The latest on the Rangers, who lost to the Angels on Sunday but got the first major league glimpse of a player who could be a long-term linchpin:
- Newly promoted right fielder Nomar Mazara, the aforementioned potential building block, began his career in red-hot fashion Sunday. Mazara – the youngest player in the league (20 years, 350 days) – went 3 for 4 with a home run in a 3-1 defeat, and Jim Callis of MLB.com believes he’s capable of rivaling the injured Shin-Soo Choo’s offensive production while providing superior defense. On Mazara’s offensive skills, manager Jeff Banister said (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News), “He controls the strike zone. He can be patient, but he can jump on a fastball early if he needs to. Offspeed stuff did not seem to bother him that much this spring. He can hit when he’s down in the count.” That assessment proved true Sunday, as Grant writes.
- In the next step in his recovery from March 2015 Tommy John surgery, Rangers ace Yu Darvish will throw live batting practice Wednesday, per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. “Now it’s time to turn him loose,” pitching coach Doug Brocail said. “He’ll throw some live batting practice and then get in games.” The Rangers plan for Darvish to throw three BP sessions and then have him begin a minor league rehab assignment toward the end of April. Darvish would then make six starts in the minors before rejoining the Rangers in late May, according to Sullivan. The Rangers will monitor Darvish’s pitch counts when he returns to the big leagues and want him to pound the strike zone with more fastballs. “I’m not asking [Darvish] to throw 25 percent more fastballs,” Brocail stated. “I’m asking him to trust it more to get more quick outs. Just more strikes so he doesn’t have to go deep in counts.”
- In the wake of catcher Robinson Chirinos’ forearm fracture, general manager Jon Daniels said that he considered outside options Sunday morning, but it was merely “due diligence” (link via Sullivan). The Rangers ultimately called up Brett Nicholas to serve as the backup to Bryan Holaday, who will be their regular catcher for at least a little while. “We’ve got a good start with Holaday here,” Banister said after Chirinos got hurt on a hit by pitch Saturday. “We are working through all of our other options right now. We’ve got limited, but multiple options.” The Rangers have two other potentially useful catchers under control in Chris Gimenez and Michael McKenry, but the former is recovering from a bacterial infection and the latter is on the mend from an abdominal strain.