The Rangers made a few cuts within the past few weeks with players that were likely not to make the opening day roster. It’s “Go Time!” for the Rangers as we approach the final stretch of Spring Training. There are many options regarding non-roster invites, but here’s a look at four candidates who are most likely to make the club.
It was the long-awaited return for Matt Bush on March 9th, who appeared in a game for the first time since a torn UCL injury in early July 2019. Bush has gone through numerous injuries and off-the-field issues and is in line to make the club, despite a non-roster invite. It felt like a fresh new start for Bush, who threw a scoreless inning in his outing. His first batter ended in a strikeout-looking to Ben Gamel, and for Bush, it felt like a debut for him. “It almost felt like my very first strikeout in the majors. I executed it perfectly, and whenever I do that, it’s a really good feeling,” Matt told me. “To me, it’s like hitting a home run.
With Jonathan Hernandez down, the Rangers are scrambling to find a combination that eases Jose Leclerc. Remember, Bush saved ten games in 2017 along with ten holds, and with the electricity he possesses on the mound and the inspiration to his teammates, the Rangers may take a chance and give Bush a shot in the bullpen.
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) March 9, 2021
Yang is intriguing because he’s one of the few who pitched over 100 innings in 2020. Since 2013, Yang pitched 170 or more innings for the Kia Tigers in the KBO league. He earned the league’s pitcher of the year in 2017. Yang has length, which is crucial for a club that appears length will be an issue. If he makes the club, Chris Woodward said Yang would be either a multi-inning reliever or a part of the two-head tandem on two of the five rotation days. I asked Woodward if Yang could earn a solo starting role. “It’s unfair for the rest of the guys. [Yang] has never pitched in a regular-season major league game. A lot of other guys have. It would be unfair to them unless he dominate[s] the next four or five times he’s out there.”
Quietly, Adolis García is having a great Spring. Garcia is second on the club in RBIs with six fewer at-bats than the leader, Joey Gallo. García was on the fringe before the pandemic and didn’t quite make the club after summer camp. While it feels that fans overlook Adolis in the shuffle with the club, that’s not the case for Chris Woodward. “We’re all taking notice. Our staff has taken notice. He’s not chasing as much. He’s controlling the strike zone. Those are things that hindered him in the past.”
Adolis is least likely on this list to make the club because of Eli White’s success. Plus, it’s a question if Willie Calhoun gets a shot and if Khris Davis’ struggles continue this Spring. There are many factors for Adolis that are out of his control. However, he’s doing what he needs to do to control his big league destiny. “I don’t know if that means he’s (on the) opening day roster,” Woody told me. “I do know he’s putting himself in the mix for consideration to say this guy can help us this year. If that’s the case, we may see him at some point.”
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) March 6, 2021
Culberson and Woodward reunite in Texas after both of their time in Los Angeles. Culberson is the typical versatile veteran infielder that can play all around. When you look at the roster’s young guys, not a lot of them can play shortstop if Isiah Kiner-Falefa needs a half-day or full-day off. Culberson is the guy that can fill that void along with any of the infield positions. I don’t think Culberson earns a starting role with the success Rougned Odor is having offensively and defensively at third base.
We’ve reached halfway through March and two weeks until Opening Day. The Rangers still have several open spots and healthy competition, something Chris Woodward loves. Look for a heck of a lot of shuffling in the upcoming weeks, maybe as much as the Melbourne Shuffle.
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