In what has been an up and down spring training for the Texas Rangers (5-10 Cactus League), the team has seen some of its prospects and returning players play well while others have not, which has given manager Jeff Banister and his coaching staff a glimpse of where players should be placed come opening day on March 29th when the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros come to Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Mike Minor: Zero ER and 1 hit in 4 innings pitched
After signing a 3-year contract in the offseason, Minor has found himself competing for the No. 5 spot in a potential six-man starting rotation. Following two previous ice-cold spring training outings where he gave up 7 ER, 7 hits, and 3 BB, Minor redeemed himself on Saturday, March 10th against the Oakland Athletics with an impressive pitching performance that included 2 Ks and no walks in just 48 pitches thrown, and a lot of it had to do with Minor having an early edge with the command of his fastball, which didn’t let up. Minor still has his work cut out for him as spring training progresses, but his most recent outing only bolsters his chances of staying put in the starting rotation.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 10, 2018
Trevor Plouffe: 4 hits in a 3 game span
The 31-year-old third baseman and 8-year MLB veteran signed a minor league deal with the Rangers last month as an attempt to revive his career, and his hard work in the batter’s box has really been paying off as of late. Over a three game stretch early last week against the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, and the Colorado Rockies, Plouffe came out of nowhere by efficiently knocking out 4 hits in 10 ABs while driving in 1 RBI, which isn’t too shabby for a player who’s trying to return to consistent at the MLB level after getting put on numerous assignments last season while playing for both the A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ricardo Rodriguez: 3 ER and 1 BB in just 0.1 innings
Ever since firing on all cylinders in his spring training debut on February 25th, when Rodriguez got the win against the Colorado Rockies after pitching a scoreless 3rd inning to hold the Rangers’ then 1-0 lead, Rodriguez has not pitched up to par, and his performance against the Athletics on Tuesday, March 6th exemplified his struggles on the mound as of late. The Rangers seemed to have the game in their hands with a 3-2 lead heading into the 8th inning, but then Rodriguez came in to relieve for Austin Bibens-Dix and allowed a solo home run along with a 2-run double to give the A’s a 5-3 edge which they held for the remainder of the game. Consequently, Rodriguez’s ERA shot up to 9.00, which is troublesome for both Rodriguez and a Rangers’ bullpen that’s seeking consistency this season. With this performance, Rodriguez has now allowed 7 hits and 5 runs (3 ER) in only 3.0 innings pitched.
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