Tyson Ross has already found a new home as a member of the Rangers, officially signing a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $6MM with another $3MM available via incentives earlier this week. With the matter of where he’ll be pitching in 2017 now answered, the question on the minds of many Rangers fans turns to when he’ll be pitching for the team in 2017. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that the Rangers and Ross are taking a conservative route in his rehab. One Rangers exec told Wilson that he’s not expecting Ross to pitch in the Majors until May or June. GM Jon Daniels suggested as much as well, Wilson adds. “We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162,” said Daniels. Entering the season, then, the Rangers figure to have a competition for the fifth slot in the rotation, with A.J. Griffin, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Dillon Gee and Nick Martinez among the candidates. Top prospect Yohander Mendez will open the year in Triple-A, according to Wilson.
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- Texas has long been connected to various first base options on the market, most prominently Mike Napoli, and ESPN’s Jim Bowden writes that the Rangers are waiting to see which of Napoli or Chris Carter can be had on a one-year “pillow” type of contract. A one-year pact for Carter has looked likely for awhile after he was non-tendered by the Brewers, though the Rangers were said to at least be discussing a two-year deal with Napoli earlier this month. It’s possible that Mark Trumbo’s new deal with the Orioles will help to accelerate the market for the remaining two right-handed 30-homer bats on the market.
- Wilson also writes that shortstop Elvis Andrus, who underwent sports hernia surgery two months ago, expects to be a bit limited early in Spring Training and will likely miss the World Baseball Classic due to his recovery process. However, Andrus expects to be up to full speed by the end of Spring Training and feels confident he’ll be in the Opening Day lineup. The 28-year-old Andrus said he first began feeling the effects of the injury last May. While he was comfortable at the plate, Andrus did note that the injury impacted him on the bases and in the field.
- Shin-Soo Choo tells MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that he doesn’t feel he’s at the point in his career where he needs to be a designated hitter on a full-time basis. The 34-year-old had four separate stints on the disabled list in 2016 and played in just 48 games, but he says he’s fully healthy and ready for Spring Training. Choo is open to the idea of DHing two to three times per week, the outfielder said, but his preference is to remain in the field in the majority of his games. As Sullivan notes, spring performances from Josh Hamilton and Delino DeShields could impact Choo’s role. DeShields, specifically, could cut into Choo’s time in the outfield if he looks capable of returning to center field on a near-everyday basis. In that scenario, Carlos Gomez would slide over to right field, pushing Choo primarily into a DH role.