Results tagged ‘ Martin Perez ’
This article originally appeared in the March 21 edition of SportsPage Weekly, which is a free publication available throughout the Metroplex. To view the article in the online edition, click here.
There are very few “sure things” in life, but when it comes to local sports and entertainment options, the Frisco RoughRiders are just about as close to a sure thing as you can get. Year after year, Dr Pepper Ballpark hosts exciting baseball action, premium prospects and fun for the whole family. Ask anyone who has ever been to a RoughRiders game and they’ll tell you how memorable the experience is.
It’s almost hard to believe, but the RoughRiders will soon begin their 12th season on April 3 at home against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals affiliate). In honor of a dozen years of Frisco baseball, we present the top 12 reasons to catch the RoughRiders in action this season at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
#12 – A winning tradition
Everybody loves a winner. And over the past decade the RoughRiders have been one of the most consistent winners in Minor League Baseball. In 2013, Frisco finished with a 70-70 record, its eighth consecutive season with a .500 or better mark on the ledger. The last time Frisco finished with a losing record was the only time in team history: back in 2005, when the team finished 58-82. The streak of non-losing seasons is by far the longest in the Texas League; every other team in the circuit has had at least one losing season in the last three years. The streak is the longest in Double-A and the third-longest among all 120 full-season minor league clubs, exceeded only by the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats (11 straight non-losing seasons) and the Advanced-A San Jose Giants (ten). Including teams that play in short-season leagues, Frisco’s streak is the sixth longest; the Elizabethton Twins (25), Brooklyn Cyclones (13) and AZL Giants (13) have the longest such streaks in stateside Minor League Baseball.
#11 – History in the making
Baseball fans appreciate the sport’s history and tradition, and the Texas League plays an important role in the lineage of the game. The RoughRiders and their fans belong to a storied Texas League pedigree that dates back to 1888 (the American League was founded in 1901). A game at Dr Pepper Ballpark is more than just a chance to contribute to baseball’s history; it affords fans the opportunity to witness history as it happens. Notable Texas League alumni span the generations and include Major League Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Dizzy Dean, Joe Morgan and Whitey Herzog. It is a legacy furthered by many stars in the game today who also enjoyed success in the Texas League. Current Rangers Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus had All-Star seasons in the Texas League in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Outside the organization, an impressive crop of recent alumni continue to cultivate the Texas League brand as their big league careers flourish. The Texas League footprint extends across the Major League map and features young stars Mike Trout, Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Lance Lynn, Jean Segura and numerous others.
#10 – Rehabbing Rangers
Players, coaches and fans dislike injuries, but they remain an inevitable component of any professional game. For a major league club, the inconvenience of an in-season malady is lessened—somewhat—when an affiliate team plays in the neighborhood. No one in Frisco hopes for a rehab assignment, but when a Rangers’ regular tweaks a calf or strains a wrist, Dr Pepper Ballpark provides a two-fold benefit for both the player and the fan. Players can stay in the Metroplex to nurse an injury and play in an atmosphere that approximates a big league ballgame. On the other hand, fans receive a unique opportunity to view their favorite Rangers in a more intimate setting and at an affordable cost. A total of 13 Rangers players donned a RoughRiders’ cap for a rehab assignment in 2013, including pitcher Matt Harrison, who unfortunately started as many games for Frisco (two) as he did for Texas. Rehab assignments rarely occur with much forewarning, but thanks to Derek Holland’s dog, Wrigley, the southpaw has likely already booked a stint with the RoughRiders in 2014. Make sure you’re in the stands when the Rangers’ rehabbers visit Dr Pepper Ballpark.
#9 – A new skipper
For the first time in five years, someone other than Steve Buechele will write out Frisco’s lineup card. With Buechele managing the Rangers’ Triple-A club this season, Jason Wood steps into the role for the RoughRiders in 2014. Wood, a five-year major leaguer and veteran of 18 professional seasons as a player, will begin his fourth season as a manager in the Texas farm system. The 44-year-old spent the previous three years as the skipper for Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. He led the Pelicans to the playoffs in all three campaigns and looks to get the ’Riders back to the postseason this year. While Wood is a fresh face in the dugout, the rest of his coaching staff will remain in place from the last two seasons. Jeff Andrews returns as the team’s pitching coach following a season in which Frisco’s hurlers collectively set numerous team records. This past offseason, Andrews was honored the co-recipient of the Rangers’ annual Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year award. Jason Hart will begin his third season as Frisco’s hitting coach and his instruction has been lauded for helping former RoughRiders Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, Chris McGuiness and Engel Beltre all reach the major leagues over the past two seasons.
#8 – Affordability
One of the charms of Minor League Baseball is getting a big league experience without paying a premium price. RoughRiders games are no different because the team strives to make sure everyone can afford to watch games at Dr Pepper Ballpark. It can be a major strain on the wallet to attend other professional sporting events. The average cost for a family of four to attend a Major League Baseball game is approximately $208; for an NFL game that number is $444, with the NBA checking in at $442 and the NHL at $355. That figure for a Minor League Baseball game? Just $61. With RoughRiders tickets starting at just $7 (less than the cost of a movie theater ticket), attending a game at Dr Pepper Ballpark is very much accessible. But say you’re interested in getting even more value at the ballpark. The RoughRiders offer affordable ticket plans that include all-you-can-eat food and drink, and even packages that include alcohol. These value-based ticket plans make attending games in Frisco possible without denting your bank account.
#7 – The other guys aren’t too shabby either
Tomorrow’s stars play today in the Texas League and 2014 is no exception. The RoughRiders will welcome a host of talent from around the circuit to Dr Pepper Ballpark this season, many of whom are ranked on the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects list. The Tulsa Drillers figure to field a strong pitching rotation bolstered by top 50 prospects Jon Gray (#14) and Eddie Butler (#41). Both pitchers bring high-octane velocity to the Drillers’ staff and can touch the upper 90s on the radar gun. Catcher Austin Hedges (#24) of the San Antonio Missions is rated as the second-highest prospect at his position by MLB.com. His strong arm and good footwork behind the plate will give would-be base stealers second thoughts. Kyle Zimmer (#25), the number five overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, is expected to start the season with the Northwest Arkansas. The Royals promoted Zimmer to Double-A late last season where he held a 1.93 ERA through four starts with the Naturals. Position players to watch for elsewhere in the Texas League include speedy leadoff hitter Delino DeShields (#66) of the Corpus Christi Hooks, Jorge Bonifacio (#91) of the Naturals and gifted batter Stephen Piscotty (#98) of the Springfield Cardinals. Every mentioned player has big league potential.
#6 – You won’t be the only one cheering
The vocal and expressive fan will find a home at Dr Pepper Ballpark. For nine consecutive seasons, the RoughRiders have led all 30 Double-A teams in total and average attendance. More than half-a-million fans routinely fill Dr Pepper Ballpark every season and the team averages better than 7,000 fans per game. Not only is that the best in Double-A, but it’s also higher than 17 Triple-A teams! On 21 occasions in 2013, the ’Riders drew crowds of more than 10,000. Frisco’s fan base is second to none and players say the crowds enhance the in-game environment more than anywhere else in the Texas League. Bring a sign, be loud and shout until your voice goes out. You won’t be cheering alone.
#5 – More than just peanuts and Cracker Jack
RoughRiders cuisine far outstrips traditional ballpark fare. Sure, fans can still fill up to the gills on foot-long hot dogs and brats from Smokie’s Sausage Shack, but Dr Pepper Ballpark serves something for any palate. The new Beer & Barbeque stand will cook in-house, smoked Texas barbeque favorites while Lone Star Pizza offers a wide range of personal style pies. Deep-fried Oreos grace the à la carte lineup for the first time this season, and for those in search of a healthy option, Greek yogurt is also available. Of course, many Frisco fan favorites will be back on the menu as well, from fresh-spun cotton candy and funnel cakes to snow cones and freshly squeezed lemonade. Of course, few things taste better on a hot Texas night than a cold serving of Dippin’ Dots. It’s never summer without great food, great drinks and RoughRiders baseball.
#4 – An arsenal of arms
For the best pitching this side of Yu Darvish and Arlington, Dr Pepper Ballpark is the place to be. The RoughRiders will rely on their mound men to bolster the franchise’s quest for an eighth playoff berth. Right-hander Luke Jackson is expected to lead the group in 2014. The fireballer started the previous season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach and made his RoughRiders’ debut on August 4, 2013. He didn’t miss a beat in Double-A and finished the season with 134 combined strikeouts at both Myrtle Beach and Frisco and held the eighth-lowest ERA among all full season minor league pitchers (2.04). Those numbers were a big reason why the Rangers named Jackson the club’s 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Alex Claudio figures to take the reins from Jackson and the starters as a key piece in the RoughRiders’ bullpen in 2014. The deceptive Claudio fools batters with his changeup and was named the Rangers’ Minor League Reliever of the Year last season. Another burgeoning prospect, Alex Gonzalez, hopes to excite the Frisco faithful this year. Don’t call him Alex, though. Gonzalez prefers the nickname “Chi Chi,” given by a family member. Baseball America rates the 2013 first round draft pick as the number six prospect in the Rangers’ organization. Fans on the wild side will anticipate the return of eight-year veteran Kevin Pucetas as he unleashes his newly developed knuckleball pitch on the diamond this season. Other highly-ranked pitchers that are expected to see time in Frisco this season include Alec Asher, Nick Martinez and Jerad Eickhoff.
#3 – Rougned Odor
Because the makeup of minor league teams are up to the discretion of the parent club, you never know who will be on the Opening Day roster until very late in spring training. That is typically the case with the RoughRiders, but one player who looks very likely to be with the team on April 3 is second baseman Rougned Odor. The Venezuelan with the memorable name is the Rangers’ top-ranked prospect according to Baseball America and he showed why during a 30-game stint with Frisco at the end of the 2013 season. Odor was promoted to Double-A in early August and hit .306/.354/.530 with six home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 19 RBI. And he did all of that as just a 19-year-old, the youngest player in Double-A. (Projecting those numbers out over a 140-game season, he would have hit 28 homers with 37 doubles, nine triples and 89 RBI.) Now 20, Odor spent the first half of spring training in big league camp and hopes to use that experience to further propel his ascension to the major leagues. For the time being, however, the spunky infielder with the big bat is expected to ply his trade at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
#2 – Family-friendly entertainment
The RoughRiders are well-known for making trips to Dr Pepper Ballpark about more than just the game on the field. The atmosphere on game nights is a blast, even for folks who aren’t big baseball fans. The RoughRiders employ a full-time entertainment director whose sole job is to make sure that families have fun when visiting the ballpark. From spectacular fireworks shows following every Friday night home game to a collection of more than 180 hilarious on-field skits and promotions that rotate throughout the season, there is something fun for everyone who comes to a game. Dr Pepper Ballpark even features a pool in right field and two playgrounds (including one specifically designed for two-to-five-year-olds). And for a lot of fans, their favorite RoughRiders aren’t ones you might see in Arlington someday – they are Deuce and Daisy, the team’s loveable mascots.
#1 – The home of future Rangers
With Odor and a tremendous pitching staff leading the way, there should be another impressive assortment of talent on display at Dr Pepper Ballpark this season. This has been the norm in each of the RoughRiders’ first 11 seasons in Frisco, and with the Rangers’ relentless pursuit of building a winning organization from top-to-bottom, don’t look for that trend to change anytime soon. Since 2003, 107 former RoughRiders have reached the major leagues, almost one-third of all Frisco players. In 2013, ten former ’Riders made the big leagues, including Nick Tepesch, Beltre, Garcia and McGuiness. One look at the Rangers’ 40-man roster shows that half of its members played in Frisco. Elvis Andrus, Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Holland, Leonys Martin, Profar, Neftali Feliz, Mitch Moreland, Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez are just a few of the Texas stalwarts who once wore a RoughRiders uniform. Outside of the Rangers organization, All-Stars such as Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez and C.J. Wilson all spent time in Frisco as well.
With the RoughRiders, fans get winning baseball, exciting prospects, delicious food, affordable family fun and the future of the Texas Rangers on display. It all shows that the Frisco RoughRiders continue to be a sure thing for families and sports fans across the Metroplex.
‘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 provides our first all road edition of ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include the first Rangers rehabber in LHP Martin Perez, the Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and the ‘Riders top position player prospect Hanser Alberto. Enjoy!
May 5, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele
Steve Buechele talks to Alex about the great defense the ‘Riders have played to this point and the frigid conditions from Thursday night. (all entries this week w/ Alex Vispoli)
May 6, 2013 – Rangers rehabbing lefty Martin Perez
Before making his first regular season start of 2013, Martin Perez talks about his rehab after taking a line drive off of forearm in Spring Training and how is feeling as he prepares for a start with the ‘Riders.
May 7, 2013 – HOFer Rickey Henderson
Alex talked to Rickey Henderson. Come on. It’s Rickey Henderson — just click play.
May 9, 2013 – Shortstop Hanser Alberto
Hanser Alberto joins the pre-game show for the first time, talking about his first season of Double-A ball. The youngest player in the Texas League talks about playing with a bunch of older players and the origins of his leadership qualities.
May 10, 2013 – RHP Neil Ramirez
Neil Ramirez comes on to discuss his solid last outing when he struck out nine batters. He talks about the use of his curveball and how nice it is to have such an excellent bullpen behind him.
May 11, 2013 – Hooks Broadcaster Michael Coffin
The Voice of the Hooks chats with our Alex Vispoli on the state of the Texas League at the quarter-mark of the season. They talk about the down year offensively they have seen and what the piggybacking has done for the Hooks.
Baseball term of the day: cow’s horn - a curveball
Rangers’ pitcher and former RoughRider Martin Perez will be returning to the ‘Riders tonight in Midland as he begins his rehab assignment. The left-handed pitcher is expected to throw four innings and is likely to make another rehab start during the team’s current road trip.
Perez’s left wrist was broken after he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Seattle Mariners infielder Brad Miller in a spring training game on March 3. Prior to the injury, Perez was in contention for a spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation. He entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the organization’s third-best prospect and ranked 81st on the publication’s list of top 100 prospects in the minors.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan pitched for the RoughRiders during parts of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons and made his major league debut last year for Texas. He pitched in 12 big league games (six starts), going 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA (23 ER/38.0 IP). In his three seasons with Frisco, Perez pitched in 46 games (44 starts) and went 10-13 with a 4.74 ERA (110 ER/209.0 IP) and 198 strikeouts.
A few players who have rehabbed in Frisco
Nelson Cruz: Nelly has made two rehab appearances with the RoughRiders. He has played a total of six games in Frisco in 2010 and 2011, with eleven at-bats both years. He has had a total of six hits and two RBIs in the ‘Riders uniform.
Josh Hamilton: Hamilton rehabbed in Frisco for one game in 2009 and two more in 2011. On May 18, 2011, Josh hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat, and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over the Midland RockHounds.
Ian Kinsler: The former RoughRider returned to Frisco in 2009-’10 due to a strained left groin. While rehabbing with the ‘Riders, Ian played in eight games with four runs and six RBIs.
Naftali Feliz: Another former ‘Rider, Feliz returned to Frisco in 2011 and 2012 on rehab assignment with elbow soreness issues.
Some others who have been assigned to the RoughRiders include: Hank Blalock (’08), (’11), Matt Harrison (’09-10), Mark Lowe (’12), Kevin Mench (’03-04), Darren O’Day (’11), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (’09), Mark Teixeira (’04, ’07).
Baseball Term of the Day: Dent the Plate – to score a run.
We interrupt today’s edition of “Nolan Ryan Talk” to bring you the latest development involving the guys who are actually on the field: last night the Rangers announced the signing of veteran pitcher Derek Lowe to a minor league deal. Lowe split last year between the rotation and bullpen for the Indians and Yankees, going 9-11 with a 5.11 ERA and one save in 38 games, 21 starts. The big sinkerballer has bounced around the last few seasons, but is best known for being one of the chief “idiots” on the 2004 World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, earning the clinching win in all three series that post-season.
While he’s not on the Rangers’ 40-man roster at the moment, you would have to think he’s a at least a decent bet to make the club out of spring training given his versatility, the team’s lack of experienced middle relievers, and the fact that the Rangers were facing the prospects of going into a season without a pitcher named “Lowe” for the first time in four years (Mark signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last month).
As someone who grew up in the Boston area and remembers when Dan Duquette pulled off one of the greatest heists in big league history – trading Heathcliff Slocumb for Lowe and some guy named Jason Varitek – I have a special place in my heart for the Michigan native. I watched him go back-and-forth from the starting rotation to the closer spot and have success in both positions, pitch a no-hitter in 2002 against the Devil Rays, and put a lot of Boston nightclub owners’ kids through college.
It’s a smart, low-risk move for the Rangers, who could benefit tremendously if Lowe can locate his sinker and be effective for a couple innings at a time when called upon (or even fill in as a starter). If he doesn’t work out, he didn’t cost you much to begin with so there’s no obligation to keep him. He should be a strong clubhouse presence as a player who has succeeded on the biggest stages and is known to be a good teammate. And, at the very least, his acquisition has slowed down some of the Ryan talk that has become a distraction for the organization.
The Rangers won a 3-2 decision over the Cubs in Surprise yesterday and got some strong pitching from Robbie Ross (4 IP, 4 H, 1 R) and Alexi Ogando (3 IP, 6 K, 1 R). Lance Berkman also homered as the team won its second straight Cactus League contest.
Jon Daniels has the power; Nolan Ryan has the love – (Note: read around the “sign in” bubble to take in the article) Before we get to the on-the-field items, this Randy Galloway column is a must-read for fans interested in the Nolan Ryan story (i.e., pretty much all Rangers fans). Galloway has been all over this story from the start and says that Daniels was actually offered the full CEO job that belonged to Ryan, in addition to the president title, back in November but turned it down. More interesting stuff to chew on.
Berkman confident about health as Opening Day approaches - Jeff Wilson has the Big Puma feeling good about his ability to be ready to go come March 31.
Rapid Reaction from Texas win – Ron Matejko’s fast facts on yesterday’s victory.
Robbie Ross continues to impress – With Perez out until May, the former RoughRiders lefty may have cast himself as the new favorite to take the fifth starter spot after yesterday’s outing.
Alexi Ogando rewards Ron Washington’s faith – Given the way his first two spring outings went, Ogando’s strong performance was maybe the most encouraging thing about yesterday’s game.
Derek Lowe gives club versatility – Richard Durrett gives his thoughts on the Lowe acquisition.
Astros should woo Nolan Ryan – ESPN.com’s Johnette Howard argues that Jim Crane should be pulling out all the stops to swipe away the Rangers’ CEO.
Angels’ Hamilton primed for monster year — but holds no grudges – Some interesting nuggets on CBS.com’s Jon Heyman’s interview with former Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, including Hamilton saying that Nolan Ryan wished that Texas hadn’t dragged its feet in the negotiations.
Rangers don’t plan to return Alexi Ogando – and maybe Robbie Ross – to bullpen (subscription only) – Gerry Fraley thinks that the starting rotation is the final destination for both Ogando and Ross.
Ogando, Ross giving Rangers confidence in rotation – T.R. Sullivan’s report on the two pitchers impressing Ron Washington yesterday.
Rangers press on despite Ryan’s uncertainty – Sullivan has plenty of quotes from Daniels on the Ryan story.
Olt, Martin pulled out of Rangers’ lineup – Sullivan’s notes column has injury updates on Mike Olt (tooth pain, not the Rory McIlroy type), Leonys Martin (hamstring), Kyle McClellan (shoulder), Tanner Scheppers (hamstring) and Yoshinori Tateyama (back).
Things have pretty much blown up around here regarding the Nolan Ryan situation. There are a good number of compelling on-the-field Rangers stories to be discussed throughout this spring, from filling the fifth spot in the starting rotation to the center field position battle to rebuilding a bullpen to overcoming the loss of key free agents. Throw in some exciting, young prospects, a new hitting coach, record ticket sales and there’s a lot going on for Ron Washington’s club. But the story that risks swallowing all of that up like a Texas-sized black hole is the “will he or won’t he leave?” for Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan after his president title was removed and given to general manager Jon Daniels. The possibility was first raised yesterday in the Star-Telegram by Randy Galloway that Ryan could be gone from the organization before camp is over out in Surprise.
There’s a lot going on with this, from a possible power struggle to jealousy within the organization over credit and the looming specter of the rudderless Houston Astros swooping in and reclaiming the state’s greatest natural resource. Now, I heard the Morning News’ Evan Grant interviewed on The Ticket yesterday and he feels that it’s a long shot that Ryan leaves for the Astros. Grant insinuated that Ryan is not he biggest fan of new owner Jim Crane’s and that many people Ryan was close to in that organization have gotten whacked. This doesn’t mean that it couldn’t still happen, however, even with Ryan having three years left on his Rangers contract.
Adam Morris of Lone Star Ball made the point on Twitter last night and I can’t help but give it at least some credence. In the 80+ hours it’s been since the title announcements were made by the Rangers, we have heard nothing from Ryan and very little from Daniels. Sometimes silence says more than words, which could indicate to some that there’s something less than warm and fuzzy going on in the front office.
By the way, the Rangers walked off with a 5-4 win over the Padres yesterday with Jeff Baker plating Julio Borbon for the game winner.
Today’s links (note: with the Star-Telegram stories you can easily read around the “sign-in” bubble that appears when you open the page):
Daniels has said nothing has changed with Nolan Ryan – Jeff Wilson has Daniels offering very little in terms of reaction to the Galloway story, saying that he reports to Ryan and that this is essentially a non-story.
Rangers’ power shift could have Nolan Ryan looking for exit – Gil Lebreton writes that he thinks Ryan will leave but that ownership wants him to stay and continue the work that has made the Rangers so successful.
Rangers’ Martin Perez focused on quick recovery after breaking forearm – The other big story of the week gets some follow-up coverage from Wilson along with a quick note about Adrian Beltre’s Cactus League debut.
Darvish does good work without best stuff as Rangers rally - Wilson touches upon Yu Darvish’s scoreless three innings in the Rangers’ 5-4 victory over the Padres yesterday.
If Rangers must pick between Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan, the choice is clear… – Tim Cowlishaw checks in to give his thoughts on the Ryan-Daniels situation and says if you’re choosing between the two, he goes with Daniels.
Understanding the situation between Nolan Ryan and Rangers management – Grant has a pretty good overview of all the issues involved in this story.
Rangers in communication with Porcello, Lohse - Gerry Fraley says the Rangers have not been idle since Perez went down due to injury on Sunday. Rick Porcello is arguably a more palpable choice over Kyle Lohse because he is younger and won’t cost you a draft pick, though he would force you to give up some level of prospect(s).
Rangers betting on youth for future – Normally a headline like that would be used for the makeup of your team or farm system, but ESPNDallas.com’s Jean-Jacque Taylor is using it on the Rangers’ front office.
Does Kyle Lohse make sense now? – Richard Durrett asks the question in a blog entry from this morning.
Yu Darvish impressive again – Ron Matejko touches upon Darvish’s outing yesterday against San Diego.
Beltre back in the swing with successful debut – MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell has a full report on Beltre’s return to the lineup.
Darvish keeps spring hitless streak intact - Cassavell’s notes column touches upon Darvish, Perez and Nate Robertson’s comeback attempt.
First there was “The Case of the Poorly Timed Tattoo” and now there’s a much more serious Rangers injury to be concerned about. In the sixth inning of yesterday’s 7-6 loss to the Mariners, former RoughRiders pitcher Martin Perez was struck just above the left wrist by a Brad Miller line drive and after the game it was revealed that he suffered a fracture of the left ulna bone. It will be at least four weeks until he can begin a throwing program and most indications are that he will be on the shelf until May at the earliest.
What makes this so unfortunate is that Perez was the clear leader in the clubhouse for the fifth spot in Texas’ rotation, a position that failed to produce any wins down the home stretch of the 2012 season. The former RoughRider was having a strong spring training while the other competitors were either: a) struggling; b) injured; or c) inexperienced. Perez, the Rangers’ top minor league pitcher who has been on prospect radars everywhere for the last few years, was looking to make that next step to become a reliable major league starter. That still may end up happening, but this is a big blow in the short term for the club.
The calls for veteran free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse were already out there to some degree and they’ve only gotten even louder since Sunday afternoon. The Rangers will have to decide how big of a setback this is and if they want to put themselves into a position they were in last year with Roy Oswalt. Texas was practically forced to sign Oswalt after some injuries to their pitching staff, but had to stash the former all-star in the bullpen because of ineffectiveness which didn’t sit well with ol’ Roy.
It’s not completely an apples-to-apples comparison, as there would be some differences and some similarities if they were to sign Lohse. The former Cardinals righty is 34, the same age as Oswalt when he signed with Texas a few months into the 2012 season. He has been better than Oswalt in recent years (including a stellar season last year) but has a career track record of mediocrity; he’s almost the opposite of Oswalt’s in that sense. The primary reason Lohse has not signed yet is because he and agent Scott Boras likely want more money and more years than the market has been interested in giving him (as well as the forfeiture of a first round draft pick and the signing bonus pool money that goes along with it), whereas Oswalt simply wasn’t interested in pitching a full season, Roger Clemens-style.
What makes this a tricky situation is the expected return of Colby Lewis as soon as May, when Perez would likely be back. The question the Rangers need to answer is whether they feel they can last the first six weeks of the season with a big question mark in that fifth rotation spot (whether it is Robbie Ross, Justin Grimm, Kyle McClellan, Nick Tepesch, etc.) or if they need to feel a little more certain with a veteran who finished seventh in the Cy Young voting last year. In a very competitive A.L. West, it’s a decision that will likely have big consequences.
Now, on to today’s links, with the two most important off-the-field stories leading off:
In trying to keep Jon Daniels in town, Rangers must be careful not to squeeze out Nolan Ryan – If you missed it, the Rangers announced the promotion of Jon Daniels to president/GM on late Friday afternoon, normally a release time for when businesses want to sweep under the rug to avoid maximum attention. (I’m not trying to say that that’s what the Rangers were trying to do in this case, just pointing out a common practice.) Nolan Ryan, now no longer team president, will continue as CEO and Daniels will report to him. Kevin Sherrington explains the tight-rope walk that Rangers ownership must embark upon to satisfy all wings of their baseball operation and maintain success both on and off the field. A good read.
Nolan Ryan could leave Rangers by the end of spring training, sources say – Randy Galloway has sources who say that Nolan Ryan’s departure from the Rangers is imminent, based on changing roles over who gets final say baseball-wise. Another interesting read on a subject that threatens to take over the narrative of the next month. (note: for this story you need a subscription, but you can easily read the text around the “sign in” pop-up.
Perez injury leaves Texas Rangers’ rotation with questions that Kyle Lohse could answer (subscription required) – Gerry Fraley gives us his thoughts on the rotation quandary created by Perez’ injury.
Justin Grimm all but eliminates himself from Texas Rangers rotation after another ugly outing - Fraley reports on Grimm’s latest rough big league appearance.
Tough day for 5th-spot contenders – Ron Matejko of ESPNDallas.com notes that it was a rough Sunday for two of the Rangers’ top rotation candidates.
Martin Perez out at least two months with broken forearm – Jeff Wilson’s report on the injury of the day.
Tepesch making early impression – Drew Davison’s notes column brings up Tepesch as a possibility for the fifth spot as well as David Murphy’s thoughts on PED penalties.
Murphy eager to step into everyday role – Anthony Andro writes that Murphy expects big things now that he knows his role as an everyday player going into a season. A big year would certainly help his bottom line come the hot stove season, as he is a free agent after 2013.
Nathan makes scoreless debut in Rangers’ loss – Lost in all of the Martin Perez/Nolan Ryan news was that Joe Nathan looked pretty good in his first spring outing.
Grimm remains determined for Opening Day role – Despite poor results this spring, William Boor of MLB.com writes that Justin Grimm is confident he can turn things around and be a contributor to the big league club.
Nathan, E. Beltre primed for spring action – Boor’s notebook has more on the return of Nathan and Engel Beltre, who is back from a left shoulder injury.
Before we get to today’s links, a quick happy birthday shout-out to my brother, Kevin, who’s now only one year away from being eligible to sign an international free agent baseball contract. He’s not the next Jairo Beras, but he is much more talented ninth grade baseball player than I was back in the day. (Also, despite the photo, neither he nor I are Mets fans. Maybe he is a little, but I’m smart enough not to subject myself to that level of misery.) Happy birthday bro!
The Rangers got walloped by the Rockies 9-1 yesterday. Here are today’s links:
Martin Perez impressive in start - As the headline indicates, Ron Matejko was one of many who came away with positive things to say about the former RoughRiders’ official Cactus League debut.
Perez, Grimm motivated to make impression for Texas – Lyle Spencer of MLB.com talks to the two candidates who pitched in yesterday’s Rockies game. Grimm will have an uphill climb after a difficult outing, especially in the face of Perez’s brilliance.
Loquacious Andrus has audience in Texas prospects – T.R. Sullivan has Elvis Andrus taking on a greater leadership/mentor role this spring out in Surprise.
Rangers optimistic Lewis could return in May – Sullivan’s notebook has an update on Colby Lewis’ improved outlook as well as the forecast for Lance Berkman, Jason Frasor and Joe Nathan.
Texas Rangers have reason to keep sidearming Coty Woods on roster, but will he be ready? – Gerry Fraley talks to Rule 5 pickup (and former Tulsa Driller) Coty Woods about his spring and his prospects of sticking with the big club.
Texas Rangers fans start campaign to bring silence to ballpark when Josh Hamilton hits – It will never happen, given the difficulty of getting 50,000 people all on the same page, but it’s an interesting idea.
Young will be in DFW fans’ hearts – Former Ranger Michael Young reflects on his time in Texas and gives his thoughts on how DFW fans should view Hamilton.
Enjoy Andrus while he’s still in Texas – Matt Mosley says appreciate Andrus because it’s not likely to last after 2014.
Martin Perez makes strong spring debut – Drew Davison gives his take on Perez’s outing yesterday (subscription required for most Star-Telegram stories).
Lance Berkman isn’t the retiring kind – Randy Galloway has a story on the Big Puma.
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.