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Is time almost up for Ronald Guzmán to show the Rangers that he belongs?

Photo: Kelly Gavin/Texas Rangers

Is time almost up for Ronald Guzmán to show the Rangers that he belongs?

In the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday, the Rangers loaded the bases. The Padres had right-hander Emilio Pagán in relief, and Rangers skipper Chris Woodward made a change to the lineup. In Charlie Culberson’s spot in the order, Woodward elected to go with Ronald Guzmán, the lefty. Now, I assume the Padres didn’t have a left-hander warmed up in the bullpen; otherwise, I’d think Padres manager, Jayce Tinger, would go with the lefty to face Guzmán . Guzmán had past success against Pagan (2 for 3 with a double and a triple) along with Guzy’s success against right-handed pitching. The matchup heavily favored Guzmán. Unfortunately, he struck out looking, and the Rangers squandered another chance Sunday afternoon in their 2-0 loss to the Padres. “It’s a tough spot to put him in today,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said after Sunday’s game.

I bring this scenario up because soon, the Rangers have to make a choice. Willie Calhoun is getting close, and eventually, Khris Davis will be good to go. The Rangers currently have twelve position players and fourteen pitchers. The question residing is, do the Rangers keep that ratio or go straight down to 13/13? If they keep the same 12/14, then two, and possibly three with Brock Holt coming back, moves are on the horizon. Ronald Guzmán flourished early in Spring Training and moved heads during the winter. However, Guzmán is 1 for 16 on the young season.

When it comes to limited playing time and a bench role, I sympathize with Chris Woodward since he did make a career as a utility bench player for twelve seasons. On Tuesday, Chris Woodward told me he was impressed with Guzmán’s attitude when it came to the limited playing time. “The days you’re not playing, you need to find ways in the cage to really challenge yourself to try to replicate game situations and game pitching, however possible. That’s the only chance you have, and knowing that when you’re playing that day, you may miss some pitches you normally hit, or your timing may be off. I know that; I did that my entire career.”

Has the role affected Ronald Guzmán where he’s pressing at the plate? “Maybe a little bit,” Chris Woodward told me after Sunday’s loss. Woodward went continued to talk about how other guys on the team are pressing, and the normality of that since the Rangers are a young team. “They are all trying to prove something, and when things aren’t going well, you kind of feel that pressure that I want to stay here, and I want to continue to play. That’s part of the process. You have to go through that.” I do think it’s still too early to evaluate Guzman’s 2021 as a lost cause fully.

The Rangers will likely sub out Anderson Tejeda first since he does have options, and if there’s no improvement, Guzmán may get the boot. Remember, Guzmán can still stay with the organization if he clears waivers, but if a team claims him, then he’s gone. It appears Willie Calhoun could join the team during the Baltimore Orioles series next weekend. Willie will get playing time at the alternate training site to build some at-bats, but the club will make some intriguing roster changes this week.

A Silver Lining Takeaway this Weekend

The Rangers suffered their eighth straight loss to the San Diego Padres on Sunday. The Padres are becoming one of the more up-and-coming clubs in Major League Baseball. While the Rangers have lost eight straight to them, seven of those eight games (dating back to 2018) were within three runs. Yes, I know that a loss can be a loss, but if there is a silver lining, the Rangers are keeping up with a high-tier club in baseball. “Anytime you can play a team, [the Padres] of this caliber close or just give them a little rub, gives the young guys, and gives myself confidence,” Isiah Kiner-Falefa told me before Sunday’s game. “We haven’t been winning, but they’ve been close games. Playing these teams close and just slipping by at the end shows us we’re right there but still have a lot to work on.”

If there’s one thing in the majors that stays consistent, it’s that no one will feel bad for anybody in this league. “If you feel sorry for yourself in the big leagues, you’re going to get your butt kicked,” Woodward said.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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