Results tagged ‘ Eric McMahon ’

Behind the scenes: working out with Eric McMahon

Riders Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon was kind enough to give me a brief look at what goes into a workout for Riders players. Here’s a quick recap

Overall, it wasn’t too bad and I enjoyed getting a glimpse into what a workout is like. That said, this was just a sampler. I’m sure the full-on routine is a lot more for the body to handle (especially when the guys get to the weight room), but I appreciated getting a firsthand look at some of the things the players do to stay in shape off the field.

My thanks to Eric for taking the time and to David Kennedy for help putting the video together.


Baseball term of the day: Afterpiece – The second game of a doubleheader

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Fantasy Football (RoughRiders Edition)

Football season is officially here.  We have had preseason NFL the  past few  weeks, but high school and college kick off this weekend.  The start of the 2013 football season got us at the RoughRiders talking about what positions the current ‘Riders would play on our fantasy football teams.  This idea was inspired by a post from last year where the media team asked former RoughRiders Ross Wolf, Jerad  Prince and Strength & Conditioning coach Eric McMahon to form their RoughRiders football team.


This year, Alex and Nathan decided they would like to take a crack at it, so they both drew up their teams based on body build, strength, speed, athleticism, and everything else they know about the current ‘Riders squad.  Eric McMahon did so well last year that he too created a team for us.  It may not surprise you to know that all three teams are quite different, based on the type of squad the three participants chose to go with.

The chatter around the clubhouse has also revolved around this topic as the players discuss who they might pick.  Nick McBride, who left Frisco earlier this month, was the unanimous pick among the pitchers as the quarterback, however with Nick gone, there is more of a discussion as to who that QB would be.  In his August 27 pregame interview, Nathan discussed this topic with pitcher Phil Klein, who labeled the positions he thinks he could fill: Defensive end if he were able to put on more muscle, or tight end if he developed better hand skills.

Nathan Barnett’s Team

Nathan_1Luke Jackson at quarterback? He didn’t even play high school football!” remarked an anonymous RoughRiders player. Okay, sure: Luke  Jackson was not a high school football star–but he did play a bit.

But I like his moxy. The composure he has shown in his short time in Double-A which has helped him to limit batters to a 1-for-18 mark with runners in scoring position combined with mid-90s heat—those have to make for great raw materials at QB.

Convinced by Alex’s wise observations about Odor, I swapped him out to the safety spot (I originally had him listed as my RB).

I am a big believer in Randy Henry at the strong safety position. A former high school and JUCO shortstop, Henry has the athletic build and leadership skills I want in a guy in that spot.

Kyle McClellan seemed an obvious choice at center. The unnamed captain of the bullpen is the perfect man to anchor the middle of what should be the most cohesive group on your team—plus his veteran leadership will be great in the huddle.082713 Roster

A point of contention in our debate here in the office was the place of Kalian Sams, who I went with at the tight end position. A physical force, 6’4”, nearly 250 pounds with good speed and great body control, Sams is the perfect target and safety net for a team with a smaller receiving core (Strausborger, Teo Martinez, Reyes). I see Sams are Vernon Davis like, big powerful upper body that can block a bit and shrug off tacklers. He might not quite have the speed of Davis, but his wheels are deceptively impressive (10-for-10 stealing bases this year in the TL). I see him as a 80+ catch TE; you can’t replace that production if you put him elsewhere.with the young QB in Jackson.

My philosophy here was to fill out the offensive and defensive line with the bigger and more powerful guys on the team, since most of the players on the ‘Riders roster could probably handle the skill positions. I think I have done that. I am particularly fond of my placement of Nicholas at left tackle. A leader on this team, selfless and one of the first off the bench to protect his teammate Rougned Odor in the near benches-clearing scuffle against the Tulsa Drillers earlier this month, there is no one I would trust more to protect the blindside of the Rangers top right-handed pitching prospect in the pocket.

QB: Luke Jackson
Backup QB: Richard Bleier
RB: Joe Benson
Backup RB: Guilder Rodriguez

WR: Jimmy Reyes and Teodoro Martinez
Slot WR: Ryan Strausborger080413 team blog

TE: Kalian Sams and Jon Edwards

LT: Brett Nicholas
LG: Arlett Mavare

C: Kyle McClellan
G: Zach Zaneski
RT: Tomas Telis

DE: Ryan Rua
DT: Jerad Eickhoff
DE: Phil Klein

OLB: Lisalverto Bonilla
MLB: Nick Martinez
MLB: Brett Teschner
OLB: Francisco Mendoza

CB: Chih-Hsien Chiang and Luis Sardinas
FS: Rougned Odor
SS: Randy Henry

K: Tyler Tufts
P: Alex Claudio

Alex Vispoli’s Team

Alex_1This is probably my favorite blog post of the season because of the debates it inspires both in the office and in the clubhouse.  With the collection of talent with this group, I’m confident that my fake football team would take any other Texas League outfit straight to the woodshed.  My team runs a standard, pro-style offense that may not stretch the field too often, but should be able to score some points. There are some weak parts of the defense, but overall it is a solid unit that should make enough plays.


Quarterback: Ryan Rua

I like the idea of Rua as a pocket passer. Though he may not accrue many yards with his legs, we’ve seen his strong arm at third base this season and I’m confident he can make all the throws. His quiet confidence will also help keep the team focused on those crucial drives.

Running back: Joe Benson

A no brainer. Benson was a star tailback in high school and would carry the load for my offense.

Joe  Benson

Joe Benson

Fullback: Tomas Telis

As a catcher, he knows how to block and he will be a bowling ball that the defense will try to get past to get to Benson. In short yardage situations, I like his size; he’s like a miniature Jerome Bettis.

Flanker wide receiver: Lisalverto Bonilla

His height and strength should make him a good red zone target, à la Plaxico Burress. 

Split end wide receiver: Teodoro Martinez

Teo has good speed, which should make him good on the outside.  A little undersized, but this is as good a spot as any for the Venezuelan.

Slot wide receiver: Ryan Strausborger

A natural spot for the blue-collared Straus, who won’t be afraid to make a tough catch over the middle. A Wes Welker-type for this team, he should keep the chains moving.

Wide receiver: Luis Sardiñas

In case we need to go with four wideouts, Sardiñas should provide great speed to stretch the defense, though he is a little raw.

Tight end: Jon Edwards

An absolute matchup nightmare. Edwards is bigger than any defensive back and faster than any linebacker. My version of Rob Gronkowski.

Left tackle: Jerad Eickhoff

Big, strong and heady, I trust Eickhoff to protect the blind side and keep Rua upright.

Left guard: Brett Nicholas (offensive captain)

A team-first guy, Nicholas will give up his body to make sure we get that first down.

Center: Zach Zaneski

Big and mean when he needs to be, Zach fits the blue-collar bill as an offensive lineman. As a catcher he calls a great game and I trust him to lead the o-line.

Right guard: Richard Bleier

Not the biggest guard around, but Bleier is willing to get mean when he needs to.

Right tackle: Phil Klein

I love the height and length that Klein brings to the line. He’s a lot to get by and should give Rua enough time to deliver the football.



Rougned Odor and Kalian Sams

Defensive end: Kalian Sams

The defensive version of Jon Edwards. Sams is big, fast and a nightmare to face as an offense. I feel bad for the quarterback who gets squashed by the Dutchman.

Defensive tackle: Arlett Mavare

A big body and a spacefiller, Mavare should help clog the middle and has the strength to push the offense back.

Defensive tackle: Brett Teschner

Another big body, the catcher is already used to working out of a crouching position and will hold his ground at the very least against the o-line.

Defensive end: Randy Henry

More of a speed rusher than a power guy, Henry can bring some small-town nasty to this group.

Outside linebacker: Chih-Hsien Chiang

Chiang has added weight to his frame over the years but still maintains some agility. If he can hit an opposing player even half as hard as he hits the baseball, this should be a natural fit.

Middle linebacker: Kyle McClellan (defensive captain)


Kyle McClellan

Really happy to have Kyle calling the signals in the middle of my defense. An experienced veteran, there’s nothing he can’t recognize. He’s also very, very strong, extremely competitive and has a little crazy in his eye that will intimidate the opposition.

Outside linebacker: Luke Jackson

I’m counting more on savvy than speed or strength here. Jackson is a smart guy who should be able to read an offense and put himself in a good spot.

Cornerback: Guilder Rodriguez

Good size for a DB, Rodriguez brings veteran craftiness to the table and still has enough speed to stick with young wideouts. He can play the right angles and should be a tough matchup for any receiver.

Strong safety: Jimmy Reyes

With the intimidating presence Jimmy has on the mound, I have no doubt that he’ll make receivers think twice about going over the middle. Just enough speed and size to handle the position.

Free safety: Rougned Odor

Love the nastiness Odor brings to the diamond and he should be athletic enough to grab some interceptions and lay a player out. Might be a risk for penalty flags/fines for gray area hits, but you need a little of that on your team.

Cornerback: Francisco Mendoza

Mendoza has overcome injuries in the past and surpassed expectations. He plays with a chip and should be able to keep up with receivers and bring them down.


Kicker: Tyler Tufts

A little quirky (just look at the beard) and a bit undersized, so this is as good a spot as any for Tuffy.

Punter: Alex Claudio

Probably the safest spot on the gridiron for the slight Claudio. Given his nasty changeup, I would imagine he could manipulate his kicks to angle for the coffin corner pretty effectively as well.

Long snapper: Nick Martinez (special teams captain)

There’s not a natural spot for Martinez, but I think he should be in a leadership role and as leader of the special teams unit his voice will be heard.

Eric McMahon’s Team

Game experience and athletic feet.  He has the determination not to get beat around the edge.

The strength to deliver a strong down block and communication skills to tandem with Center or Tackle in a combo block

Possesses leadership and the intelligence to read the defensive front

He’s a great blocker with speed enough to pull around the edge

Great build!  Looks the part.

Tall and runs well. Sneaky athleticism.  A down-field threat over any secondary

WR #1-Bonilla
Excellent speed!

WR #2-Strausborger
Versatile speed from the edge or the slot

WR #3-Sardinas
What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed!

A power runner and above average agility.  Good strength to drive through a hole!

Knowledge and strength to contribute in a blocking scheme.  Speed enough for some 3rd down carries.


Luke Jackson

Arm strength+++

Big, Strong, and moves well

DT (Nose)-Teschner
Great strength and temperament to dominate in the trenches

Excellent size and speed off the edge

Athletic, with the right mentality to read run or pass.  Can help in the secondary

Moves well with enough size to be the force player on the edge and cover a TE/WR down field

Good strength, size and athleticism to cover both sides of the field


Zach Zaneski

The heart and soul of the defense!

FS-Nick Martinez
The coverage leader and playcaller.  He possesses good overall athleticism for the secondary

Speed enough to make a play on the ball in the air

C-Teo Martinez
Speed for coverage and the strength to secure the edge

Intelligence and quickness to stay on a WR’s hip downfield

Improved speed from years past. A great double coverage guy to bat down a ball in the air.

Just funky enough to get the job done right

He’s a gamer…Ready to be called on when needed

Quick on his feet and a fearless mentality

-Ryan (With much assistance from Alex, Nathan and Eric)

Baseball term of the day: rocket – A hard-hit, fast-moving line drive.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: Dangerous High Fives and Pumping Iron


‘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.

Another week has passed, which means it’s time for another edition of ‘Riders on the Record, number 15 in fact. The ‘Riders were joined by MLB rehabbers Craig Gentry, Jeff Baker and Colby Lewis on the home stand and Richard Bleier and Eric McMahon made their first appearances. Highlights include McMahon’s discussion of supplements and taking care of the ‘Riders training regimen and Ryan Strausborger’s new-found hobby.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 – Richard Bleier

Richard Bleier has settled in nicely to reliever duties in the Frisco bullpen after initially arriving as an addition to the rotation. Coming off a series in Corpus Christi in which the team played three extra-innings games, Bleier discusses the state of the bullpen and gives his assessment of the relief work by Zach Zaneski, one of his catchers, who threw in the 16-inning marathon a few days prior. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 – Craig Gentry

Rangers rehabber Craig Gentry gave us some time to talk about his rehab from a left hand non-displaced fracture. He talks about how he feels, the importance of rehab at-bats over plays in the field and his take on the “Kitten Face” nickname. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 – Jeff Baker

Back-to-back rehabber interviews brought Jeff Baker to the mic on Wednesday. The Rangers utility man was rehabbing from a sprained thumb suffered on an errant high-five by a unnamed teammate. He talks about another strange injury he saw as a player and voices his disappointment in being on the shelf.  (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 18, 2013 – Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon

The RoughRiders Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon joined the pregame show for the first time this season. Honored as the best at his position in 2012 in the Texas League, McMahon explains how he goes about his business and the ins and outs of keeping the players healthy and getting them stronger. He talks about the research he has to do on the ever-changing world of supplements and gives his take on the purpose of weightlifting. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Saturday, July 20, 2013 – Ryan Strausborger

Coming off a big offensive game and his first start of the season at second base, Ryan Strausborger discusses his offensive adjustments as well as the challenge of playing in the infield after all those games in the outfield this year. He discusses his passion for baserunning as well as a new-found passion for the guitar. (w/ Alex)
– Nathan

Baseball term of the day: aspirin tablet – a fastball that is difficult to hit due to its velocity and/or movement

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.

‘Riders Fantasy Football

Football training camps are underway across the country which means it’s time for fans to dust off their computers and draft fantasy football teams. Frisco pitcher Ross Wolf has played for the past eight seasons and plans on playing in three leagues this season.

“I draft differently for each league depending on the point system,” Wolf said. “I don’t really have a strategy going in but I pick the best players that I can from what’s available.

The highest he’s ever finished in a league was second. He placed fourth last year which he said was a miracle after the team he started with.

“I drafted Peyton Manning in the third round,” Wolf said. “Then he got hurt and I had to make some key trades last year.”

We asked him which RoughRiders he would put at each position if they were a football team.

“Olt is definitely a running back. Our tight end would be maybe Hoying. Profar would be either a wide receiver or cornerback. Princey would be our quarterback. Zaneski is a linebacker and I think Leury Garcia would be a running back too because he’s got the build,” Wolf said.

We also went to Jared Prince, one of Frisco’s outfielders who was also an all-state quarterback in high school. Then we talked to the RoughRiders’ Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon. Here are their picks.

Jared Prince’s Gridiron Warriors

Quarterback: Jared Prince

Running Back: Leury Garcia

Fullback: Ryan Rodebaugh

Flex: Ryan Strausborger

Wide Receiver: Jared Hoying

Left Tackle: Barret Loux

Left Guard: Miguel De Los Santos

Center: Jose Felix

Right Guard: Chris McGuiness

Riight Tackle: Nick Tepesch

Tight End: Val Majewski

Kicker: Cody Buckel

Defensive End: Zach Osborne

Defensive Tackle: Wilfredo Boscan

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham

Defensive End: Carlos Pimentel

Outside Linebacker: Alex Buchholz

Middle Linebacker: Zach Zaneski

Middle Linebacker: Mike Olt

Outside Linebacker: Tim Murphy

Cornerback: Jurickson Profar

Safety: Neal Ramirez

Cornerback: Engel Beltre

Punter: Richard Bleier

Eric McMahon’s RoughRiders

Quarterback: Jared Prince

Running Back: Leury Garcia

Fullback: Ryan Rodebaugh

Flex: Ryan Strausborger

Wide Receiver: Neal Ramirez

Left Tackle: Barret Loux

Left Guard: Miguel De Los Santos

Center: Jose Felix

Right Guard: Zach Zaneski

Right Tackle: Nick Tepesch

Tight End: Val Majewski

Kicker: Cody Buckel

Defensive End: Zach Osborne

Defensive Tackle: Wilfredo Boscan

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham

Defensive End: Mike Olt

Outside Linebacker: Carlos Pimentel

Middle Linebacker: Chris McGuiness

Middle Linebacker: Alex Buchholz

Outside Linebacker: Tim Murphy

Cornerback: Engel Beltre

Safety: Jared Hoying

Cornerback: Jurickson Profar

Punter: Richard Bleier

Story by Jarah Wright

Eric McMahon’s Workout Plan Part 2

Eric McMahon’s Workout Plan Part 1

Shot by Jarah Wright

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