Remember a year ago (actually last week) when Nick Martinez and Chi Chi Gonzalez and A.J. Griffin and Mike Hauschild all shoved and the fifth starter conversation got super interesting, like the Rangers were going to have too many pitchers for one rotation spot? And then Andrew Cashner tweaked his bicep and Mike Hauschild couldn’t find the strike zone today and we all remembered AAAahhhhhhhh that’s right, baseball is not here to provide you with an embarrassment of riches, it is here to embarrass you by showing you false riches by way of a dishonestly-inflated balance on a debit card and sending you off to a five-star restaurant.

The meal is always delicious, but the story will–with very few exceptions–end differently than you expected when it started. It’s good to remember this early in the process, before Summer comes by the table and asks if you’d like freshly-ground artisan Belief to sprinkle atop your Optimism.

There’s really not much to say about today’s game between the A’s and the Rangers. Mike Hauschild, who threw strikes almost exclusively in his last start, struggled to find the zone at all today. “I felt a little bit out of whack, just not who I usually am. I usually pound the zone with most of my pitches. I talked to Broc (pitching coach Doug Brocail) between the second and the third inning and (he gave me) a quick little adjustment. I felt like I was better in the third inning; the misses were pretty small, and I was around the zone for the most part that one inning while i was out there, but I was just a little bit out of whack today.”

“Let me guess,” you may be asking cynically. “He was working on a specific pitch?”

Ahhh you are so very wise, but also you are wrong.

“No not really. I talked to Broc to see if they wanted me to do anything like that before my first outing, and he just said ‘No, go out and compete. I’m not going to tell you to do anything, just go out and try to (win) a spot.” I was just kinda wild; I got behind everybody, and they’re good hitters. You’re not going to have much success getting behind everyone 2-0.”

Jeff Banister said mostly the same thing: "Yeah, he had a little quicker front side today than what we saw last outing, and it got him a little out of sync. But the stuff is still there. We like the stuff, but just getting it under control, getting down the slope may be the situation. Hey, maybe it's the difference between starting and coming in in relief, but look: it's his second outing in a Major League camp, so we'll go to work on it, try to slow him down a little bit."

The offense was also notably bad again, though this was hardly a representative lineup, featuring something between zero and two (DeShields, Rua) expected starters. DeShields was a bright spot, thwacking a hard single up the middle in the first and a short bouncing infield single in the third. Don’t sweat it. If you need something to worry about, here are a couple of things that may be approaching worrisome:

1. Joey Gallo struck out twice more (he also walked once).
2. Hanser Alberto, whose defense has won awards in the minor leagues, committed another error, and has been somewhat shaky defensively this Spring. He did, however, have a hard RBI single to drive home the Rangers' only run. Unfortunately, he was thrown out stretching it into a double.

On the upside: Dillon Gee worked two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk, striking out one.

Dario Alvarez struck out two in his one inning of work, making sure that nobody forgets his name when they’re listing off the Wesley Wrights, Andrew Faulkners, and Adam Loewenses of the world.

Oh, and go ahead and get the Belief. Your heart might regret it later, but you only live once.


1. Today’s Welcome Wagon is perhaps the best story yet. Adam Loewen has had a rough camp thus far, but his story is still unique in all of baseball history.

2. Andrew Cashner has “right upper bicep soreness”, the Rangers revealed today. He first felt the discomfort a couple of days ago, and the Rangers have backed him off of activity ever since. He will see Dr. Keith Meister tomorrow morning. I mentioned to Asst. GM Mike Daly that fan reaction to the words “Dr. Keith Meister” is usually to spit out their drink and throw the nearest breakable item across the room, and asked if this was just because he was in town, or if the team has any concern. “I think that there’s like, a little concern,” Daly responded. “But with it being so early in camp, there’s no need to push it today when Dr. Meister will be here tomorrow anyway. So it’s just an opportunity with it still being a month away from Opening Day to have Dr. Meister get his hands on Cash, talk to Cash, evaluate Cash, and then we can put the plan together after that.”

How bow dah I'm sorry I'm trying to delete it

3. Other Injury updates:
Adrian Beltre worked out today with the team, and he too willl see Dr. Meister tomorrow morning to go over the results of the MRI he is having today on his strained calf. He mentioned today that he expects to make a decision tomorrow whether or not he will participate in the World Baseball Classic.
Tyson Ross threw 25 throws at 90 feet today. As far as we have heard, that went fine, and he is scheduled to throw off a half-mound tomorrow. If that goes well, he has a full bullpen scheduled for next week.
Andrew Faulkner is fine after leaving yesterday’s game with light-headedness. He worked out as usual today.
Josh Hamilton will stay in Houston to rehab his knee after arthroscopic surgery. It makes sense, as he won’t be able to start running for another 5+ weeks, and his daughters are back in Texas.
Sam Dyson (wrist) and Jose Valdespina (censored) both threw in the simulated game today. More on that… uh, right now, actually.

4. There was also another simulated game today. As with yesterday, we’re getting most of this information from the Rangers’ PR team, so here goes:

Yu Darvish: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R-ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, HR, WP—51 pitches/31 strikes

Allowed 3-run HR to Joe Jackson in his 3rd inning

Caught by Robinson Chirinos

Sam Dyson: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 SO, HR—19 pitches/14 strikes

Allowed HR to Alexeis Bell

Caught by Jose Trevino

Jose Valdespina: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 SO—14 pitches/10 strikes

Caught by Steven Lerud

Darvish said later that he was working on his slider and changeup, which he hadn’t used in his previous game. Asked how he felt about it, he said “I thought my change up was pretty good today. I could tell by the reaction of the hitters.”

Not to make too many excuses about the performances, but it was pretty windy in Surprise today, which may have played into the longballs allowed by Darvish and Dyson.

5. New Rules: We knew the no-pitch intentional walk was coming, but it topped a list of new rules that was announced by MLB today. SBNation has a run-down here.

6. Free-Throw Update: I thought that yesterday was perhaps the final day of the first round, but I should have checked. There were still a few who had not participated, but after today, we’re finally through the first round. Here were today’s results:

Steven Lerud > Sam Dyson
Dillon Gee > Robinson Chirinos
Anthony Bass > Tyson Ross
Brady Dragmire > Allen Webster
Shin-Soo Choo > Tanner Scheppers (Choo pulled off his warmup to reveal a Lakers jersey)
Nick Martinez > Jeremy Jeffress
And since there were an odd number of players, Jeff Banister recruited former coach, now assistant GM Jayce Tingler to battle Connor Sadzeck. Sadzeck told us earlier this week that he played basketball as a youngster, but despite having an 11” height advantage over his 5’8” opponent, Sadzeck lost to a member of the front office. Thoughts and Prayers.

Keone Kela > Ryan Rua
Cesar Puello > Matt Bush
Brett Nicholas > Andrew Faulkner
R.J. Alvarez > Mike Hauschild
A.J. Jimenez > Delino DeShields
Doug Bernier > Drew Robinson

Joey Gallo > Jose Leclerc
Jose Valdespina > Jared Hoying
Eddie Gamboa > Jose Trevino
Gamboa, a noted knuckleballer, hit the game-winning shot with a ball that had no rotation. Unbelievable.

MONDAY 2/27:
Elvis Andrus > Adrian Beltre
Hanser Alberto > Jake Diekman
Tony Barnette > Alex Claudio
Will Middlebrooks > Nomar Mazara
Ronald Guzman > Travis Snyder
Plus, there was a bonus exhibition match: Anthony Iapoce defeated Tony Beasley

SUNDAY 2/26:
Martin Perez > Rougned Odor (Perez shot under-handed)
Tyler Wagner > A.J. Griffin
Ariel Jurado > Jurickson Profar
Brett Hayes > Mike Napoli

Wesley Wright > Andrew Cashner
Adam Loewen > Pat Cantwell
Yohander Mendez > Cole Hamels

FRIDAY 2/24:
Jonathan Lucroy > Chi Chi Gonzalez
James Loney > Dario Alvarez
Yu Darvish . Carlos Gomez

6. Tomorrow’s scheduled pitchers: Tyler Wagner, Alex Claudio, Allen Webster, Connor Sadzeck, and Brady Dragmire


Today’s music rec comes from our Welcome Wagon spotlight. Adam Loewen suggested an album that is in my Top 10 of all time: "Absolution" by Muse. We bemoaned the decline in quality since, and agreed that Absolution was Muse's best album, bar none. You can disagree if you like being wrong.
(Spotify, Apple Music, Website)

During the regular season, these recommendations occasionally come from Rangers players, broadcasters, or other people around the team (here’s a complete list). If there’s a player or person you’d like Levi to ask for a music recommendation, shoot him an e-mail or a tweet here.

You can follow Levi Weaver on Twitter at @ThreeTwoEephus, or for fewer puns and more straight-forward Baseball News updates, you can follow us at @BaseballTX, or download the app and get in-game updates and notifications by clicking on the logo below!