Results tagged ‘ Carlos Olivas ’

Best in the League, Part II

Carlos Olivas (second from the left) pays a medical visit to RoughRiders pitcher Carlos Pimentel. (Alex Yocum-Beeman)

Carlos Olivas (second from the left) pays a medical visit to RoughRiders pitcher Carlos Pimentel.

Brett Nicholas and Neil Ramirez weren’t the only RoughRiders honored last month for a stellar 2013 season.  The two Frisco stalwarts were named post-season All-Stars at the DH and pitcher positions, respectively, and they’ve now got some company.

Company that’s going to have to clear a bit more space on his mantle.

Last month Frisco’s Carlos Olivas was named “Athletic Trainer of the Year” for the Texas League for the second straight season by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS).  This is a tremendous honor and Carlos is incredibly deserving of the award.  He does a terrific job caring for the players and keeping them healthy and on the field.

A trainer from each minor league is chosen for an award in addition to a minor league coordinator and at the Winter Meetings, the “Minor League Athletic Trainer of the Year” will be elected by PBATS members.   Carlos was one of two trainers in the Rangers organization to win an award; the other was Alex Rodriguez of the Dominican Summer League Rangers.

Here’s the full list of award-winning trainers:

League:                                       Winner:                                                      Organization:

Coordinator Jay Williams San Francisco Giants
International League Jeff Allred Washington Nationals
Pacific Coast League Eric Ortega San Francisco Giants
Eastern League Scott DiFrancesco New York Yankees
Southern League Charles Leddon Cincinnati Reds
Texas League Carlos Olivas Texas Rangers
Florida State League Alan Rail Minnesota Twins
California League Grand Hufford Houston Astros
Carolina League Patrick Wesley Baltimore Orioles
Midwest League Chris Tomashoff Tampa Bay Rays
South Atlantic League Mark Keiser Kansas City Royals
New York – Penn League Jason Schwartzman Detroit Tigers
Northwest League Reggie Mugrue Toronto Blue Jays
Appalachian League Kiyoshi Tada New York Mets
Pioneer League John Duff Colorado Rockies
Arizona League Clete Sigwart Cincinnati Reds
Gulf Coast League Philip Mastro Pittsburgh Pirates
Dominican Summer Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers

PBATS President Richie Bancells had this to say upon the announcement of the winners:

“These 18 athletic trainers stood out in 2013 as the best in their respective leagues, and I am so honored that they all showed the dedication and professionalism it takes to keep their players on the field. These fine gentlemen represent the bright future that lies ahead for PBATS.”

Carlos is back home in New Mexico, but I asked him a few questions over e-mail about winning the award.

In addition to valuing the health of his players, Carlos also values being a sharp-dressed man.

In addition to valuing the health of his players, Carlos also values being a sharp-dressed man.

Alex Vispoli: What does it mean to you to have won this award for the second straight year?

Carlos Olivas: It was definitely a surprise when I heard. It is a testament to the program we run and I give credit to Eric McMahon for his part in the sports medicine team. I am honored to be voted the winner for 2 straight years.

AV: Why do you think your work has been recognized once again as exemplary?

CO: We try to keep current with what we do as far as injury prevention and rehabilitation. Our players play a big role believing in what we are doing and following through with our programs. Having a medical team of doctors available for visiting teams and giving them the same access we have is huge. I always try to communicate with the visiting athletic trainers on a daily basis to make sure they have everything they need.

AV: Has anyone within the Rangers organization congratulated you on winning?

CO: I have heard from numerous people congratulating me.

AV: How was this past season from your perspective as an athletic trainer? Any unique or important challenges?

CO: It was overall a very good year. We only had a few major injuries and kept DL time to a minimum. We try to spend a lot of time on prevention and catching small injuries early before they turn into something big. Lower body muscular injuries (hamstring, groin) are always tricky because they tend to nag.  Every year is a challenge with the amount of turnover with players in the minor leagues. We are constantly gaining new players with new sets of challenges.

AV: Does this qualify as a dynasty/do you have enough pictures of someone to ensure a third straight win?

CO: I have pictures of everyone…including you, Vispoli.

Duly noted.

To learn more about Carlos and what he does as a minor league athletic trainer, take a listen to this interview I did with him back in July for the radio broadcast.

Congratulations Carlos!

– Alex

‘Riders on the Record: Bubble gum and Manny


‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

This week turned out to be an abnormally coach-happy version of ‘Riders on the Record. Some fascinating insights from a variety of people in different positions, it’s a bit hard to pinpoint the highlights this week. If you want to blow gigantic bubbles, be sure to listen to the one player interview of the week, when I spoke with Joe Van Meter. James Vilade shares his touching story of involvement with Diamond Dreams and don’t miss out on Jayce Tingler discussing Manny Ramirez.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele

Manager Steve Buechele sits down with Alex to catch up on the season after their hiatus the week prior. He explains why the game was postponed in Corpus Christi when it was not raining but the field had been soaked by a long day of precipitation. He talks about the silver lining of a series of rain outs. He also weighs in on the trade discussion around Neil Ramirez and how it affected his most recent start. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 22, 2013 – RHP Joe Van Meter

Joe Van Meter is the newest RoughRiders, just making his way up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. In his second stint with the RoughRiders he discusses settling into the clubhouse for the second time and breaks down his first two Double-A appearances of the season. A skilled bubble-blower, he shares the secret behind blowing unbelievably-sized bubbles. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – Coach/Scout James Vilade



Rangers Scout and ‘Riders coach James Vilade is a member of the board of Diamond Dreams, an organization dedicated to the legacy of Mike Coolbaugh, who was killed coaching first base when he was struck by a line drive. Following an on-field presentation the previous day in Frisco, he talks about the lengths the organization has to promote safety in the game as well as what the loss of Mike means to him personally (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – Hitting Coach Jason Hart

The RoughRiders hitting coach Jason Hart joins Nathan on the last day of the brief three-game home stand for the ‘Riders against the Midland RockHounds. He touches on the improved approach of Ryan Strausborger and Hanser Alberto at the plate and the consistency of offensive leader Brett Nicholas. He also remembers his time as a player in Frisco when he had the opportunity to compete in a Home Run Derby at Dr Pepper Ballpark with big leaguers Andre Ethier and Mike Napoli. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, July 25, 2013 – Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas

Following up last week’s conversation with the RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach, Alex sat with Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas to discuss his role with the team and his award he won last season for being the best in the Texas League. Carlos pulls back the curtain on the rehab process and explains the decision-making process to put a player on the disabled list. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 26, 2013 – Rangers Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler

Rangers Field Coordinator was with the team during the trip to San Antonio. He explains the strange lack of promotions this season in the Rangers system and his take on the Rangers plans for Manny Ramirez, who is with the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He also weighs in on the scoreless streak, in which the ‘Riders have not scored in 35 consecutive innings. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 27, 2013 – Missions Hitting Coach Jacque Jones

Former big leaguer Jacque Jones is now the hitting coach with the San Antonio Missions. He talks about his transitioning to coaching quickly after the end of his playing days. He also discusses prospects on both teams, including the RoughRiders’ Joe Benson who he saw during his time in Minnesota. (w/ Alex)

– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: head of lettuce – the event when a player breaks their bat after hitting the pitch, that results in the main portion of the bat (the barrel) to land within the infield.

What’s inside your PlayBall! program?

At every RoughRiders home game,  fans can pick up a free PlayBall! game day program as they enter the gates of Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Inside, fans can read about the day’s game in the “Leading Off” section and read fun facts about the individual ‘Riders players in “Outside the Lines.”  Toward the back of PlayBall!, in the section “7th Inning Stretch,” you can find a feature story on a certain player, coach or other special individual within the RoughRiders family.  Below are the two most recent feature stories from the last few home stands.


An Inspirational Sign

Former RoughRider Jake Brigham opened up about how his father has been his inspiration throughout his life.  Every day, Jake gets a call from his father, Earl Brigham-on an iPad. Earl Brigham is not a young or even a particularly hip parent. He loves technology, sure, but Earl doesn’t call his son on the iPad every day to be cool.  He calls Jake on his iPad because it’s the only way he can.    This story ran from May 13-20 and May 28 – June 2, shortly after Brigham’s promotion to Triple-A Round Rock on May 1, 2013.


Best in the League

Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon and Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas were honored as the 2012 Texas League Strength & Conditioning and Athletic Trainer of the year, voted on by their Texas League peers.  Read about the reactions from the two coaches, and what they say is different about working in the Rangers system.  This story ran from June 12-23.


If you missed previous stories from the PlayBall!, they will be posted at the bottom of the team website  under the “Frisco RoughRiders Features.”


Baseball Term of the Day: “Play ball!” – The command issued by the home plate umpire to start a game or to resume play.

Day Trip to SeaWorld

Today a few members of the RoughRiders and I took advantage of an incredible opportunity while staying in San Antonio.  One of the three SeaWorld theme parks in the USA is located just a few Joey Gallo home runs away from our team hotel in San Antonio.  Thanks to a connection provided by team trainer Carlos Olivas, we got a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the park and spent some up-close time with a few of the incredible animals.  In addition to Carlos and me, the others who came along were Cody Buckel, Ben Rowen, Ryan Rodebaugh, Kevin Pucetas, Ryan Feierabend, Jake Brigham, Brett Nicholas, Jimmy Reyes, Tyler Tufts, strength & condition coach Eric McMahon and bus driver Paul Watkins.  Dave Yordi, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Animal Care, was kind enough to take our group of 13 around the park and here are some of the sights of an awesome morning.

(click on the pictures to see bigger photos)

– Alex

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.

The players loved those little guys

The players loved those little guys

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn't get to visit.

Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn’t get to visit.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the "voice" of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the “voice” of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan.  Not sure where Cody learned that move.

Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan. Not sure where Cody learned that move.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

They keep the two walruses in this pool.

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with "Brady."

A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with “Brady.”

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .

Brady "fin-walks" at the prompt of his trainer.

Brady “fin-walks” at the prompt of his trainer.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

Our last destination was the stingray tank.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.

Here's the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Here’s the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.

Season in Review: July

Engel Beltre heated up in July and was key to the ‘Riders’ late-month turnaround. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders).

The 2012 Frisco RoughRiders season was an unquestioned success.  The ’Riders won the first half South Division title, finished with an 80-60 record (good for the second-best overall mark in the Texas League) and advanced to the Texas League Championship Series before losing to the Springfield Cardinals.  Along the way, there were standout performances from big-time prospects, thrilling games and terrific storylines.  Before looking ahead to the 2013 season, we look back at a special 2012 campaign that proved to be a memorable one for the ’Riders.


Record: 16-14 (T-3rd of 8 TL teams)

Average: .263 (3rd)

Home Runs: 33 (1st)

ERA: 4.41 (6th)

Top Offensive Players: Engel Beltre (.308-6-15, 4 2B, 6 3B, 25 R, 12-14 SB, .352/.592/.943), Leury Garcia (.300-1-10, 4 2B, 2 3B, 22 R, 11-12 SB), Jared Hoying (.288-3-10, 3 2B, 3B, 21 R, 3-4 SB), Ryan Strausborger (.287-2-12, 4 2B, 3B, 17 R, 6-6 SB)

Top Pitchers: Barret Loux (5 GS, 1-1, 2.63 ERA, 24 IP, 17 H, 1.04 WHIP, .200 BAA), Nick Tepesch (6 G, 5 GS, 3-1, 2.82 ERA, 38.1 IP, 36 H, 24 K, 9 BB), Ross Wolf (6 G, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP, 5 H, 0.88 WHIP, .179 BAA)

After a difficult month of June, the RoughRiders ran hot and cold throughout July.  A look at the monthly numbers above seems to suggest a team playing mediocre baseball throughout the month, but in reality Frisco rapidly swung from one polar opposite to another a few times.

The ’Riders started the month the way they finished the previous one, with a pair of losses to tie its longest losing streak of the season (four).  However, the team then proceeded to rip off six straight wins for its longest winning streak in 2012.  That momentum did not last long, because Frisco then lost 11 of its next 15 to drop into last place in the second half division standings.  The boomerang reversed direction one more time though when the ’Riders won six out of seven to finish the month.

One of the reasons for the instability was the tumultuous nature of the starting pitching staff at the time.  At one point, the ’Riders had three starters dealing with health-related workload restrictions while at the same time were stretching reliever Wilfredo Boscan into a starter’s role and dealing with the growing pains of hurlers recently promoted from Myrtle Beach.

July featured the additional drama of the end-of-month trading deadline and with it came persistent rumors involving the Rangers and several Frisco players.  Mike Olt was the RoughRider most frequently mentioned in trade talks by the media, but by the end of the month it was a different player who ended up changing organizations via a trade.

Frisco’s performance somewhat mirrored the parent club, as the Rangers slogged their way through the middle of the season at the big league level as well.  There was additional crossover with three Texas players rehabbing in RoughRiders uniforms with varying degrees of success.


Frisco may have struggled to start July, but at least athletic trainer Carlos Olivas (left) and strength & conditioning coach Eric McMahon were looking good. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

July 2:The struggling ’Riders take one on the chin in their series opener at Arkansas.  Frisco brings a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning but gives up five runs in the bottom of the frame – the last three coming on a Roberto Lopez three-run homer off of Ryan Rodebaugh – and lose 7-6.  The form of the loss is especially tough to swallow, considering that the Travelers at the time had the second-fewest homers of any team in the “High Minors” (Double-A and Triple A).  The loss knocks Frisco out of first place overall in the South Division for the first time all season as Corpus Christi takes over as the team with the best record.

July 3: Barret Loux and the RoughRiders rebound in a 5-1 win over the Travs.  Loux, who had lost for the first time all year in his previous start, allows just an unearned run and two hits over seven superb innings to improve to 11-1 in 2012.

July 4: Chris McGuiness supplies the Independence Day fireworks with his 17th home run of the season in Frisco’s 8-0 win over Arkansas.  Cody Buckel shows what made him the best pitcher in the Carolina League in his third Texas League outing, giving up just one hit in six scoreless innings.

July 5: Baseball America releases its revised “Top 50 Prospects” list and the ’Riders are well-represented.  Jurickson Profar comes in at number two (behind Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy) while Mike Olt (11) and Cody Buckel (41) also make the list.

July 7: Frisco finishes off a three-game sweep of Springfield with a 5-2 win at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  The sweep comes just days after the Cardinals swept the ’Riders up in Missouri.  While the win is welcomed, the game features a lack of star power as stud prospects from both sides (Olt and Profar of Frisco; Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong of Springfield) are in Kansas City for the All-Star Futures Game.

July 8: The Futures Game is played at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium and Profar makes an early splash, homering for the World team in the first inning off former Northwest Arkansas Natural Jake Odorizzi.  Profar adds a single and goes 2-for-3 while Olt – playing for the U.S. squad – goes 1-for-5 with an RBI.  That night, their ’Riders teammates run their season-best win streak to six games with a 5-4 win against the Travelers.  McGuiness hits a walk-off solo home run in the tenth inning, the first walk-off home run of his baseball life.  Leury Garcia goes 3-for-5 in the contest with an RBI and three of Frisco’s six steals.

July 9: Justin Grimm returns from his three-outing stint with the Rangers for a brief, three-inning start against Arkansas.  After he departs in a scoreless game, Buckel pitches well but surrenders a solo home run to former RoughRiders infielder (and the team’s all-time hits leader) Renny Osuna in the seventh inning.  That proves to be enough for Johnny Hellweg (8 SHO IP) who dominates and leads the Travelers to a 1-0 win to snap Frisco’s six-game win streak.  Hellweg hits Olt on the wrist with a fastball in the third inning and the ’Riders’ third baseman misses the next week with a bruise.

July 12: Frisco goes on the road to Corpus Christi and looks to be in control with a 4-0 lead and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.  But Carlos Pimentel and Zach Osborne allow four runs in the frame, including a three-run double by Austin Wates to send the game to extra innings.  The ’Riders hold leads of one and two runs in the tenth and 11th innings, respectively, but both times the Hooks come back.  Wates cements his role as hero with a three-run walk-off home run off Tim Murphy to send Corpus to an improbable 8-7 win and the Whataburger Field crowd (at least, what’s left after a mass exodus in the middle of the ninth inning) into delirium.  Garcia’s big night (4-for-5, 3 R, 3 SB) for Frisco is wasted.

July 13: The ’Riders allow five home runs and lose 12-2 to Corpus Christi.  However, the win is costly to the Hooks as star shortstop Jonathan Villar breaks his hand punching a dugout wall after striking out in the eighth inning and does not play for the rest of the regular season.  Profar plays third base for the first time in his career with Olt still out of the lineup.

July 15: Jarred Cosart and two relievers one-hit Frisco as the ’Riders fall 5-2 to the Hooks.  Wates hits another home run as Profar’s RBI triple in the sixth inning is the team’s only base knock.

July 16: Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz begins his rehab assignment from a sore elbow with the RoughRiders at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  Feliz, who pitched for Frisco in 2008, strikes out four and allows an unearned run to San Antonio in two innings.  The ’Riders lose 7-4 and Feliz makes two more starts for Round Rock before the Rangers announce he will undergo “Tommy John” surgery and be lost for the year.

Rangers 1B/OF Mitch Moreland returned to his old home ballpark for a three-game rehab stint. Pitchers Neftali Feliz and Mark Lowe also rehabbed in Frisco in July. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

July 17: After a disastrous outing by Neil Ramirez (2.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BB, HR), Osborne comes in to pitch in relief and does no better, allowing six runs on five hits and a walk without retiring a Missions batter.  Frisco falls 12-4 despite home runs from Olt and Engel Beltre.  Beltre (3-for-5) begins a scorching last half of the month; he will hit .375 with four doubles, four triples, five home runs, seven RBI, 18 runs scored and five steals over the last two weeks of July.

July 18: The Rangers name Olt their “Minor League Player of the Month” for June.  It is the second straight month that Texas has bestowed the honor on the former UConn Husky.

July 19: Trying to win two straight games for the first time in 11 days, the ’Riders blow an early 5-1 lead and allow the tying run to score in the ninth inning for San Antonio.  The Missions score five runs in the 11th and hold off Frisco for a 12-10 victory.  The RoughRiders have lost seven of their last ten games after their six-game win streak.

July 22: A day after getting shut out on just three hits, Frisco’s offense remains anemic against Corpus Christi’s Jose Cisnero, scoring one run on five hits in a 3-1 defeat.  The team’s losing streak hits four games and the squad has lost four consecutive series.

July 23: Beltre is named the Texas League “Player of the Week” for his offensive re-emergence.  He backs up the honor that night by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two steals and a walk in the ’Riders’ cathartic 11-3 win over Corpus.  Jake Brigham pitches very well, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings.

July 26: The ’Riders beat Midland 6-0 behind a masterful Nick Tepesch (8 IP, 5 H, 0 R).  The team wins two in a row for the first time in 16 games and snaps its four-series losing streak.

July 27: Frisco receives Rangers 1B/OF Mitch Moreland (hamstring) on a rehab assignment.  The former RoughRider makes his presence felt immediately against San Antonio, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, four runs scored and a hit-by-pitch.  The ’Riders smoke the Missions 14-4 with assistance from Garcia and Olt, who both homer.

July 28: The big league rehabbers keep flowing into Dr Pepper Ballpark as reliever Mark Lowe (intercostal strain) joins the ’Riders to begin a rehab assignment.  His stint is not as successful as Moreland’s however, as he gives up a game-tying home run in the eighth inning, only to see McGuiness win the game for Frisco with a walk-off solo home run in the ninth to down the Missions 2-1.  Brigham (6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K) pitches well but gets a no-decision in what ends up being his final appearance as a RoughRider.

Second-year Frisco pitcher Jake Brigham was traded just before the deadline to the Cubs in exchange for big league catcher Geovany Soto. (Alex Yocum-Beeman/RoughRiders)

July 29:Frisco captures its fifth straight win with a 9-5 victory over San Antonio.  Beltre triples and homers while Ryan Strausborger hits a double and his fourth long ball of the season.  Moreland goes 1-for-5 to finish his rehab assignment with a .308 average (4-for-13).

July 30: For the second consecutive week, Beltre is named the TL “Player of the Week,” joining Corpus Christi’s Brandon Barnes and San Antonio’s Cody Decker as the only players to accomplish the feat in back-to-back weeks.  That night, Lowe allows a three-run home run to the Missions’ Edinson Rincon in the sixth inning and Frisco loses 4-2 to see their five-game win streak snapped.  During the game, news breaks that Brigham has been traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Major League catcher Geovany Soto.  Brigham is called down from the stands (where he had been charting pitches) in the middle of the game and is informed of the deal by Rangers pitching coordinator Danny Clark in the dugout bathroom.

July 31: The trading deadline comes and goes with Brigham being the only RoughRider that gets dealt despite many rumors that Olt or, to a lesser extent, Profar might be on the move.  The re-focused RoughRiders finish July with a 5-1 win versus Midland as Tepesch (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K) again outclasses the RockHounds bats.

Coming tomorrow: A look back at the month of August.

–          Alex V.

Dynamic Duo Help Build Better Ballplayer Bodies

It’s 1 p.m. Game time is at 7 p.m. and Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas and Strength and Conditioning coach Eric McMahon are already in their offices preparing for the day’s activities. Olivas is spending his lunch break eating a sandwich at his computer going over expense receipts while McMahon is updating exercise programs for each of the players.

Pitcher Fabio Castillo is the first player of the day to enter their office, asking if McMahon is ready to time him on his workout. McMahon tells him to work on the bike and stretch and then they’ll start Castillo’s plank routine. While Castillo starts his bike ride, McMahon unpacks the “mobile gym.” The mobile gym is a big bag packed with things like elastic bands and smaller exercise equipment that might not be at other clubhouses. The equipment is used if players don’t have time to visit a gym or get a workout in at away games. McMahon then goes out to the field to set up the cones for workouts and drills that will take place up until batting practice.

It’s 1:17 p.m. and McMahon sets up the cones in a straight line at varying distances. For starting pitchers, there is a set program that starts off with a heavy workout routine and tapers down in intensity leading up to the day that person pitches. Although many of the workout routines are set, McMahon says there is always some flexibility to the programs.

“I like to give guys choices for their conditioning,” McMahon said. “A guy needs to like his routine. I take suggestions from the guys on what they like and try to incorporate it into their programs.”

Castillo and McMahon set up in the training room and started doing the plank routine together timing each side for 30 seconds and doing a “marching” set for 15 seconds where the player rotates lifting his legs while in a plank position. After completing the routine, McMahon and Castillo walk down the player’s tunnel together out to the field. This week, the pitchers will have a choice for part of their routine. They can choose between having an off day, running sprints, or running a 300-yard shuttle. Castillo elects to run the 300-yard shuttle to get it out of the way. He lines up on one end of the cones and waits for McMahon’s signal to begin. On his signal, Castillo takes off. McMahon explains this drill is one way to gauge a player’s endurance.

“The goal of this drill is for a player to make it in less than a minute,” McMahon said. “After the first time through the drill, the player rests for two minutes before running it again. The goal is to get the same time or a better time than the first drill.”

Castillo rests before running again and he bests his time by a second. The two walk back to the clubhouse to work on more game preparations. One fixture of the training room that has become a player favorite is the snow cone station. Next to the ice machine in the training room, a line of Hawaiian Punch flavored syrups wait to be poured.

While McMahon and Castillo go through their routine on the field, Olivas is in the training room going through a big box of black and white socks. He was going to ship the socks to all the trainers. He explained that when there are lulls throughout the day, he finds side stuff to do such as counting out the socks and filling up the Whirlpool tubs full of water. The next player to make their way to the training room is third baseman Mike Olt who needs his hand to be looked at. Olivas examines it and instructs Olt to lay down on the table. Olivas grabs some gel, puts some on Olt’s hand, and massages it for about 10 minutes. While Olt is getting his hand worked on, Chris McGuiness comes in and grabs a bottle of Aleve off the counter asking Olivas how many he needs to take. He takes two before putting the bottle back with the towers of bottles of aspirin, baby powder, sunscreen, and rolls of tape. After Olt leaves the training room, Olivas heads back to his desk when outfielder Val Majewski comes in asking about what he should do about the nosepiece on his sunglasses since they were a bit big. A bit of hand lotion solved the problem and both went their separate ways.

Olivas was working on paperwork when pitcher Tim Murphy came in the training room looking to find some relief for his shoulder. Murphy laid on his back on the training table while Olivas massaged to find kinks to work out. While massaging Murphy’s shoulder, they talked about their family. Murphy had a bullpen session that day and Olivas wanted to make sure that his shoulder was as loose as possible. Olivas said he is hands-on with player treatment and he works with an orthopedic doctor and a chiropractor for more serious injuries.

During Murphy’s treatment, pitcher Jake Brigham walks in looking for baby powder. Olivas looks up from Murphy’s shoulder to kid Brigham about needing a haircut. Brigham laughs admitting it is getting pretty long and he needs to cut it. As Brigham walks away smiling, catcher Zach Zaneski comes in to borrow a pair of nail clippers. He sits on the other training table and watches Olivas massage Murphy’s elbow. They kid as Olivas says there is no way he would cut any of the guy’s nails. Zaneski, satisfied with the look of his nails, returns the nail clippers. Outfielder Brad Hawpe comes in and lays down on the second training table to wait his turn with Olivas. He jokes with Olivas as he finished Murphy’s treatment. Olivas then turns his attention to treating and massaging Hawpe’s lower back.

While Olivas is busy treating players, McMahon is overseeing the player’s workouts in the weight room although McMahon said he never really has to be on top of anyone because they are all very motivated.

At 3:10 p.m., McMahon heads back out to the field to prepare for the pitchers to begin their pre-game routine on the field. While he waits, he works one-on-one with Majewski getting in some wall sprints and foul poles. At 3:30 p.m., the pitchers line up to start drills. They work on lunges, side twists, and squats before lining up in a circle to stretch. After about 12 minutes of stretching, the pitchers start throwing with each other. Olivas throws with pitcher Miguel De Los Santos on the end of the line. When De Los Santos is warm, Olivas heads back to the training room with pitcher Ryan Rodebaugh.

It’s 3:56 p.m. and the TV in the training room is turned on to a show about cars. Olivas turns to Rodebaugh asking if he really wants to watch this. Saying no, Olivas hands him the remote which eventually ends up on ESPN. The upcoming football draft is the subject of conversation as Olivas begins to massage Rodebaugh’s oblique. After about 15 minutes, Olivas puts gel on the tender spot for an ultrasound treatment. Olivas then gets up and prepares an ice pack. He puts electrodes on the oblique and puts the ice pack on top of that before adding a light weight to keep slight pressure on the spot. Pitchers begin to trickle into the training room as their warm-up has ended for the day and the position players head out to do their drills. Olivas heads out to the field at 4:30 p.m. for batting practice. He has bonding time with pitching coach Jeff Andrews before every game by throwing with him before Andrews throws batting practice to the second group of hitters. Olivas and McMahon both talk to coaches and trainers for the Missions who are warming up and doing drills in right field while Frisco takes batting practice. Olivas eventually moves into right field to help shag balls.

Eventually batting practice concludes and the team heads to the clubhouse along with Olivas and McMahon. Final pre-game treatments like De Los Santos’ shoulder will be mended before dinner is served. The guys then await first pitch to watch the game. In the first inning of the April 23 game against the San Antonio Missions, Carlos Pimentel was hit by a line drive. He fielded the ball and got the runner out at first but Olivas went out to check on him anyway. Seeing that he was okay and fine to continue pitching, Olivas headed back to the dugout, and the two of them sit back and watch the rest of the game.

After the ‘Riders victory, Olivas meets up with his family while McMahon heads back down to the club house to do final training sessions with some of the players signaling the end of another successful day at the ballpark.

Written by: Jarah Wright

Photos by: Alex Yocum-Beeman

Frisco “Bus” ‘Riders

The RoughRiders are about as centrally located as it comes in the Texas League.  However, that doesn’t mean that the bus rides are always short.  Frisco radio broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith lets you ride shotgun on the RoughRiders’ journey Wednesday night from Midland to Corpus Christi.  Before you begin reading, a quick bathroom break is of course recommended. 

9:50 p.m. Thanks to a 6:30 p.m. first pitch, I’m off the air now and can quickly wrap up my

Post-game clubhouse dinner never looked so good.

Post-game clubhouse dinner never looked so good.

post-game work and pack my radio gear to load on the bus.

10:14 p.m. Before every bus ride you have to fuel up – and not just with gas.  After you’ve played for three hours – or in my case talked for three hours – food is a must.  Here’s what was put out for us in the clubhouse in Midland.  I get some BBQ chicken thighs, mac and cheese, and a few small bags of trail mix to take on the bus.  All the players pay “dues” to the “clubbie” who provides the pre- and post-game spread.  Since I don’t pay daily dues, I gave the clubbie $7 for my share of food (I’m that wealthy).

10:33 p.m. After quickly chowing down, it’s time to load up.  Most of the players are already on the bus and, as you can see below, cards is a favorite way to pass the time.  Hitting Coach Brant “Brownie” Brown has already put season one of Las Vegas into the DVD player on the bus for some entertainment.  Brownie is a major movie buff (his favorite is the Matrix)He always brings a good selection of movies each trip.

L to R: Tommy Mendonca's arm, Richard Bleier, Jake Brigham, Mike Bianucci.

L to R: Tommy Mendonca's arm, Richard Bleier, Jake Brigham, Mike Bianucci.

10:40 p.m. Carlos, the best bus driver in the Texas League – and it’s not even close – puts the gearshift in drive and we pull away from the clubhouse and hit the road for Corpus Christi.  Steve Buechele, the ‘Riders manager, is on his laptop, as is Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews.  They’re both working on their post-game player reports that they usually do from the clubhouse.  On get-away-days, however, they’re forced to type from the bus.

11:07 p.m. I’m surprised it took this long, but I finally break out my noise canceling headphones.  A pricy investment, but worth every penny.  Between the movie, the air conditioning, and the noise from the road, the bus is very loud – even if no one is talking.  The one thing giving the noise a run for its money is the temperature.  The bus tends to get incredibly cold.  Even though it was 99 degrees outside when we boarded, I have a pair of grey sweat pants pulled up over my kaki shorts.  (I sense a wedgie mounting an attack within the next few hours).

11:40 p.m. Love my iPhone.  With the MLB At Bat app, I’m listening to the final innings of the Mariners vs. Angles game (the only game in progress at this hour).  I’m not a fan of either team, but after calling four games solo in Midland, it’s nice to hear a voice other than my own (I’m sure others would agree).

1:13 a.m. My first “wakeup” of the trip.  Something you get used to.  On an eight hour trip I’ll probably fall in and out of consciousness at least a half dozen times.  This time it’s for something somewhat rare.  Carlos has pulled the bus over at a rest stop and Boo and Brownie scamper off quickly to use the restroom.  The M’s/Halos game is long over.  No idea who won.  I wonder if people fall asleep like that when I’m broadcasting?  A question I fear asking.  I switch quickly to iTunes and am out again in a few minutes.

2:13 a.m.  Strangely, exactly an hour later I’m up for no particular reason and am thrilled to see that all the cabin lights along with season one of Las Vegas has been turned off.  Heaven.  Sometimes the lights and movie du jour stay on until as late as 4 a.m. making it harder to sleep.  I glance in front of me and see the silhouette of our Strength and Conditioning Coach, Eric McMahon.  He’s wearing a ballcap, sunglasses, and headphones.  Why the sunglasses when it’s dark?  A veteran move.  Especially for us guys who sit near the front of the bus, it helps to darken oncoming headlights, making it easier fall asleep.  Unfortunately I’m officially awake.  With five hours to go, it’s trail mix time.

3:51 a.m. Driving through downtown San Antonio.  Too bad we’re playing the Hooks.

By the time I get off the bus, there's not much left.

By the time I get off the bus, there's not much left.

4:19 a.m. Finally about to fall back asleep when … wedgie.

5:58 a.m. Our Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas lovingly taps my leg which is stretched across the isle.  This, in the world of minor league bus rides, is a wakeup call.  We’re here.  He darts off the bus because someone has to be in charge of everyone’s room keys.  He’s off to the front desk to check everyone in while I try to wake up.

6:02 a.m. As the players rush pass me to get off the bus I pack up my bag and gather my stuff.  I walk off the bus to find that along with the RoughRiders, the humidity made the trip to Corpus as well.

6:07 a.m. I’m in my room on the 16th floor.  Radio guys always get the Penthouse.  Tonight is game one against the Hooks.  Time to get some sleep.  The bus leaves the hotel for the ballpark this afternoon 4:30.

A view from the Penthouse: Sunrise over the Gulf

A view from the Penthouse: Sunrise over the Gulf