were in place, fielding ground balls, throwing lightly and talking about how he felt.

[+] EnlargeJurickson Profar
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsJurickson Profar is working hard to be able to play this season for the Rangers.
Rangers President/GM, Jon Daniels said the club rushed Profar back and that it was a mistake. Nobody is rushing him back now.

“We have more time,” Profar said. “We don’t have any baseball to play right now. I’m working hard everyday and I’m feeling good.”

A doctor said surgery would help solve the problem quicker than lifting weights and doing flexibility training.

“I don’t want to do that,” Profar said of the surgery. “I don’t want to lose another year of baseball.”

The Rangers have a surplus of talent in the middle infield at the minor league and big league level. According to Baseball America, the Rangers have two middle infielders, Josh Morgan and Luis Sardinas, listed among the top 10 prospects in the organization.

On the big club, veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus, who has been the subject of trade rumors since the season ended, seems like a logical choice to trade. Though it also seems insane to trade such a talented player.

The Rangers are committed to Andrus playing everyday at short.

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Rangers talk to Angels about Josh Hamilton

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres have spoken to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim about trading for outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Rosenthal says the talks "were exploratory in nature and they did not gain traction."

A Rangers source said the Rangers did speak with the Angels but acquiring Hamilton is out of the question.

Several reasons are at play here:

Money: Hamilton is owed $90.2 million through the 2017 season. If any team decides to trade for him, the Angels would have to take on a significant chunk of the remaining salary. The Rangers are not in the mood to pick up high-ticket items.

Declining play: Hamilton was limited to 89 games last season due to thumb surgery, minor ailments and a self-imposed benching. Hamilton's numbers were .263/.331/.414 in 2014, and you could say those figures are related to his health poor mental state.

It could also be the end of Hamilton as an elite slugging outfielder. In 2008, Hamilton led all of baseball with 130 RBIs, and in his MVP season of 2010, Hamltion hit .359 had a slugging percentage of .633 and an OPS of 1.044. He achieved those numbers with the Rangers and has been on a decline ever since.

Drama: There's never a dull moment with Hamilton, from his eye problems with the Rangers related to too much caffeine, his little bar episode, needing an escort for road games and quitting on the team toward the end of the 2012 season. To go there again would be difficult to handle. However, if a player such as Hamilton is producing big numbers on the field, teams can deal with all the drama because, well, he's a playmaker.

To say the Rangers are remotely interested is a polite way of saying the Angels wanted to give the Rangers a first shot at re-acquiring him because they know him.

When Rangers president/GM Jon Daniels was asked did his phone ring regarding Hamilton he said, ""A little bit, yeah a little bit."

Rangers move two relief pitchers

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
The Rangers designated two relief pitchers for assignment Tuesday night to clear roster space for the free-agent signings of starter Colby Lewis and reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.

Left-hander Scott Barnes and right-hander Ben Rowen were designated for assignment. The club has 10 days to trade, release or outright Barnes and Rowen to the minor leagues.

The Rangers now have a full 40-man roster with the additions of Lewis and Fujikawa.

Barnes was picked up from Baltimore on a waiver claim during the winter meetings and Rowen spent the bulk of the season with Triple-A Round Rock.

Rangers building depth in bullpen

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
With the signing of right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa on Tuesday, the Texas Rangers made another small baseball statement, not a sexy one -- build the bullpen.

Neftali Feliz is the closer, but given his velocity issues after returning from Tommy John surgery last season, there’s nothing wrong with having a backup.

Fujikawa is backup.

He was mainly a setup man with the Chicago Cubs in two brief seasons but now recovered from Tommy John surgery, Fujikawa adds to a young bullpen.

“I think with Kyuji at the same token with his experience and ability he can pitch on the back end,” Rangers president/GM Jon Daniels said on a conference call Tuesday. “You’re going to need multiple guys over the course of the season that have the ability to pitch late in a game. We’re just trying to pick up the bullpen a little bit.”

The Rangers also have Robbie Ross Jr., who wrestled back and forth in the starting rotation, along with Tanner Scheppers, who just started to throw on flat ground recently as he recovers from arm troubles, as potential mainstays with Feliz.

Spencer Patton, Roman Mendez, Phil Klein and Alex Claudio are other young pitchers who expect to give manager Jeff Banister an opportunity to mix and match in his bullpen, if they should make the roster.

Of course, the Rangers could return lefty Neal Cotts to the team, but as the offseason continues a reunion seems less likely.

This latest addition comes with risks because you just don’t know about a pitcher once he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Some pitchers return fine, good as new. Other pitchers are never the same.

Feliz’s velocity was great some days, so-so on other days. During the season he spoke of needing to pitch almost every day to build arm strength so that blazing fastball he once had regained its power.

Thanks to Brooks Baseball's charting of pitches, we can see that Fujikawa's velocity was higher before the surgery, which is natural. Last season, Fujikawa's fastball averaged 91.4 mph, lower than his pre-Tommy John surgery velocity of 93.3. The sinker and cutter were basically the same in terms of velocity.

“It’s a lot better than it was before the surgery,” Fujikawa said of his arm strength. “Earlier in the (2013) season when I joined the Chicago Cubs I hurt my arm and it lingered a little bit. But it feels a lot better now than before I had the surgery.”

Rangers looking for more ground balls

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
When you evaluate what the Rangers are looking for in terms of a starting pitcher this offseason, ground balls become a constant theme.

With the Rangers trading for left-handed starter Ross Detwiler, they get a man who had fairly decent ground ball-to-fly ball and groundout-to-air out ratios.

GM Jon Daniels said Detwiler uses a sinking fastball designed to give the left side of the infield plenty of work. Detwiler also throws a four-seam fastball, changeup, curveball and has worked on a cutter.

In 2013, Detwiler’s last year as a starter, he threw first pitch strikes 55.7 percent of the time and had a GB/FB radio of 0.88 and GO/AO ratio of 1.33. In comparison, Yu Darvish had a GB/FB ratio of 0.72 and a GO/AO of 0.91 in the 2013 season.

And this offseason the Rangers have sought after pitchers who keep the ball down.

Justin Masterson, who signed a free-agent contract with Boston, was on the Rangers’ radar. In 2013, Masterson led the majors in GB/FB (1.45) and GO/AO (2.10). Tyson Ross, another pitcher the Rangers had interest in trading for, was second in the big leagues in GB/FB (1.39) and GO/AO (2.07).

Colby Lewis led the Rangers' starting rotation in GB/FB (0.50) and GO/AO (0.60) because he pitched more innings than Darvish.

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Rangers sign Kyle Blanks to minor league deal

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports the Texas Rangers have signed left fielder/DH Kyle Blanks to a minor league contract. It's a split contract where he'll receive a $1 million base salary with the potential to earn $600,000 in performance bonuses if he's on the big league roster.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels is determined to create competition and depth on a roster that needs it behind established veterans Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo.

Blanks played in just 26 games last season between Oakland and San Diego batting .309/.409/.436 while also dealing with injuries.

He's a power hitter and someone who could give DH Mitch Moreland some competition at that position in spring training.

The Rangers are also in the final stages of signing reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. Fujikawa has to pass a physical and the club needs to make a move before adding him to the 40-man roster.

The Texas Rangers are finalizing a deal to sign right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, according to a source.

At the just-completed winter meetings in San Diego, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team was going to sign a right-handed reliever but the deal wouldn't be finished until next week.

Fujikawa must pass a physical, and the club must clear a spot on the 40-man roster before the deal can be final.

Fujikawa pitched for the Chicago Cubs the past two seasons, appearing in 27 games; Chicago declined a $5.5 million club option this offseason. The 34-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013.

Fujikawa pitched in the final two months of the 2014 season for the Cubs, appearing in 15 games. He finished with a 4.85 ERA and 17 strikeouts to 6 walks.

Ross Detwiler looks for fresh start

December, 12, 2014
Dec 12
This offseason seems to be about fresh starts.

We start with Joe Maddon leaving the small market Tampa Bay Rays and moving to the now big-budgeted Chicago Cubs to manage.

There’s Jimmy Rollins getting traded from the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies to have a shot at another ring with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Matt Kemp leaves the world of the Dodgers and the temperamental Yasiel Puig for the calmness of the San Diego Padres.

On a smaller scale, depending on your perspective, the Texas Rangers were also involved in these fresh starts. The team traded two minor leaguers to the Washington Nationals for left-handed starter Ross Detwiler on the last day of the winter meetings.

Detwiler needs a fresh start.

He wants to start, but in the middle of spring training last season the Nats decided to place him in the bullpen. He participated in 47 games and compiled a 4.00 ERA. He finished tied for fifth in the NL in pitches per game in relief (22) and fifth overall in average outs per game in relief (4.0).

But Detwiler has a yearning to become a starter, and this trade allows him to do that.

“I think it’s a fresh start and a chance to start over and be a starter again,” Detwiler said. “Washington had a ton of great arms and a lot of them had success, and I felt like I was the odd man out there. Now I get to move to a team that traded for me, which means they wanted me and they can put some runs on the board and they can play defense.”

In 69 career starts, Detwiler is 17-29 with a 4.02 ERA. The most innings he’s ever pitched was 151 in 2012. The next season he was limited to just 13 starts because he endured back problems in the second half of the season.

Washington does have a boatload of talented starters and it was easy to push Detwiler to the pen. He was left off the postseason roster too, and while he didn’t request a trade, it’s pretty easy to assume he wanted to do something else.

“I don’t look at it as if (Washington) was giving me up,” Detwiler said. “I looked at it as if the Rangers really wanted me and they were willing to give up some of their prospects for me, so I’m very appreciative for both sides. I think this will be a better fit for me.”

He's part of a group of starters looking to become the No. 3 or No. 4 man in the rotation that also fields Colby Lewis, another middle-of-the-rotation type of pitcher.

Detwiler said he’s not motivated to prove people in Washington they were wrong for letting him go, understanding it’s more about the business side of baseball. If you have somebody better than the other guy, use him. The other guy gets traded, demoted or is given his unconditional release.

In Detwiler’s case, he was traded and now is presented with an opportunity to help a team looking for starting pitching in the second and third tiers of the trade and free-agent marketplace.

“It’s well-documented that he wants to start,” GM Jon Daniels said. “He’s motivated and he has internal drive, and internal motivation is usually a good thing.”

Rangers not done looking for pitching

December, 12, 2014
Dec 12
Before you start writing down what the Texas Rangers five-man starting rotation is going to look like, GM Jon Daniels said on a conference call with reporters Friday morning that the trade for left-hander Ross Detwiler doesn’t mean the front office has stopped searching for starting pitching.

“We’re still open to adding additional starting depth,” Daniels said. “We've got a number of internal options coming to compete for a spot, all of them that we like. But you can never have enough and we’ll continue having conversations about adding another starter.”

The Rangers traded two minor leaguers for Detwiler, who pitched in the bullpen last season for the Washington Nationals and now will be given a chance to work from the rotation.

Daniels said he likes that Detwiler induces plenty of ground balls, and named former left-handed starters such as Kenny Rogers and C.J. Wilson and current lefty starter Derek Holland as pitchers Detwiler could emulate. The left side of the infield -- Adrian Beltre (third base) and Elvis Andrus (shortstop) -- is expected to get plenty of work with Detwiler on the mound, if he wins a rotation spot, because of how he spots his pitches.

The Rangers, as it stands, have four veteran starters: Yu Darvish, Holland, Colby Lewis and Detwiler. This doesn’t include the possibility of Nick Martinez and Nick Tepesch, who pitched as starters last season for the club, earning a spot.

Minor leaguers Luke Jackson and Alex Gonzalez will get a shot in spring training to win a gig. Martin Perez (Tommy John) and Matt Harrison (back) who won’t be around until after the season starts.

Daniels is confident the club will add another veteran starter from free agency or by trade and has been in discussions with a number of teams for one.

“It does take the edge off a little bit,” Daniels said of the Detwiler trade. “I think Ross will come in and give us innings as a starter. As I said, you can never have enough.”

Winter meetings winners and losers

December, 12, 2014
Dec 12
ESPN's Jayson Stark did a breakdown of the winter meetings winners and losers this morning.

Both of Chicago's baseball teams and the Los Angeles Dodgers were deemed winners of the meetings. Getting Jon Lester (Cubs), picking up a new double-play combination (Dodgers) led by shortstop Jimmy Rollins helps.

Stark listed Rangers AL West rival Oakland as a loser for trading Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija.

Did the Rangers come out as winners or losers from the winter meetings?

There were plenty of discussions with teams regarding trades and agents about players. The Rangers did meet with free agent pitcher James Shields, but that was more about kicking the tires than offering a contract.

We've discovered that left-handed starter Matt Harrison and second baseman Jurickson Profar will be behind in spring training in their recovery from injuries.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels revealed the club wouldn't trade for a high-priced corner outfielder with one year remaining on the contract. It's a slight change from what was said in the early portion of the offseason. Money isn't the issue, the Rangers have just placed a higher priority on finding a No. 3 starter and a backup catcher.

New manager Jeff Banister said his lineup hasn't been formulated yet, of course -- it's just December -- but noted that maybe Shin-Soo Choo, the main ledoff man in 2014, could return there again. Banister also said he wants his pitchers to throw inside.

The Rangers weren't planning on becoming big players in the winter meetings, at least in regards to signing high-priced free agents, but after plenty of all day and night discussions the Rangers did a few things at the meetings:

1. As the club was leaving San Diego, it acquired left handed pitcher Ross Detwiler in a trade with Washington. Detwiler, who was a reliever with the Nationals, will get a look as a starter with the Rangers. All it took to get him were two minor leaguers.

2. The Rule-5 draft provided a little excitement as the Rangers selected Delino DeShields with the third pick in the major league phase. DeShields will play center field and give the Rangers some speed and depth in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies took shortstop Odubel Herrera in the minor league portion of the draft.

3. Daniels said the club is close on adding a right-handed reliever from the free agent pool. The deal won't get finalized until next week.

Should the Rangers have done more?

Patience is the key for the Rangers

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
SAN DIEGO -- The Texas Rangers leave the winter meetings without making a major move to upgrade their roster.

A small move was made Thursday afternoon when the club traded two minor leaguers to the Washington Nationals for left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels wasn't expected to make a major trade or signing this winter.

"Looking ahead, we have good players around our core," Daniels said. "We've done that in a couple of small areas, certainly not the sexy moves. We do baseball moves. That's still our mindset."

The Rangers were in talks with several mid-level starting pitchers, something that was an objective in obtaining during the meetings. They were in talks with Arizona for left-handed starter Wade Miley, but he was traded to Baltimore.

Discussions about signing free agent right-handed starter Justin Masterson went nowhere as Boston snagged him when it lost Jon Lester. Detroit traded righty Rick Porcello to Boston, Shane Greene was traded to Detroit in a three-way deal, Brando McCarthy signed a free agent deal worth $48 million and Cincinnati traded Mat Latos to Miami.

This isn't to say the Rangers wanted all of these pitchers, but the high-end pitchers -- Max Scherzer, James Shields and Lester -- weren't going to get a look from anyone authorized to approve a contract from the Rangers.

"Those guys are off the lists, that simple," Daniels said.

Daniels will sign someone to the starting rotation and it won't be somebody names Shields or Scherzer. Now that next tier group of pitchers, No. 3 starters mainly, is thinning out. Even Daniels admitted that Thursday.

If anything, Daniels and his staff received confirmation from opposing clubs that the organization has valuable talent in the minor league system. Financially, the Rangers can do anything they want, but Daniels is taking a more responsible approach to spending money. It sounds like Daniels has an inner salary cap. He doesn't want to go more than $133 million, and he might have roughly $10 million to play with.

Why take on an additional $12-15 million in salary for a player who will be with you for one season? Waiting for the right deal seems like the smart play, at least for now.

"I think we’ll add to the group," Daniels said regarding starting pitching. "I couldn’t really characterized what well add. We'll have additional options when we get to spring training. There is value. We've been aggressive, we’ve traded prospects, spent money and they’ll be at times when the best move is to be patient."

You can blame a 100 things as to why the Rangers lost 95 games last season. The objective is to improve and Daniels is of the belief players such as Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland and Yu Darvish will return better than ever from physical ailments. And there is hope that Elvis Andrus will rebound from his down season and Adrian Beltre won't start a decline.

Daniels has confidence that new manager Jeff Banister has the ability to merge young and veteran players into a clubhouse, hold them accountable and get them through a 162-game season to contend for the AL West.

If pitchers with one or two years left on their contracts are still available at the trade deadline next July, fine, then maybe the Rangers will do something.

Today? Probably not.

Tomorrow? Probably not.

"I felt like patience is pretty important," he said. "This time around."

Rangers trade for Ross Detwiler

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
SAN DIEGO -- As the Texas Rangers front office was boarding a plane to head back to Dallas from the winter meetings, the club finalized a deal with the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon, sending two minor leaguers for left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler, according to multiple sources.

The Rangers won't announce the deal until the minor leaguers have been informed they were traded.

Update: The Rangers announced Friday morning they have traded infielder Chris Bostick and right-handed pitcher Abel De Los Santos for Detwiler. Bostick played in 130 games for High-A Myrtle Beach last season hitting .251 with 11 homers and 62 RBI. Bostick was acquired form Oakland in a three-player deal last December. De Los Santos had a 1.92 ERA with eight saves in 41 relief appearances for Class-A Hickory and Myrtle Beach. He was a non-drafted free agent signee.

Detwiler went 20-32 with a 3.82 ERA in seven seasons for the Nationals and started 40 games in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Last season, he pitched in 47 games as a relief pitcher, compiling a 4.00 ERA in 63 innings with a WHIP of 1.413 and a 1.86 strikeout/walk ratio.

The Rangers plan on giving Detwiler an opportunity to earn a spot on the starting rotation. As it stands, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis are in the rotation with the club trying to add a veteran starter and promote one of their minor league prospects to fill out the staff.

With the signing, the Rangers currently have filled the 40-man roster, but GM Jon Daniels said before the trade he plans on adding a right-handed reliever early next week.

Jurickson Profar doubtful for Opening Day

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
SAN DIEGO -- Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Thursday that several injured players' outlooks for spring training looks good, with the possible exception of one: Jurickson Profar.

The injured second baseman had his rehab stints shut down three times last season because of a lack of flexibility in his right shoulder, and now, Daniels said Profar, who is slated to start a throwing program in January, most likely will miss Opening Day.

"Probably not," Daniels said of Profar playing in the opener. "We’re not going to keep him as a utility player, he needs to play. He's missed a season of baseball and he's going to play everyday somewhere."

Profar missed the 2014 season with his shoulder injury and with that lost the starting job to Rougned Odor. Daniels admitted the Rangers made a mistake in Profar's rehab schedule last year.

"We probably were a little aggressive on it," Daniels said. "Looking back on it, being more conservative would have been more prudent."

There are still hopes for Profar, a highly-regarded prospect, to play at some point for the Rangers. Along with left-handed starter Matt Harrison (back), Profar will be behind the other players at his position when spring training starts.

The objective is to allow the rehab process help him get back on the field. If Profar undergoes surgery, he will miss the entire 2015 season, and that's something nobody wants.

"The doctors feel like he's on his way," Daniels said. "He just hasn’t picked up a ball yet but can't say with a certainty but it appears he's on his way to being healthy. "

Harrison hoping to return: Harrison, who has underwent three surgeries in a two-year span, most likely will miss the start of the season too. Daniels said team doctors say Harrison is recovering nicely and doing some rehab work, but he's suffered setbacks in the past himself.

So the Rangers are cautious when it comes to expectations for him.

"He feels great right now, working out and doing all his stuff," Daniels said. "Getting up on a mound, five day routine, spring training, we’ll have a better sense. If he comes back and he’s Matt Harrison (a 200-inning starter), it's a great spot."

Base Hits: Daniels said the club is hopeful it can finalize a deal for a reliever early next week. ... The team signed RHP Anthony Bass, OF Antoan Richardson and RHP Ross Wolf to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training. ...Daniels also said he's open to bringing utility infielder Adam Rosales back to the team.

Rangers select Delino DeShields in Rule 5

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
SAN DIEGO -- The Texas Rangers selected a former big leaguer's son with their lone Rule 5 major league selection on the final day of the winter meetings Thursday.

Texas snagged center fielder/second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. with the third pick of the major league phase. DeShields will be added to the Rangers' 40-man roster, which now stands at 39, and is expected to play center field.

DeShields is the son of former big-leaguer Delino DeShields, who played for five teams spanning 13 seasons. DeShields is currently the Triple-A manager for the Cincinnati Reds.

"We like the combination of now and the future," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. "He's got a chance to earn a role on this team, another center field option and really a unique speed tool with instincts to use it. It's a good fit for our roster right now. Long-term, we'll see, but he's got the ability to develop into more than that."

DeShields' father was a manager for the Surprise, Ariz., rookie team with the Rangers a few years ago. Daniels said his staff did speak with the father regarding the son.

Last season, DeShields, playing for the Houston Astros' Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi batted .236/.346/.360 in 114 games. He also played 78 games in center field, committing five errors out of 186 total chances.

Baseball America said this about DeShields: "Some teams will be turned off by his well-documented problems with not always showing his best effort -- he’s been pulled from multiple games over the years for not running out balls. But other teams may be intrigued by some of the best tools in the Rule 5 draft."

"Yeah, we're aware of that," Daniels said of DeShields' lack of effort issues. "He's got a unique opportunity here and we'll sit down and talk to him about our expectations. Again, the opportunity to play in the big leagues and all that comes with that has to be earned but has to be a unique motivator."

DeShields was a 2010 first-round pick by the Astros and Daniels said the Rangers had him on their board.

The Rangers lost Double-A shortstop Odubel Herrera, who was selected eighth by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 draft.

"I'm happy for him. I'm sure after winter ball he was already on the radar screen, Philly saw him," Daniels said of Herrera. "He was getting four hits a night or whatever he was doing. He was in that last group we talked about keeping, we thought about keeping, right on the line."

In the Triple-A Phase, the Rangers selected first baseman Rock Shoulders, who was taken from the Chicago Cubs, and infielder Hiram Martinez (Miami).



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