Results tagged ‘ Jurickson Profar ’
This story appears in the March 7 edition of Sports Page Weekly, which is a free publication available in the Metroplex.
During the early portion of spring training for the Texas Rangers, much of the focus has been on a young second baseman who burst onto the pro sports scene in August 2012. He impressed observers with his skill and a cool sense of confidence which was uncanny for someone so young. His notability and importance have only grown because of recent events. Come late February, the Rangers, as well as fans, were wondering when they’d finally see him take to the field out in Surprise.
No, this discussion does not concern Jurickson Profar and his balky right shoulder. The above also applies to newly minted Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson.
Last December, the Rangers plucked Wilson, better known for his stellar work on the gridiron and whose pro baseball career had been on hiatus since 2011, from the Colorado Rockies in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. The cost to formally acquire the baseball rights of the undersized signal caller? A mere $12,000, roughly the same amount of signing bonus money a team might allot toward a late round draft pick in June.
Throughout the off-season, we’ve read numerous stories about how the Rangers drafting Russell Wilson was not a gimmick. Let’s be clear: this whole episode has been a complete gimmick.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “gimmick” with the following description: a method or trick that is used to get people’s attention or to sell something.
Enter the Rangers and Wilson. On March 3rd, the team held a “Russell Wilson Day” of sorts. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback traveled to Surprise, worked out with the team, fielded ground balls, took in the spring game against Cleveland (a 6-4 Rangers loss) and gave a speech to players within the organization. And, yes, Texas has begun selling Rangers jerseys with “3” and “Wilson” on the back, as well as other Wilson-themed merchandise. (I’m sure Frisco RoughRiders shortstop Luis Sardinas, whose jersey number is 3 on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, gave Wilson his blessing to temporarily use the number. Maybe Wilson even persuaded him with financial incentives.)
Now, no one inside or outside the Rangers organization expects Wilson to trade in his facemask and shoulder pads for a glove and some pine tar on a full-time or even part time basis. This was a singular opportunity to stage a cool photo-op, grab some friendly headlines and sell some Rangers gear. In other words, it was a gimmick. For his part, Wilson seems to sincerely enjoy baseball and his respect for those within the game is evident. But other than throwing out the first pitch sometime this summer, he’s not suiting up on a diamond again anytime soon (unless he somehow transforms into some sort of Anthony Wright clone). The Rangers knew this when they took him off the Rockies’ hands a few months ago.
But the fact that drafting Russell Wilson and having him spend a day at spring training was a gimmick does not necessarily make it a bad thing. I realize there’s a negative connotation with the word, but gimmicks can have positive value, as this one does.
First of all, the Rangers should be commended for recognizing and seizing a terrific promotional opportunity and making the most of it in a pseudo-organic way (at least compared with, for example, the Red Sox’ explicit marketing deal with Johnny Manziel, which brought the former Aggie to Fort Myers for a day, wearing a #2 Boston jersey to boot). Additionally, it has brought a bevy of positive attention to a club coming off a mildly disappointing season, fans are buzzing over their team’s connection with the best young quarterback in the NFL (go ahead, compare his numbers with Andrew Luck and tell me who comes out on top) and it allowed the players in the clubhouse to bask in the glow of a bona fide champion.
And therein lies a big reason why the Rangers want to be so closely associated with a second baseman who owns a career .229 batting average in 93 professional baseball games (all below the Advanced-A level). As this organization strives to maintain a team that consistently competes for championships, the hope is that through osmosis this group can absorb as many positive attributes as it can from winners like Wilson. Especially ones who are young enough for current professional athletes to relate to. That sort of thing can potentially go a long way toward developing a team’s culture and identity.
If Adrian Beltre is lifting the Commissioner’s Trophy high above his head come October, I’m not sure he’ll be pointing back to March 3rd and Wilson’s spring training visit as a big reason why, but it could be an intangible piece of the foundation that makes up this team’s season. Intangibles are immeasurable by definition. But in this case for the Rangers, it cost $12,000.
Yes, drafting Russell Wilson and bringing him to spring training was a gimmick. A gimmick that may already be worth the gambit.
The rain has stopped, the clouds have parted, and Rangers baseball is back in Arlington! Many people will call in sick from work, pull their kids out early from school, and make the drive to the ballpark to welcome our Rangers back home for the 2013 season. Opening Day is finally here as the Rangers face the LA Angels this afternoon at 1:05.
Today also marks Josh Hamilton’s first return to Rangers Ballpark since leaving for LA. This return has sparked a number of reactions by Rangers fans, especially after remarks made by Hamilton questioning the loyalty of DFW baseball fans.
I am personally on the edge of my seat waiting to know how Josh will be received at today’s game. Will the stadium erupt in boos? Will there be cheers for the once-adored All-Star? Or will he receive the silent treatment, getting little acknowledgement from the fans of his former team?
More than likely, there will be a combination of all three. There are a number of fans who feel Hamilton leaving the Rangers and the way he left was a betrayal, and boos will be heard throughout the stadium. Others will try to look past the hurt feelings and the tension, and cheer. However, the hope for many is that there will be silence, no boos or cheers, proving Rangers fans stand strongly behind their team and can move past the tensions from the last few months.
Regardless of how Hamilton’s reception plays out, the fact is today is the Rangers Home Opener. The day Rangers fans have been looking forward to is finally here. Enjoy it and look forward to many enjoyable days and nights at the ballpark!
Other notes from the week:
-The Rangers began the season this past Sunday on the road in Houston. Despite dropping the first game of the series 2-8 in the Astros’ first game in the American League, the Rangers came back to win the series in back-to-back shutouts.
Yu Darvish was one strike away from pitching a perfect game in Game 2, tallying a career-high 14 strikeouts. Former RoughRider Alexi Ogando also had a career-high 10 strikeouts in Game 3. In total, the Rangers had 43 strikeouts, the most by a major-league team in the first three games of the season, breaking the mark set by the 1966 Cleveland Indians.
-Elvis Andrus is in Texas for a while. The 24-year-old shortstop announced Thursday that he signed an eight-year contract extension, securing him at least through 2018 (he has an opt-out in his contract at that point).
Where was Nolan Ryan? At Thursday’s press conference announcing Andrus’ contract extension, Ryan was noticeably absent. This only fueled the curiosities of his future with the Rangers. It was reported later that Nolan attended the Round Rock Express season opener.
What does the future hold for Jurickson Profar? With the Elvis Andrus contract extension, the future for Rangers’ top prospect Profar is up in the air. The former RoughRider, will be in Round Rock this season, but playing the same position as Andrus brings questions regarding the 20-year-old’s future.
Baseball term of the day: Parachute Hitter – another term for a singles hitter
Today is a day for minor celebration, not necessarily because it’s “311 Day,” but because we are now exactly one month away from the home opener for the 2013 season at Dr Pepper Ballpark. We are also 22 days from the RoughRiders-Express exhibition game in Frisco and 24 days away from the official start of the regular season in North Little Rock.
All of the Rangers’ minor leaguers (excluding the ones who had big league camp invitations) reported to Surprise one week ago and they will begin their spring training games against other organizations on Thursday. We’ll do our best to get you whatever information we can on those games, though the Double-A team that takes the field against their Royals counterparts on Thursday is guaranteed to look much different than the one that arrives here in the Metroplex come late March. That’s mainly because off all the roster mixing that goes on in the spring, with many players playing a level higher than they will ultimately be on once the season starts.
As for the big club, we are still not at a point of complete resolution with the Nolan Ryan situation, though it looks like we are moving closer to that point. The Rangers released a statement from him yesterday that basically said he’s been meeting with ownership about his role with the team and that those discussions will continue. It’s not much to read into, but I suppose it should be taken as a positive sign that there is a chance that they work this all out and come out a happy family once again.
In other developments, Craig Gentry of all people is hitting home runs, Jurickson Profar’s stint as starting spring training shortstop (I love alliterative phrases) is likely coming to an end as Elvis Andrus’ stay at the World Baseball Classic was a short one, and Derek Holland gets more time to play on the “big” stage.
Ryan will remain CEO for time being, continue to search for understanding of role - Evan Grant gives you the basics of yesterday’s developments with Ryan’s full statement included.
More time on WBC’s big stage can only help Rangers’ “wildcard” Derek Holland (subscribers only) – Tim Cowlishaw thinks the continuing experience for Holland on the US team will be good for him.
Josh Hamilton brought sizzle to Texas, but new Ranger Lance Berkman could offer just as much substance – Highlights from Cowlishaw’s Sunday column on why there might not be so large a dropoff between Hamilton and Berkman. (A major caveat should be added – IF Lance stays healthy.)
(Daily FWST disclaimer: most articles on their site are subscription-only, but you can easily read the articles around the sign-in pop-up)
Positive spin on Ryan staying takes another negative turn – Randy Galloway (who has practically been the writer-of-record on all things Nolan Ryan) says that, in spite of yesterday’s statement, Ryan staying on with the Rangers is no sure thing at all.
Long journey may lead Rangers’ Martin to center field – From a couple of days ago, but a good read from Gil Lebreton nonetheless about Leonys Martin.
Despite Ross’ struggles, Rangers hold on for 7-6 victory over Indians – Robbie Ross says he was not distracted by the ZOOperstars, who performed at yesterday’s game in Goodyear. Thank goodness for that.
Ross struggles for first time this spring – ESPNDallas.com’s Ron Matejko has more reaction from Ross on his tough start (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB).
Is there still time to get Nolan Ryan to stay? - Richard Durrett gives his thoughts on the latest developments with Ryan.
Tepesch still auditioning for role – Ron Washington and Mike Maddux talk about 2012 RoughRiders pitcher Nick Tepesch and his odds on winning the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.
There was no game for the Rangers yesterday but of course that does not mean things were slow in terms of news developments. The big story continues to be the Nolan Ryan situation and we can expect things to remain that way until the big man speaks publicly on the matter. So far, he has shown little interest in doing that for reasons only he knows.
I think I speak for most fans when I say that I hope that this reaches a conclusion that keeps Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels’ top lieutenants with the organization. That might be a pie-in-the-sky hope, but it’s no crime to dream of a happy ending in this case. Sometimes, however, the band does end up breaking up. It happened to the Beatles and it can happen here.
In my opinion, what the Rangers would like to avoid experiencing is what happened the Red Sox front office over the final years of the Theo Epstein era. Epstein is a bit like Daniels in how he rose through the game to become a big league general manager. Like Daniels, Epstein had a group of extremely talented people around him who eventually outgrew their roles (i.e., the Red Sox could not afford them or give ran out of ways to promote them) and moved on to other organizations. Think of Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod as examples. Their departures diluted the talent pool of the front office and as a result, the Red Sox stumbled through some mediocre drafts and disastrous free agency signings, leading to three straight seasons ending with no postseason in Boston. Maybe voices like Hoyer and McLeod, had they been a part of those decisions, could have asked questions that weren’t being asked or proposed different solutions.
The Rangers ownership wants to make sure the Thad Levines and A.J. Prellers of the organization stay put to keep Daniels’ “dream team” of assistants together. Daniels’ promotion to president clears the way for some future upward movement in the front office, making it more likely that the band stays together for a little longer and the Rangers continue their run of recent success.
So where does that leave Nolan Ryan? We don’t really know, though there is plenty of speculation. My belief is that we won’t know until Nolan himself determines how he would like to see this play out. Until then, let’s hope this iteration of the Beatles keeps on rocking together.
On the subject of who has the power in the Rangers’ organization – Evan Grant says that nothing much will change with the organization despite the title changes.
Daniels on Nolan Ryan: ‘I don’t want him to leave’ – Some quotes from the Rangers’ GM/president, who was on ESPN Radio 103.3 yesterday.
If the always-sensible Nolan Ryan wants to win, it’s Texas Rangers or bust – Highlights from Kevin Sherrington’s DMN column.
Daniels had ‘good conversation’ with Ryan over the weekend, says there’s ‘no issue’ between the two – More Daniels quotes from another radio interview, this time with KRLD.
Why Rangers haven’t made move for Lohse, others – Daniels also took some time yesterday to touch on the potential acquisition of a new starting pitcher.
Team USA gets strong debut from Holland – There was a Ranger in action yesterday, as Derek Holland threw three innings for Team USA in a WBC tuneup vs. the White Sox.
Rangers’ top prospects can benefit from WBC absences – Jeff Wilson has Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar looking to take advantage of their extended playing time with the big club while the WBC is in progress.
Rangers don’t need to panic and press the No. 5 button – Gil Lebreton says Texas can afford to be patient in finding a fifth starter.
Harrison hopes offseason pays off in ’13 – Matt Harrison says he’s not content with coasting off his first all-star season despite earning a big contract, writes Anthony Andro.
Inbox: Could injuries bring Lohse into picture? – T.R. Sullivan answers fan questions in this week’s mailbag column.
Things were progressing in a nice and dull manner out in Surprise until yesterday’s news that Elvis Andrus would be scratched from the Rangers’ spring training game against the Indians. Missing the game itself wasn’t as noteworthy as was the reason why: his left arm was sore after spending nine hours on Wednesday getting a new tattoo, a memorial to his late father. Publicly, the Rangers haven’t seemed too upset over the ink stink, which overshadowed their 10-0 win – the team’s first of the spring. It also may have been a blessing in disguise for Jurickson Profar, who filled in for Andrus at shortstop and tripled in his first at bat off Zach McAllister (the same Zach McAllister who Profar took deep in his first major league at bat last September in Cleveland). The whole “incident” won’t mean much in the long run – which is a good thing – but it certainly made for an eventful Thursday in the desert. On to today’s links:
Andrus sits out due to sensitivity from new tattoo – A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com talks to Andrus and Ron Washington about the new tattoo and missing yesterday’s game. There’s also some good notes about Derek Holland’s impressive performance, Mike Olt in the outfield and Robbie Ross feeling a little sore.
Berkman looks like usual self in first spring at-bat – Cassavell has a look at Lance Berkman’s spring debut, which included a hit, a walk and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot.
Lance Berkman doesn’t show rust in debut – More on Berkman, from Ron Matejko of ESPNDallas.com.
Holland leaves for WBC on high note – The Rangers lefty tossed four scoreless innings yesterday against Cleveland and now leaves to pitch for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic.
Spring break: Rhode Islander trying to catch on with Rangers – Jeff Beliveau is trying to become the first player from the Ocean State to suit up for the Rangers, per Drew Davison.
‘Tattoo soreness’ and other significant developments in the Rangers’ camp – Randy Galloway gives his thoughts on the news of the day and Lance Berkman.
The Rangers began their exhibition slate over the weekend with a tie and a pair of losses against the Royals. Today they’ll get some fresh competition when they venture over to Scottsdale for a date with the Rockies. Here’s a smattering of stories from the weekend that was in Rangers-land:
Perez fired up for chance at rotation spot – Former RoughRider Martin Perez gets the starting nod today for Texas and has as good an opportunity as anyone for the fifth spot in the rotation. T.R. Sullivan gets the thoughts of an excitable Perez.
Harrison battles command in windy conditions – Sullivan writes that Matt Harrison’s first spring outing was a little ragged in less-than-ideal weather.
Tepesch impresses in spring debut vs. hometown team – While he had a few rough days as a RoughRider, there was no doubt last season that Nick Tepesch profiles as a big league starting pitcher. He showed that yesterday with two scoreless innings against the Royals.
Tepesch impresses in debut – ESPNDallas.com’s Ron Matejko has more on Tepesch’s outing yesterday.
McClellan suffers setback – Matejko also has an update on Kyle McClellan, who re-injured his shoulder in bullpen session Sunday morning.
Nolan Ryan’s focus is pitching (of course) – Richard Durrett has Nolan Ryan talking about the club’s pitching situation, including the candidates for the number five spot in the rotation.
After subpar season, Rangers’ Kinsler vows new approach in 2013 (subscribers only) – Evan Grant writes that Ian Kinsler believes he can improve from his down 2012 season.
Texas Rangers have the Kansas City Royals blues – Grant runs down the essentials from yesterday’s 7-5 loss to KC.
Rangers conflicted by Profar’s talent, Andrus’ prime – The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Randy Galloway writes about the dilemma that figures to plague the Rangers for the next two seasons with Jurickson Profar essentially ready for a full-time role at a position where there is zero need for Texas.
Rangers have second hitting coach with ‘old and gray’ Berkman – Dave Magadan’s not the only new hitting coach for Texas, writes Jeff Wilson.
Kyle McClellan still slowed by back soreness – Drew Davison has the Star-Telegram’s notebook with Justin Grimm reminiscing about his stint with the big club last season.
As someone somewhere once said, “Let the games begin!” Today marks the start of Cactus League play as the Rangers and they won’t have to go far to play their opponent. In fact, neither will opponent. Texas will play the Kansas City Royals this afternoon in the stadium they share out in Surprise, Arizona. Derek Holland will get the start against Will Smith while Carlton and Uncle Phil might make an appearance as well. On to today’s Rangers links:
Pudge Rodriguez hired to front office – The big news yesterday was that Ivan Rodriguez was rejoining the organization as a special assistant to Jon Daniels as well as an instructor and ambassador. As a result, we might see Pudge in Frisco this summer like we did with Greg Maddux last year. Drew Davison gets Pudge’s thoughts on catching prospect Jorge Alfaro and also notes the Rangers players who will be competing in the World Baseball Classic.
Five Rangers to watch in spring training – Jeff Wilson says that the Rangers could greatly benefit from big springs from these five players.
Spring Break: New Rangers reliever Josh Lindblom embraces the cold -Davison talks cold weather baseball with Josh Lindblom, who played his college ball in the Big Ten.
Lighter Moreland has heavier role with Rangers – The AP writes that former ‘Rider Mitch Moreland is lighter this spring, both in weight and attitude.
Jim Bowden on Profar/Cano and Ron Washington’s Job Security – Former major league GM and ESPN Insider Jim Bowden appeared on the Ben & Skin Show on 103.3 ESPN Radio yesterday and had some interesting things to say, especially his hypothetical 2014 Rangers middle infield.
Small in stature, LHP Joe Ortiz making big impression - Richard Durrett profiles former RoughRider and dark horse relief candidate Joseph Ortiz (he told me he prefers Joseph, but the Rangers insist on using Joe on their rosters with him for some reason). Last season in his two months with the ‘Riders, former big league all-star Brad Hawpe said that Ortiz was one of the three toughest lefties in the Texas League along with Midland’s Sean Doolittle (who pitched with Oakland by mid-season) and Corpus Christi’s Kevin Chapman.
Rangers hire Pudge as special assistant – T.R. Sullivan has more on the Rangers’ hiring of Ivan Rodriguez.
Holland believes Classic will give him an edge - Sullivan talks with today’s starter, Derek Holland, about the upcoming WBC, in which he is excited to be participating. Some worry that the WBC is bad for pitchers, but don’t count the former RoughRiders lefty in that camp. On an editorial note, how great would it be to see Holland matched up against the Netherlands at some point?
Opening Day for the RoughRiders is a mere 43 days away and baseball fans in the Metroplex are itching to see the ‘Riders and Rangers in action once again. As a primer to get ready for the season, we’ll be posting semi-regular batches of links to stories by the local media about the Rangers, giving you a one-stop shop of sorts for all your Rangers news & notes. With today marking the 20th birthday of 2012 ‘Riders shortstop Jurickson Profar, today seemed as good a day as any to start filling you up with Rangers info.
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has stories about one of the youngest players in big league camp, former ‘Riders infielder Leury Garcia, and one of the oldest players in Lance Berkman. I know there’s been abundant talk about Garcia’s versatility, but there probably needs to be some pumping of the brakes regarding his ability to play outfield. While he is a premium defensive player whether he’s at second base or shortstop, he is still inexperienced in the outfield and will need a lot more time out there before he can be considered a credible option on any sort of basis at the big league level. He’s a great piece for the Rangers to have, nonetheless.
Jeff Wilson (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) notes that the Rangers hope that their success on offense will start at the top with former RoughRiders Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus setting the tone for the rest of the lineup. Drew Davison gets to know former Montreal Expos draftee Collin Balester, who hopes to make an impact in the bullpen this season. Josh Hamilton is certainly not going to win any popularity contests around these parts, and Gil Lebreton gets Biblical to start his column chastising the former Rangers slugger.
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant has some notes on yesterday’s first intersquad scrimmage, including some Yu Darvish observations and an injury update on 2012 ‘Riders reliever Wilmer Font.
Anthony Andro (Fox Sports Southwest) also recaps Darvish’s performance, with the Japanese right-hander getting a good crack about Andrus’ defensive miscue. Matt Mosely wonders if Hamilton is crazy like a fox for making his DFW “baseball town” comments.
Finally, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com explores Matt Harrison’s roots on Tobacco Road in the small town of Creedmoor, North Carolina.
The provisional rosters for the teams competing in the World Baseball Classic were recently announced and the RoughRiders will be well-represented in the third iteration of this relatively new showcase event. Of course, there may be some players added on or taken off before the tournament starts on March 2, but a quick scan of each squad’s roster reveals 15 players who at one point wore a RoughRiders uniform. Not including big league rehabbers, that number is 11. Here’s the full list of players who once plied their trade at Dr Pepper Ballpark that will soon be seeking baseball’s greatest international achievement:
United States of America
RHP R.A. Dickey (rehabbed with the ’Riders in 2004, making four starts)
LHP Derek Holland (made four starts during 2008 season, his last as a minor leaguer)
1B Mark Teixeira (rehabbed in 2004 & 2007 for two total games)
OF Tim Smith (played 36 games in 2009)
OF Nelson Cruz (rehabbed in 2010 & 2011 for six total games)
RHP Pedro Strop (made 36 relief appearances in 2009)
RHP Edinson Volquez (started 10 games in 2005 & 11 games in 2007)
RHP Jason Grilli (made a one-inning rehab start in 2009)
1B Adrian Gonzalez (played 45 games in 2003)
IF/OF Edgar Gonzalez (played 106 games in 2004)
RHP Luis Mendoza (pitched in 27 games – 26 starts – in 2007 & 2008)
SS Jurickson Profar (played 126 games in 2012)
OF Engel Beltre (played 302 games between 2009 & 2012)
C Salomon Manriquez (played 71 games in 2007)
SS Elvis Andrus (played 118 games in 2008)
As a bonus entry, LHP Richard Bleier (a RoughRider from 2010 – 2012) pitched for Team Israel in last fall’s WBC qualifying tournament. Israel lost to Spain in the Jupiter, Florida qualifier, failing to gain entry into the main event.