Results tagged ‘ Nelson Cruz ’
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.
The provisional rosters for the teams competing in the World Baseball Classic were recently announced and the RoughRiders will be well-represented in the third iteration of this relatively new showcase event. Of course, there may be some players added on or taken off before the tournament starts on March 2, but a quick scan of each squad’s roster reveals 15 players who at one point wore a RoughRiders uniform. Not including big league rehabbers, that number is 11. Here’s the full list of players who once plied their trade at Dr Pepper Ballpark that will soon be seeking baseball’s greatest international achievement:
United States of America
RHP R.A. Dickey (rehabbed with the ’Riders in 2004, making four starts)
LHP Derek Holland (made four starts during 2008 season, his last as a minor leaguer)
1B Mark Teixeira (rehabbed in 2004 & 2007 for two total games)
OF Tim Smith (played 36 games in 2009)
OF Nelson Cruz (rehabbed in 2010 & 2011 for six total games)
RHP Pedro Strop (made 36 relief appearances in 2009)
RHP Edinson Volquez (started 10 games in 2005 & 11 games in 2007)
RHP Jason Grilli (made a one-inning rehab start in 2009)
1B Adrian Gonzalez (played 45 games in 2003)
IF/OF Edgar Gonzalez (played 106 games in 2004)
RHP Luis Mendoza (pitched in 27 games – 26 starts – in 2007 & 2008)
SS Jurickson Profar (played 126 games in 2012)
OF Engel Beltre (played 302 games between 2009 & 2012)
C Salomon Manriquez (played 71 games in 2007)
SS Elvis Andrus (played 118 games in 2008)
As a bonus entry, LHP Richard Bleier (a RoughRider from 2010 – 2012) pitched for Team Israel in last fall’s WBC qualifying tournament. Israel lost to Spain in the Jupiter, Florida qualifier, failing to gain entry into the main event.
It’s finally starting to feel like fall here in Frisco and although hot stove league talk might be a bit premature, there are plenty of things going on right now affecting the RoughRiders and Rangers:
- After winning his third-career Gold Glove on Tuesday, Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre has just won his third ever Silver Slugger Award. Beltre was also honored by the award in 2004 (Los Angeles) and 2010 (Boston), as he becomes just the sixth player (both leagues) since the award’s inception in 1980 to win three times as a third baseman. The only other Texas third baseman to win a Silver Slugger Award was Buddy Bell in 1984.
- According to the Chicago Sun-Times, two names “at or near the top” of Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ list for a new
manager are Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux and one-time Milwaukee interim manager Dale Sveum, who interviewed for the Boston Red Sox vacancy on Wednesday. Maddux is also reportedly in the mix for consideration by Boston. (We all remember when the Rangers won the pennant in 2010, the club lost hitting coach Clint Hurdle months later when took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The unfortunate cost of winning).
- In minor league news, it’s no surprise that the San Antonio Missions have been named Minor League Team of the Year and Double-A Team of the Year by MiLB.com. The Missions recorded the best record in all of the minors at 94-46 while winning both the first and second halves. Their 94 victories were the most in the league since the advent of the 140-game schedule in 1961 and were the second-most in franchise history, just one less than the 95 victories by the 1908 club. The Missions registered 100 overall wins after going 6-1 in the post-season on their way to capturing the franchise’s 12th Texas League Championship.
- On July 19, Northwest Arkansas’ Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera combined for the Naturals’ first-ever no-hitter. To make things even better, the no-no was helped out by a sixth-inning 5-4-3 triple play. The Naturals edged the Arkansas Travelers 1-0 and, as a result, have also won Double-A Game of the Year from MiLB.com.
- It was announced yesterday that Hickory shortstop, and the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect, Jurickson Profar, has won the Minor League Baseball Yearly Award for Class A Full Season Hitter of the Year. Only 18-years-old, Profar was previously named 2011 Low Class A Player of the Year by Baseball America to go along with winning the South Atlantic League MVP Award and being named to the SAL Annual All-Star Team this past season. I guess this kid is pretty good.
- Starting Friday at 10 a.m., The RoughRiders Foundation will be auctioning off game-used items and autographed memorabilia. Items start at their low reserve price and are open for bidding through November 18, 2011 at 5 p.m. Notable items include game-worn jerseys by Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz during their rehab assignments in Frisco this season. Questions? Contact Michael Davidow at 972-334-1978 or email@example.com.
According to Nettie Schwarz, our receptionist here at Dr Pepper Ballpark and All-Time Greatest Rangers’ Fan, Ian Kinsler’s stolen base in the 9th inning in Game 2 of the World Series “was the game.”
Ben and Skin on 103.3 FM ESPN this morning went so far as to say that, along with Nelson Cruz’s blasts in the ALCS, it might be the most defining moment in the playoffs so far for the Rangers.
Kinsler, a member of the RoughRiders’ 2004 Texas League Championship team, told the Dallas Morning News after the game, “my hand just barely got in there. It took everything I had.”
Of course, all of this came on the heels of Cardinals’ All-Star catcher Yadier Molina rifling a strike down to second base to get Kinsler in the first inning of Game 1.
The replay of his stolen base in Game 2 showed that second base umpire, and St. Louis native, Ron Kulpa got the call right. Rangers’ radio play-by-play man Steve Busby said, “Boy … Molina, not only did he get rid of it quickly, he threw a laser down there to second.” Boy, is that right. Couldn’t have been much closer.
Didn’t it remind you a little of Boston’s Dave Roberts’ stolen base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the (stinkin’) Yankees? Granted that was an elimination game, but still, when Kinsler took off to to second base, virtually everyone’s heart stopped beating until he was called safe – just like Roberts.
Who knows, maybe Kinsler’s stolen base will do for Texas what Roberts’ did for Boston.
We have been working on a special version of the PlayBall! game program for the playoffs, and you can get a sneak peak at the feature story here. It is a summary of the 2011 season, and it brings back some memories from a tremendous five-month.
The RoughRiders’ Run to the Playoffs
For the sixth time in franchise history, the RoughRiders are in the Texas League playoffs. Find out how the ‘Riders reached this point in our season rewind.
A Texas League season is a grind, with long trips, steamy temperatures, and few breaks. It is a long journey with peaks and valleys. Here in the RoughRiders’ ninth season, there were enough peaks for Frisco to enjoy playoff baseball for the sixth time.
April was a struggle for second-year skipper Steve Buechele’s club. The ‘Riders finished the month in the South Division’s basement at 8-14. The signature moment of the rough April was quite a notable one, though. Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, tossed a rain-shortened perfect game at Arkansas April 19.
By May 13, the ‘Riders worked their way back to the .500 mark. Later in the month, Frisco staked its claim to second place with a four-game sweep of Midland at Dr Pepper Ballpark. From this point on, the ‘Riders spent more time in second place than any other team in the Texas League.
The RoughRiders received some temporary help in May. Last year’s American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton hit a home run during his two-day rehab stint in Frisco. Nelson Cruz also graced the middle of the ‘Riders’ order for three games while battling back from an injury. Big name pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb rehabbed in Frisco, too.
Also, outfielder Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders after the Rangers inked Martin to a $15.5 million dollar contract. Martin hit .348 in 29 games with the ‘Riders before heading to Triple-A Round Rock.
Frisco finished the first half strongly, but a 40-30 mark was not good enough to notch a division championship after San Antonio’s 49-win showing. Individually, Tommy Mendonca was the star of the show in June. Mendonca was the Texas League’s Player of the Month after boasting a .375 batting average and driving in 30 runs.
July was a month for the record books in Frisco. The ‘Riders matched a franchise-high in runs in their 19-4 thumping of Corpus Christi July 22. Mendonca hit three of the RoughRiders’ record-setting eight home runs.
One week later, Joe Wieland became the first RoughRider to single-handedly throw a nine-inning no-hitter at San Antonio. Less than 48 hours after the no-no, the Rangers dealt Wieland and Robbie Erlin to San Diego for big league reliever Mike Adams. As a result, the former Frisco duo joined San Antonio’s loaded rotation.
The RoughRiders spent the month of August holding off Midland for a playoff berth. They officially clinched a spot in the season’s final week, a few days after the ‘Riders took three of four from their first round opponent—San Antonio.
Over the course of 140 games, the ‘Riders played well enough to earn a chance to vie for the Texas League’s richest prize. The club has been among the best in the league in most categories this season, and Frisco is well positioned to have a September to remember for the first time since 2004—the franchise’s first and only championship season.
The RoughRiders have won regularly here in 2011, and now only six playoff wins separate the ‘Riders from a title.
Scott Servais, the Rangers’ Senior Director of Player Development, was in Tulsa for the last two days to check in the RoughRiders players and staff – something that happens a handful of times per season. Scott oversees the on-field development of all players in the Rangers’ Minor League system. It’s a big job, and Scott was gracious enough to sit down with me in the ‘Riders dugout at ONEOK Field to chat about his job, the RoughRiders, and the minor leagues.
Me (AG): What all does your job entail?
Scott Servais (SS): I’m in charge of everything going on in the Rangers’ minor leagues. It all starts with our scouts. They bring the talent to us, and then it’s up to us to groom the talent and put them in the right spots.
AG: With so many players between rookie ball and Triple-A, is it ever hard remembering who is where?
SS: No, it’s pretty much ingrained. It’s a part of my life every morning waking up and knowing who is where. It’s a full-time gig. Fortunately, I have a great staff. They do a tremendous job not only teaching the game the “Ranger way,” but also communicating with our players and myself.
AG: What exactly is the “Ranger way?”
SS: I think there are a lot of ways to put that. I think we have a certain style of player, and a certain style of play. It’s played out in the big leagues by some of the younger players who have come up through our system. Obviously Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland, and Craig Gentry. Even Nelson Cruz spent some time with us in the minors before figuring it out.
And then there’s the pitching. Guys like Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland are products of our system and guys that we’re very proud of. They understand what it is we feel is important and they have the discipline to carry it out and get better at the big league level.
AG: Former ‘Rider Matt Lawson told me earlier this year following his retirement from baseball that he felt like you really took the time to get to know him when he was playing in the Rangers’ system. How important are those relationships?
SS: It’s everything. I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak. I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background. I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.
The game is a little different now than it was 20 years ago. Then, when a coach said something, you just did it. Now days, you have to be expected to explain “why.” Hopefully when you have a background with the players, they’ll trust you, and that’s what it’s about. They have to trust. There’s never been one player that has made it to the big leagues on his own.
My thanks to Scott for taking the time to answer some questions. It was clear that he wasn’t just rattling of a company line. I can tell he really does believe in the things that he was talking about.
This is now my second season in the Rangers’ system and I continue to be impressed with the overall quality of people that are in the mix – both on and off the field. I’m sure there are things that could be better, like everywhere, but from everyone I’ve talked with, Texas is going about things the right way.
There have been plenty of great moments this season, and those moments can be captured in photography. Our team of photographers–James Garner, Alex Yocum-Beeman and others–have done a great job of getting those photos. Here is a look at some of the best ones as the 2011 season winds down.
A few RoughRiders mob Travis Adair after his walk-off single against San Antonio June 10.
Guilder Rodriguez avoids Jonathan Greene and makes a catch earlier this year at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Nelson Cruz rehabbed with the ‘Riders back in May.
So did Josh Hamilton.
Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders earlier this season, and he was an instant hit in Frisco.
Renny Osuna, the new hits king in RoughRiders history, is all smiles, too.
Great focus here by Davis Stoneburner in the camo jersey.
Tommy Mendonca avoids the net and makes a great play in foul ground.
Jose Ruiz painfully slides home during a game with Northwest Arkansas here in Frisco.
Now, how about some fun. The Phillie Phanatic dancing with a RoughRider fan.
BirdZerk visited Dr Pepper Ballpark as well.
And who can forget when the RoughRiders’ game was snowed out earlier this season? Wait–scratch that. Instead, it’s been 100+ degrees almost every day in the second half. Hopefully this image gives you a much-needed chill.
Feel free to send us your pictures during games here at Dr Pepper Ballpark! Tweet us at twitter.com/ridersbaseball!
Note: The post below doesn’t involve the RoughRiders. It does, however, have everything to do with baseball. We will still have a RoughRider-related post later today. Enjoy!
Aaron, Reid, Stephen and I are incredibly lucky to be here with the RoughRiders and follow baseball on a daily basis. As much fun as baseball is, the game is mentally and physically taxing for everyone involved. By the end of the season, the ‘Riders will have played 140 regular season games in 152 days.
I will never be able to relate to the toll baseball takes on players in the minors. Still, a broadcaster at this level needs some self-motivation here and there during the long season, and this day provides a much-needed jolt for me.
On this day ten years ago, I truly fell for baseball.
I was always a fan. I went to a no-hitter at the age of one (don’t remember that one), a World Series game at the age of five and an All-Star Game at the age of seven while growing up in Cleveland during the glory days of Indians baseball.
If you are reading this, you have probably been a fan for a long time, too. But for many baseball fans, there is that ONE moment when everything came together. Many Rangers fans experienced that moment last October. Maybe Nelson Cruz’s homer in Game 6 against the Yankees? Or Neftali Feliz’s strikeout of Alex Rodriguez to clinch the pennant? (Aaron’s moment, by the way, is buying the first hot dog in new Busch Stadium’s history. Seriously.).
My “moment” was August 5, 2001. I had tickets to the Indians-Mariners game, which was on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. After a family emergency that day, it didn’t look like I would get to go, which, at that point, was completely understandable.
About 30 minutes before first pitch, my dad changed his mind. We went to the game hoping for a pick-us-up.
By the time we got there, the Mariners were in the process of taking a 12-0 lead in the third. And this was the Mariners team that finished 116-46 and went to the ALCS. At that point in the season, they boasted a record of 80-30. The main point—they were good.
Going into the bottom of the seventh, it was 14-2. As the probability chart shows near the middle of this page, things weren’t looking good for Chief Wahoo’s crew. We stuck around as the Sunday night, sold-out crowd started to dwindle and as the likes of Eddie Taubensee, Wil Cordero and Russell Branyan replaced some of the Indians’ starters.
The Tribe plated three in the seventh to make it 14-5. In the eighth, the Indians scored four runs and had only one out. All the momentum went away, though, when a potential run was cut down at the plate, and Seattle took a 14-9 lead into the ninth.
During the top of the ninth, my dad pointed at the scoreboard. He said, in what had to be a showing of sarcasm, that the Indians wanted three in the seventh and four in the eighth in order to score five in the ninth.
After an emotional day at home and an ugly night of baseball, my dad said, “I have a feeling.”
Whether or not he truly believed that, I don’t know and I don’t care. He was incredibly correct.
With two out and a runner at first, four straight runners reached. Bases loaded and two outs in a 14-9 game, and Omar Vizquel (my favorite Indian) was at the plate. On a 3-2 pitch, Vizquel laced a bases-clearing, game-tying triple down the right field line that still gives me goosebumps when I think about it.
Two innings later, in-game addition Jolbert Cabrera drove home the game-winning run for the Indians. Less than 10,000 people were still at Jacobs Field shortly after midnight when Kenny Lofton scored the game-winning run. Still, I’ve never heard a crowd like that one. I’ve never attended a game like that one.
Every year, I relive the play-by-play calls of that magical night, which takes me back to a time, albeit a short one, when baseball was perfect.
Baseball is a game that must be approached with realism, humility, and grit. Every team experiences peaks and valleys. Patience is key, and one streak (positive or negative) does not define a season.
But everyone who has watched this game enough has at least one of these experiences. Baseball keeps bringing us back because we all want to experience something better. Is that likely? Not exactly.
Neither was the Rangers’ run to the Fall Classic. Neither was a win for the Indians on that incredible night ten years ago, either. But these things did happen, and they were perfect.
No matter what happens to our favorite teams, we’ll always have that one moment. And ten years later, mine is still perfect.
The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West at 58-43 through 101 games. In those 101 games, the Rangers have used 37 different players.
Of those 37 players, 21 of them appeared at one point or another with the RoughRiders. That’s almost 57 percent of the roster!
Who are the former RoughRiders contributing to the Rangers’ push for consecutive playoff appearances? The list is pretty impressive.
Elvis Andrus: A RoughRider during the 2008 season, his first in the Rangers’ system, Andrus is batting .278 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. The shortstop was 19 years old for much of his time in Frisco, and he hit .295 while with the ‘Riders that year.
Julio Borbon: RoughRiders fans saw Borbon during a brief rehab stint earlier this season. Borbon, who is currently on the disabled list, also played 60 games in Frisco back in 2008, rolling through Texas League pitching with a .337 average.
Endy Chavez: Chavez had a brief four-game rehab stint with the RoughRiders last season, his first in the Rangers’ system. So far this year, Chavez has been a huge in-house addition to the Rangers (.328 average in 39 games).
Nelson Cruz: Cruz has been with the RoughRiders in back-to-back seasons for brief rehabs. He has gone 6-for-25 (.240) in those six games. In the bigs, Cruz has a team-leading 22 home runs to go along with 65 RBIs.
Chris Davis: Davis is back with the Rangers after Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list a few days ago. Davis played 76 games with the ‘Riders in 2007 and 2008. He hit .319 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs, which is just ridiculous.
Cody Eppley: Eppley, who made his big league debut a few months ago, boasted a 1.19 earned run average in 19 games with the ‘Riders in his only season in the Texas League last year.
Scott Feldman: Feldman made a few starts with the RoughRiders this season in a rehab assignment. The righty also made his way through Frisco on his journey to the big leagues, appearing in 46 games and posting a 2.36 ERA in ’05.
Neftali Feliz: Feliz joined the RoughRiders in 2008 for ten starts. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Feliz returned to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a rehab outing earlier this year, and he struck out the side in his only inning.
Craig Gentry: A tenth-round pick in ’06, Gentry has been a valuable reserve for the Rangers in the outfield this year. He spent most of 2008 and all of 2009 with the ‘Riders. He is a lifetime .293 hitter in the Texas League, which is the league he has spent more of his time than any other league.
Josh Hamilton: Who can forget Hamilton’s rehab assignment earlier this year in Frisco? He homered in his second at-bat and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over Midland. By the way, he is still really good in the big leagues.
Matt Harrison: A former Atlanta farmhand, Harrison made nine appearances with the ‘Riders in 2008. He also rehabbed in Frisco in 2010. Harrison has been a solid addition to the Rangers’ rotation (8-7, 3.05 ERA).
Derek Holland: During Holland’s fast track to the majors, he made a brief four-appearance pit stop in Frisco. In those four starts, Holland gave up only two earned runs in 26 innings.
Tommy Hunter: RoughRiders fans saw Hunter earlier this season for a rehab start. The ‘Riders also had Hunter in ’08 and ’09 when he went 5-2 with a ERA barely above 4. Hunter is currently in the Rangers’ bullpen.
Ian Kinsler: Kinsler has been a “normal” RoughRider and a “rehabbing” RoughRider in his time within the Rangers’ system. In his 79 games in the TL, Kinsler hit .290 with 52 RBIs.
Michael Kirkman: A RoughRider alum from 2009, Kirkman went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Kirkman has bounced around from Round Rock and Arlington, and he is currently in Triple-A.
Mitch Moreland: Moreland, who has been a regular for the Rangers this season, spent 73 games with the ‘Riders in 2009. He hit .326 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs in Frisco.
Darren O’Day: O’Day, who has only made 11 appearances with the Rangers this year, has one career appearance with the ‘Riders, which came earlier this season. He allowed a run in an inning of work.
Alexi Ogando: Ogando only spent 2010 in stateside minor league baseball, and his quick journey to the bigs went through Frisco. In seven appearances, Ogando gave up two runs in almost 16 innings of work. He had a WHIP of 0.57.
Pedro Strop: Strop, who has made 11 appearances with the Rangers, spent much of his 2009 campaign in Frisco. The reliever went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 appearances, all of the out of the ‘pen.
Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden was with the RoughRiders in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and he has been bounced between Triple-A Round Rock and Arlington this season. In 97 games with the ‘Riders, Teagarden hit .245 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.
C.J. Wilson: Four of the five current Rangers’ starters were with the RoughRiders at some point in their career, and that group is headlined by Wilson. Wilson spent parts of his ’03, ’05 and ’06 minor league seasons with the RoughRiders. He is 7-13 with a 4.39 ERA in the Texas League.