Richard will be here momentarily to answer all your Rangers questions. Thanks for your patience.
Hello, everyone. Just got back from the Stars' morning skate, where folks were actually talking about the Rangers' exciting victory on Opening Day.
What a pitching re-debut for Oliver, he sure came in like the savy vet he is and cleaned up Feliz's mess. It's gonna be fun to watch this team this season and hopefully fans will keep packing the ballpark like yesterday.
I agree, Trey. I blogged this morning about Oliver, who was another big hero yesterday. He threw 6 pitches, 5 of them strikes. He got a big strikeout with the bases loaded and one out and then got the final out of the inning to keep it a one-run game and make the comeback possible.
Who do you think is the odd man out when Tommy Hunter get healthy? Or does it just depend on who pitches best between Harrison and Wilson, or if the bullpen is preforming poorly and they need C.J. there?
I think they'll look at all of those factors. I don't think Hunter is guaranteed a job when he returns. If the staff is pitching well, there may not be a spot for him. We'll have to see.
Do you think its possible if Harrison and Wilson and pitching really well, that Hunter might not get back into the rotation when he is healthy?
I do. But at some point this season, they'll need him. Injuries happen. So do poor performances, so Hunter will be in this rotation at some point.
Does the relative inexperience of Andres Blanco make you more concerned about Ian Kinsler's injury and hopeful return?
I'm concerned about any extended time that Kinsler may miss. And I can't think Kinsler will be ready by this weekend. He still hasn't done much with lateral movement, so until he does, he can't really go out on a rehab assignment. So Blanco will have to get it done (Arias will play Wednesday, so he'll be in the mix too). I thought, outside of the kicked ball in the first, that Blanco played well defensively, which you would expect. The question will be whether the Rangers can get something from his bat.
Given the current platoon situation between Salty and Teagarden, will we eventually see one of them emerge as the "every day" starter at catcher? Will heroics like Salty provided yesterday give him the edge? Or will Teagarden's vaunted defense win out in the long run?
We'll see. The plan going in is to split time. But if one emerges, I think you'll see more of a traditional starter-backup situation. That was a big hit for Saltalamacchia, but it is only one game. Let's give it a few weeks and see what happens.
After watch the Chuck Greenburg interview, he mentioned once he took over changing some things to make the fan experience that much more enjoyable. Any ideas? Free teacher Fridays? Thanks
I'll pass along your free teacher Friday idea. I don't think you'll see many majors changes this season. But I can tell you he wants a big video board in the outfield, but I would think that's not until 2011. He wants to make the park even more fan friendly and is kicking around a few ideas, but hasn't settled on anything for sure yet. But I do think it's more next season than this season.
What is the plan for David Murphy? Will he ever get a chance to start, given the logjam of outfielders we have? Will he get more looks at first base or DH to spell Davis/Guerrero? Is he an asset valuable enough to trade, or could he become a sort of Mark DeRosa v2.0 for us?
He will get some time in the lineup when possible. The club wants his bat in there. I don't think he'd be at first base. That's Garko's job to spell Davis. But you could see him at DH every once in a while and spelling the OF. Murphy is very valuable to have late in games, not only for defense and his bat, but he's also a good, smart baserunner.
Will we see the eventual return of some of the big names starting the year in the minors? I'm talking about Brandon Boggs, Derek Holland, Brandon McCarthy, and Max Ramirez.
I think Derek Holland will return to the majors at some point, either as a starter or reliever depending on team needs. The others could also get a shot based on what may be going on. That is a group of guys right there, waiting for a chance. It's part of the depth of the organization.
Do you think that this Rangers team has what it takes to win it all, or are they still a piece or two away?
I think they have the talent, if everyone stays healthy and things break right. The good news is that if they are a piece or two away and those pieces are available at the trade deadline, new ownership will give them the resources to make a move. And the club has the minor league assets to make very competitive offers.
Did anyone notice there was only 11 strips on the USA flag before the game? I saw it rip durring their pratice before the game and i guess we didnt have the money to get another lol
I didn't see it. I'm sure there was no time to get another strip once it ripped in practice.
Who do you think will get to be in the All-Star game this year from this Rangers team?
Interesting question. I would say Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and Scott Feldman come to mind. Something tells me Frank Francisco is going to surprise people and have a solid year that could be All-Star worthy. There are others, certainly, that can get there as well. Those are just some off the top of my head.
If the Rangers are 2 or three games ahead in the division race at the break, who do you think they might go after in a trade? Going in the other direction, if they are 3 or 4 games behind who do you think they might go after?
I don't even want to guess at this point. That depends on need. I will say that I don't think they'll go after a simple half-season rental. I think it would be someone that could help them in 2011 too.
Is there any chance that Ogando comes up and Feliz goes down to sharpen his secondary pitches?... Yes, his fastball is amazing, but as we saw yesterday if you cannot consistently make Major League hitters at least conscious of your "other" stuff their going to sit on a 98 mph fastball like Vernon Wells did...May seem stupid, but I'm thinking more long term here... Ogando is a power arm, and you would use him along with ray, o' day, etc. in late innings... Thoughts?
Interesting. I think Ogando needs some time in the minors, too, so I'm not sure I'd rush him. Feliz does need to work on the secondary pitches. The question is whether that's something he can do while on the Major League club. Let's give him some time and see how it goes. But you're right: Wells was sitting on fast ball. My problem with that particular pitch is that Feliz had two strikes on him and needed to throw something way out of the zone. That pitch wasn't way out of the zone.
Also, do you consider it a really good sign that Feldman labored in the first few innings with homers and control, and still managed to get through seven? He didn't go that far a lot last season... Is this attributed to the fact that he is the recognized and bona fide "ace" and is charged with that respinsibility?
I think it was more that he settled in. It was his first Opening Day and I kind of thought he might have a nervous first or second inning. He did settle down and got more efficient, throwing 100 pitches in his outing to get deep in the game. That's exactly what they need from Feldman. He kept the team in the game and gave them innings.
Will the Rangers have good attendence throughout the year?
Good question. I think it should be decent considering this is a competitive team. But they need to be in the hunt when football is on everyone's mind in August (heck, football is on everyone's mind year round, but you know what I mean). It's a fun team to watch and that should help. But Mother Nature could also help out in the summer and try to keep things under 100 degrees out there (and maybe a breeze?)
I really think salty should catch the majority of the games as long as he is healthy. teagarden is just such a liability at the plate. your thoughts?
I think Saltalamacchia has more experience and has a chance to seize the job. He didn't do it in spring training, but could do it now. We'll just have to see.
I know it was only one game, but considering how Feliz struggled yesterday and how clutch Oliver was do you see Oliver becoming the setup guy and Feliz becoming the 7th inning guy?
Well, Washington said yesterday that Feliz was his primary eighth-inning guy, but that Oliver would also get chances to pitch there. I don't think you change your plan based on one game. Feliz has a chance to learn from the mistakes he made on Monday. Let's give him the opportunity to do that before talking about changes.
Hi Richard,What do you make of the long period of ineffectiveness in yesterday's game? Should there be some concern, or can we just attribute it to Opening Day jitters?
I think Opening Day jitters contributed. Michael Young felt hitters were overaggressive and thought that was because they were juiced up about Opening Day. I think you'll see a more consistent offensive approach later this week.
where do you rank yesterdays game on games you have attended?
It's up there. I've seen some great walk-offs over the years, but rarely with such a large crowd. That's what made it fun: From getting no-hit into the seventh to a comeback win in front of 50,000. That's pretty cool.
What do you think the timetable is for Justin Smoak to make it to Arlington, is it possible he could be up before June 1?
It's possible, but I've said that I feel Chris Davis is ready for a good season, so I think Smoak wouldn't come up until later.
Mr. Durrett, what did you think about Josh Hamilton's show ofpatience? I know he is still going to be a guy that swings at first pitches, but that's a strength of his and is ok especially when pitchers know he is also willing to be patient... Thoughts?
Hamilton needs to have that patience and show he's a disciplined hitter. I think he'll do that. Having Vladimir Guerrero behind him won't hurt, either.
hey rich, do you think the rangers slow start on opening day was a one time thing or do you think it will continue throughout the begininng of the season?
Ah, the Lake Highlands Computer Lab. A good place to talk Rangers baseball. I don't judge much by Opening Day. It's a long season. If the slow starts happen for a week or so, then that's a trend. Until then, I wouldn't worry about it. They'll probably take an early lead on Wednesday.
Do you think Feliz' command problems yesterday had a lot to do with nerves?
They might have. That was a huge crowd and a big moment for him just after Cruz tied the game. I would have been nervous.
That was prolly one of the greatest games I have ever attended yesterday! Thats Rangers baseball.
Rich,What was your impression of the crowd? They seemed pretty quiet until Cruz's late home run.
They were quiet. But you can't blame them, can you? The Rangers were getting no-hit into the seventh inning on Opening Day. Not the start you want. But I can tell you that was a very loud park at the end. And as I stood by the press elevator, I opened the door to the concourse and fans were chanting loudly, "Let's Go Rangers" and I couldn't remember hearing that from a crowd even 10 minutes after the game like that.
What do you see Chris Ray's role being on this team? Do you think he'll be used in a 6th/7th inning role or mop-up duty, and will Texas have him on any sort of pitch count or innings cap while he returns from injury?
He's a one-inning guy and Washington indicated the sixth inning or so. No, he doesn't have any limitations that I know of at this point.
How much longer realistically is Ian Kinsler going to be out? And are you scared about the 0-7 start between the two sparks (Borbon and Andrus).
I don't know, but it sure looks like into next week at this point. I noted the 0-for-7 of Borbon and Andrus in my story. For the speed to matter, those guys have to get on base. But again: It's one game.
I think Nelson Cruz is going to have a big year this year and possibly hit 40 home runs. Is there any chance Cruz moves to 4 for even more protection to hamilton or even Cruz hitting 3 and Hamilton giving him protection in the 4?
I think as long as Vladimir Guerrero is hitting, he'll stay as Hamilton's protection. But I could see Cruz making it tough for the Rangers to drop him out of the 5th spot when Kinsler returns. We'll just have to see.
What do you take from the cheer from when Washington was introduced?
I thought it was the hometown crowd supporting the manager of their team. I wasn't surprised. I heard only a few boos from where I was on the field. And I was glad the crowd cheered. We'll see what the reception is like on the road.
If I gave you the "hypothetical" situation that the Rangers are down one in the bottom of the ninth with Mike Young and second base, which of the following things would you have picked as the least likely to happen: A) Hamilton called out looking and argues with the umpire; B) Vladimir Guerrero with an infield hit; or C) Chris Davis intentionally walked? Could all three be a good sign?
Great points. All three are good signs. I was surprised that Hamilton didn't swing at that pitch, but I also agree with him that it was a ball. So he had a good eye, but on a pitch that close in that situation, I thought he'd be swinging. Guerrero hit that ball in the perfect spot. Hill made a great play to keep a run from scoring at that point. The alert baserunning of Cruz going to second on his opposite-field hit forced the Blue Jays to walk Davis. It was a strange and eventful inning.
I'm dead set against the idea of Cruz hitting 6th when Kinsler comes back. He has the chance to be the best offensive player on the Rangers this year and he's not going to get the kind of at-bats to do that in the six hole. I'd much rather see him hitting third, folllowed by Vlad, Hambone, and Kinsler.
What is your projection of Harden's #s tomorrow? Think he can get through 5? How big of a question mark is he really?
I do think he'll get through five. But I don't know how big a question mark he is, to be honest. That spring training left me confused. He looked good at times with good velocity and didn't at other times. It was inconsistent, so I don't know much more about what to expect than I did when spring started.
Speaking of the Stars, what was the mood at this morning's practice? I sure hope Modano is back next season...
Good. They are clearly disappointed, but committed to playing hard down the stretch. Brenden Morrow won't play tonight, resting his foot (he has a contusion).
I hear that Ramon Vazquez was designated for assignment... is that true and if so will the Rangers pursue him? Not saying that Blanco's not a good utility IF, but Ramon's a better hitter.
I heard the same. Not sure if the Rangers will go after him or not. But they are always looking to bolster the team and/or depth.
Which Ranger do you see as having the hottest April?
It's hard not to pick Cruz. But something tells me Guerrero may really heat up. Same with Chris Davis, despite yesterday's no-hit day.
Thanks, everyone. We'll have a live in-game chat from tomorrow night's game and from Thursday's afternoon affair, so join us!