Results tagged ‘ Mitch Moreland ’

The Dandy Dozen: The ‘Riders Turn 12

It's shaping up to be another great summer at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

It’s shaping up to be another great summer at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

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

Matt Harrison was one of 13 rehabbers who played with the 'Riders in 2013.

Matt Harrison was one of 13 rehabbers who played with the ‘Riders in 2013.

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.

Luke Jackson figures to lead a very talented starting rotation this season.

Luke Jackson figures to lead a very talented starting rotation this season.

#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

Top prospect Rougned Odor is expected to begin the season at second base in Frisco.

Top prospect Rougned Odor is expected to begin the season at second base in Frisco.

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.

Metroplex Mysteries: a 10-Hour Tie Game?

So we are now over 24 hours beyond the longest game in RoughRiders history. MiLB does a great job compiling minor league baseball statistics, but their records only go back to 2005, when they began tracking and storing minor league data. Therefore when we claimed the game on Wednesday as the “Longest Game in RoughRiders History,” it comes with an implied “in known history”–even explicitly stated so by us, like in the game notes from Thursday.

We do have some records from 2003 and 2004, the first two years in RoughRiders history, but they are not official and sometimes incomplete. The first broadcaster for the ‘Riders, Scott Garner left his scorebooks for the archives here, and those help a ton.

In perusing the data I could find there were a pair of 13-inning contests–nothing longer that I could find. One in particular was intriguing and just might be the true longest game in team history. For starters, here is the old box score still available in MiLB’s archive (although the box score was not produced by Minor League Baseball Advanced Media (MILBAM), so they can not verify it’s correctness–good thing too, as you will see):

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

So a couple of things jump out.

  1. There is no official game time.
  2. The game was tied at 4-4 but the Travelers never had their half of the 13th.
  3. At the top the the winner is listed “TIE GAME”.
  4. Steve Andrade is listed as a pitcher in line to pitch the 14th for the Travelers but never threw a pitch.

Now, games can get called and never “count” in a league, but it typically happens late in either half of  the season when the game won’t be able to be made up because the two teams will not play in the same site again. Trouble is, the two teams played in Arkansas the following day. They should have been able to play the game after suspending it. The ‘Riders did play another tie game earlier that year on April 23, 2004 in Wichita despite traveling to Wichita again later in the season, so it seems the Texas League rules have changed some since then.

Still, the game appears to be an enigma.

Neither team was given a win or loss for the game, but it’s not that the game was scrapped from the records all-together, which is what happens when games are postponed before they become official (Rangers fans might remember when Mitch Moreland hit the grand slam that never happened). The stats still counted from the game.

Confounded by this game, I went to Scott’s old scorebook:

photo2

Finding the game in this book confirms that it was a tie. Paging forward to the following game shows that each team’s record did not change following the July 16 contest. The ‘Riders were 48-44 when they began on July 16 and 48-44 when they started their contest on July 17. Arkansas was 40-51 for both. So how did this game end? Well, the ‘Riders were retired in the top of the 13th:

Frisco Top 13th

The ‘Riders were retired in order: strikeout, line out, and 1-3 ground out from the 5-6-7 batters in the order (Tydus Meadows, Edgar Gonzalez, and Jason Bourgeois).

How about the supposed never-finished bottom of the 13th? Remember the box score above showed an “x” in the bottom of the 13th, a symbol usually reserved for the bottom of the ninth when the home team wins without the benefit of batting in the bottom of the ninth.

ARK BOT 13thSo the inning began with Nick Gorneault striking out. Derrick Gibson then reached and was erased on the fielder’s choice by Jeff Mathis, going 5-4 for the second out of the inning. Then comes Mike Eylward. The box score at the top claims that Eylward went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. To this point on the scorecard, Eylward was 0-for-5 with a strikeout, two fly outs, a ground out, and a line out. Deduction would assume that he struck out.

Taking a look at the card though, the last marks of his plate appearance in the 13th shows he had a 2-1 count. Maybe he struck out and it was never indicated (I have been known to not put the last play sometimes, having to go back later, as I can get busy totaling up line scores and such when the game concludes). There are also some instances in which a broadcaster would go on to another page; perhaps Scott did this at this point with how cramped the space was, and we have lost that extra card.

What seems likely is that the game was either called due to weather during that plate appearance or immediately after it. Perhaps Steve Andrade came into the ballgame and warmed up in the top of the 14th and then they called the game before the inning officially began, which is why he was entered into the scoring system but never threw a pitch.

Weather data from July 16 and July 17 indicates that it was indeed raining and didn’t stop until 1:00 a.m.

On the right side of the page, Scott typically noted the attendance and the time of game. And here is the kicker…and really the reason for the whole post. Remember, the box score lists no game time. photo4

10 hours and 56 minutes! That must have included multiple rain delays as well. Or at least you would think so, but it didn’t begin raining in Little Rock (which at the time was the home of the Travelers at Ray Winder Field), until around 11:00 p.m. Maybe this is when they called the game, which would make the game just under four hours (assuming a 7 o’clock start). That also seems unlikely since, according to the above weather data, the rain would have been starting up at that time.

With the 17th’s game played under no threat of rain, and on a Saturday, it seems strange that they didn’t finish this suspended game.

So…the mystery continues. If you have any idea what happened on this day, let us know in the comments or tweet us at @RidersBaseball ! We will try and update the post if we hear any additional info. For now, be baffled and amused.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wilted lilly - a batter who lets his bat droop as he awaits for the pitch

‘Riders on the Record: a Cinderella run and a Gold Glover’s art

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‘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 come and gone. The All-Star break sends us into the final 60+ games and the season, and once again we look back on another fine set of guests from this week’s ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include Justin Miller’s College World Series storytelling and future Hall-of-Famer Omar Vizquel’s artistic inspiration.

Enjoy and Happy Sunday!

Sunday, June 23, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele sits down for the Sunday interview for the last time before the All-Star break. He harps on the resiliency of his team but stresses the importance of this break. He highlights the nice contributions from Mitch Moreland and Joakim Soria in rehab stints during the home stand and touches on the departure of Ben Rowen and the arrival of Alex Claudio. He also shares his experiences with facing the knuckleball in light of Pucetas throwing one just a few days prior.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 – C Zach Zaneksi


Coming off his home run before the All-Star break, Zach Zaneski talks about the current offensive groove he is in and how he is trying to make adjustments this season. He talks about catching MLB rehabber Joakim Soria and the quality of Kevin Pucetas‘ knuckleball.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 – RHP Justin Miller

Alex checked in with Justin Miller on the status of his stuff and his health on his road back from “Tommy John” surgery. He talks about his recent aggressiveness and how pitching coach Jeff Andrews has helped him along. He also reminisces on his collegiate days at Fresno State when his 2008 team made a Cinderella run through Omaha at the College World Series.

Friday, June 28, 2013 – Angels Infield Coordinator Omar Vizquel


Angels infield coordinator and Travelers Manager for the series, Omar Vizquel, sat down to speak about his first year as a coach and his long playing career. He zeroed in on the keys to his defensive successes and his delved into favorite hobby.

Saturday, June 29, 2013 – RHP Randy Henry


Randy Henry talks about his adjustment to short relief outings after his return from the disabled list. He explains his injury and the plans the Rangers have for him as far as how he will be used out of the bullpen. He also tells his story of when he was traded from the Orioles to the Rangers.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: Punch and Judy hitter - a singles hitter

‘Riders on the Record: Tongo, Neil’s curveball and a bundle of rehabbers

062213 Blog Shot Team

‘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.

The season’s longest home stand was bolstered by the addition of rehabbers Mitch Moreland and Joakim Soria, both of who were kind enough to take some time to chat with us this week. Highlights from this week include updates from Keith Comstock on a number of injured, rehabbing and retooling Rangers hurlers, and James Vilade imparting some interesting insight on to the days leading up to the MLB draft for the Rangers’ player development wing. Teodoro Martinez explains the origin of his “Tongo” nickname, and be sure to tune in to Mitch’s interview to find out why David Murphy got the call from Ron Washington to pitch in the blowout in Boston and not the former college pitcher himself.

Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In the weekly sit down with Manager Steve Buechele, we hear about the progress of Richard Bleier in his work out of the bullpen this year. He hits on the quietly dominating year that Brett Nicholas is putting together. The manager shares his story about telling Guilder Rodriguez that he had made his first ever all-star team. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, June 17, 2013 - RHP Neil Ramirez


Texas League All-Star starting pitcher Neil Ramirez is not focused on his selection but still proud of it. He breaks down the state of his curveball as well as his improved mental approach to the game this season. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 – Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland

Rangers rehabbing first baseman Mitch Moreland sat down after his first rehab game with the ‘Riders to talk about his health and his second incarnation of hamstring issues in his pro career. A former pitcher, Moreland explains how the decision was made to focus on hitting as a Rangers’ farmhand and if he ever missed pitching. He tells us how David Murphy got the nod over him to pitch in the blowout at Fenway Park earlier this season. (w/ Nathan)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 – ‘Riders Coach / Rangers Scout James Vilade


‘Riders coach and Rangers scout James Vilade joined the pregame show for the first time this season to talk about his work with the ‘Riders and the Rangers. He talks about the Rangers pre-draft workouts and his involvement. He talks how he got into baseball operations and the value of personal connections in the scouting process. (w/ Nathan)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 – OF Teodoro Martinez


It’s been a great few weeks for Teodoro Martinez. A late addition to the Texas League All-Star game, Martinez followed up the honor just days later being named Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for May. One of the team’s offensive leaders this year, he talks about his feel for the leadoff spot and his increased power. He also explains the origins of his nickname “Tongo.” (w/ Nathan)

Friday, June 21, 2013 - RHP Joakim Soria


Texas Rangers rehabber Joakim Soria joined the pregame to talk about his rehab from “Tommy John” surgery. He explains his decision to sign with the Texas Rangers and outlines a potential timetable for his return to the big leagues. He explains how he was “found,” the turning point in his career and his path to stardom in Kansas City. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, June 22, 2013 – Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock


Texas Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock joined the broadcast to talk about a number of Rangers rehabbers, including Cody Buckel, and what the process is like out in Arizona. He touches on Joakim Soria and Justin Miller as well. (w/ Nathan)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: foozler - a lucky base hit

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Moreland completes historically excellent rehab

Mitch Moreland completed a three-game rehab assignment yesterday with the RoughRiders. He was instrumental in the 9-5 win over the RockHounds yesterday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Moreland has put together back-to-back seasons of outstanding rehab stints with the RoughRiders:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 26 Frisco 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819
2013 27 Frisco 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500

The sample size for a rehab assignment is usually small, as the case certainly was with Moreland in both years. His 2013 rehab stint is hard to argue against as the best position player RoughRiders rehab stint of all time. Let’s take a look at the history for potential contenders:

2013 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Ian Kinsler 31 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .111 .000 .111
Mitch Moreland* 27 3 12 3 6 3 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500
A.J. Pierzynski* 36 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .167 .333

Even the most ardent Kinsler and Pierzynski supporters aren’t arguing here. While playing the more physically demanding positions of second base and catcher, the two just don’t stack up.

2012 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Mitch Moreland* 26 3 13 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 .308 .357 .462 .819

Mike Napoli also rehabbed for the RoughRiders, although it came in the post-season so Baseball Refrence doesn’t list it. He went 1-for-10 with a two-run home run in the 2012 Texas League Championship series against the Springfield Cardinals.

Moreland’s 2012 effort was impressive, and still stands as one of the best rehab efforts in ‘Riders’ history, but he hit more doubles, homers and RBI this week as a ‘Riders hitter.

2011 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Julio Borbon* 25 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Nelson Cruz 30 3 11 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 .182 .250 .273 .523
Josh Hamilton* 30 2 7 3 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 .286 .375 .714 1.089

So Josh Hamilton homered. Not bad considering he’s the last rehabber to do so until Moreland did yesterday. He took Shawn Haviland deep, a two-year RockHounds pitcher and former Harvard Crimson. But the sample is even smaller, and it was his only extra base hit. Moreland’s 2013 numbers are better across the board.

2010 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Joaquin Arias 25 8 31 4 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 .194 .257 .194 .451
Endy Chavez* 32 4 15 3 5 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 3 .333 .412 .333 .745
Nelson Cruz 29 3 11 1 4 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 .364 .385 .455 .839
Cristian Guzman# 32 4 13 1 4 0 0 0 3 1 0 3 1 .308 .438 .308 .745
Ian Kinsler 28 6 19 3 5 0 1 0 6 2 0 2 3 .263 .348 .368 .716

A fewer larger samples here makes for a potential challenger. Arias wasn’t exactly the Babe Ruth of the Texas League during his eight games, however. Kinsler provides a decent challenge, especially considering he stole two bags as well. Still, Moreland posted a higher BA, OBP, SLG and OPS and only struck out once in three games. Advantage Moreland.

2009 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Josh Hamilton* 28 1 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
Andruw Jones 32 3 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 .222 .417 .222 .639
Ian Kinsler 27 2 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .222 .000 .222
Jarrod Saltalamacchia# 24 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333

Ugh. Not so good this year. 3-for-24 combined with no extra base hits? NEXT!

2008 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Hank Blalock* 27 6 19 5 8 3 0 0 4 1 0 4 5 .421 .522 .579 1.101

Hammerin’ Hank jumps out. Blalock was a tremendous minor leaguer (and a darn good big leaguer as well). This is extremely impressive. 8-for-19 is not too shabby. The triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) still isn’t as good as Moreland’s this year but the sample is larger and for the first time, he has been bested by one category. Blalock’s .522 OBP  is the highest in ‘Riders rehabbing history for a player with more than four plate appearances (Teixeira in 2007). A stolen base to boot! This one is close, but without a homer and nearly a strikeout per game, we will go with Moreland here.

2007 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Frank Catalanotto* 33 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .200 .000 .200
Jerry Hairston 31 3 12 2 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .500 .667
Mark Teixeira# 27 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .500 .000 .500
Brad Wilkerson* 30 3 10 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 .200 .429 .300 .729

No explanation needed. On to ’06.

2006 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Jason Botts# 25 5 16 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 3 .125 .250 .125 .375

And onto 2005…

2005 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Gary Matthews# 30 1 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .400 .800

The triple slash looks good, but one game for GMJ? Apparently the left hammy wasn’t so bad.

2004 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Brian Jordan 37 6 19 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .158 .158 .211 .368
Kevin Mench 26 4 16 3 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 .313 .353 .500 .853
Laynce Nix* 23 7 26 2 7 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 10 .269 .296 .308 .604
Herbert Perry 34 8 29 4 12 3 0 0 4 0 0 3 7 .414 .455 .517 .972
Mark Teixeira# 24 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .250 .000 .250

34-year-old Herbert Perry is not only the oldest position player to ever rehab with Frisco, but he very well could stand the test as the most impressive RoughRiders rehabber ever, especially when you stack up his two stints together between 2003 and 2004. Again, no home runs here though. He is in the conversation without a doubt though.

2003 RoughRiders rehabbers

Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Doug Glanville 32 4 15 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .133 .188 .133 .321
Todd Greene 32 3 9 3 3 0 0 2 4 0 0 2 2 .333 .455 1.000 1.455
Kevin Mench 25 3 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .091 .167 .091 .258
Herbert Perry 33 9 34 5 11 2 0 1 6 0 0 3 3 .324 .410 .471 .881

Another Herbert Perry campaign for Frisco, and another fine one at that. His seventeen game total between 2003 and 2004 puts him at .365 with the batting average and a .492 slugging percentage.

And say Hello to Todd Greene! The only RoughRiders rehabber ever to blast two home runs, and the veteran catcher/utility man put on quite the show in the RoughRiders’ inaugural year. The OPS is still a shade lower than Mitch’s, but it is quite the performance.

So Maybe Moreland’s 2013 stint isn’t the most impressive, but it is at least top four all time. And now he can be included in the same sentence as Todd Greene and Herbert Perry, which is interesting at the very least.

You tell us? Was Mitch Moreland’s three-day run the most impressive RoughRiders rehab stint among position players ever? Post in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @RidersBaseball!

It was fun while it lasted, and we wish Mitch the best of luck back with the Rangers.

Enjoy the shots from his three-day stint in Frisco below.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: county-fair playera player who shows off

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com. All photos courtesy Grant Nelson / Frisco RoughRiders

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Rangers Spring Training Links – 2/22/2013

The view from above of the Rangers' and Royals' complex in Surprise, Arizona.

The view from above of the Rangers’ and Royals’ complex in Surprise, Arizona.

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 officeThe 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 trainingJeff 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 RangersThe 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.

Jon Daniels on Profar and PayrollThe Rangers GM held a chat yesterday and The Dallas Morning News is providing some of the highlights.

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 assistantT.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?

- Alex

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.

JULY

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.

TIMELINE:

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.

Mitch Moreland Rehabs In Frisco

Mitch Moreland playing first base for the RoughRiders in 2009. (Courtesy: Frisco RoughRiders)

Mitch Moreland continued his major league rehab assignment with Frisco tonight. It’s the first time Moreland has been back to Dr Pepper Ballpark since he played with the RoughRiders in 2009. During his time in Frisco, Moreland batted .326, which is in the ‘Riders top five all-time batting averages, while hitting eight home runs with 59 RBIs.

Moreland said it was good to be back playing at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

“I had a blast here. I told some of the guys earlier, I forgot how much fun it was at this park,” Moreland said. “We had a good time here in 2009. My season was shortened with an injury, a foot injury, but I wish it wouldn’t have because I had a great time here and it’s good to be back and play with the RoughRiders again.”

Moreland had the opportunity to play with former ‘Riders teammate Guilder Rodriguez while rehabbing with Triple-A Round Rock and Moreland said it brought back good memories. He played two games with the Express before making his way to Frisco.

Originally placed on the disabled list on Jun 22, Moreland has been working had to rehab from a strained left hamstring. He said it’s definitely a work-in-progress and that he feels like he’s almost ready to head back to the Rangers.

“That first week we really didn’t do a whole lot other than ice and didn’t put too much stress on it. We picked up the running and jogging the second week and just kind of built on that,” Moreland said. “I think this is probably the fifth or sixth week now so it feels good right now. I think I’m pretty close and looking forward to getting back out on the field.”

When he returns to the Rangers, Moreland said the team will continue to focus on winning games.

“We try to take it one game at a time. I think we’d be lying if I said we weren’t thinking about it,” Moreland said. “We’ve gotten close the last two years and I think it’s made everybody that much more hungry for it. We’re going to go out and keep playing well during the regular season and once we get there, hopefully we can finish the deal this time.”

Story by Jarah Wright

Hello Off-Season

It’s finally here.  Sure, the ‘Riders have been done for a while, but this is the first Monday in a very long time without major league baseball.  In fact, the last Monday the Rangers had without baseball going on was Monday, February 21 (Spring Training games began for Texas on Sunday, February 27).

It’s an incredibly long and stressful season and, for the second straight year, the off-season for the Rangers will be brief.  That’s the price of October baseball.

As the off-season begins to stir, here are some news and notes from around professional baseball:

  • Tony La Russa retires after 33 seasons with the third most wins in major league history (2,728).
  • Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels told reporters today that prior to Spring Training, the clubwill  decide if former RoughRider Neftali Feliz will move into the rotation.  According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, “The club will likely decide some time in January. And it will partially depend on what kind of players they sign, how the rotation looks this offseason and what Feliz wants to do.”
  • Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore wins the Spink Award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year.  You might remember the lefty’s seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball in Tampa Bay’s 9-0 victory over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Divisional Series.
  • The Rangers announced today that the team has exercised the club option on right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis for the 2012 season.  Lewis, 32, has posted back-to-back seasons of at least 12 wins and 200.0 innings, the first right-handed pitcher to accomplish that feat for Texas since Rick Helling in 1998-99-2000-01.  He has also gone 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA (13 ER/50.0 IP) over 8 postseason starts the last two years
  • 148 major leaguers are now free agents.
  • According to several reports, former RoughRider Mitch Moreland had what is being described as wrist soreness/tendinitis for most of the second half of the season.
  • Six years ago today on Halloween, former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein avoided talking to reporters following his resignation by dressing up in a gorilla costume before leaving Fenway Park.
  • There have been no reports of a gorilla exiting Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

-AG

11 Former RoughRiders on ALDS Roster

The Rangers officially published their ALDS roster earlier this morning featuring 11 former RoughRider players that will be suiting up for Texas against Tampa Bay:

Mitch Moreland is one of 11 former 'Riders on the Rangers' ALDS roster (photo: Yahoo! Sports)

Scott Feldman (’05, ’08)
Neftali Feliz (’08)
Alexi Ogando (’10)
Matt Harrison (’08)
Derek Holland (’08)
C.J. Wilson (’03, ’05-’06)
Elvis Andrus (’08)
Ian Kinsler (’04)
Mitch Moreland (’09)
Endy Chavez (’10)
Craig Gentry (’08-’09)

-AG

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