Date: Thursday, April 20th
Rangers’ Record: 5-10 (5th, 5.5 games behind Houston)
Tonight’s Opponent: Kansas City Royals
Tonight’s Starters: Danny Duffy (2-0, 1.80) vs. Andrew Cashner (0-1, 5.06)
The Rangers are back home, having put the ugly wraps on a 3-6 road trip that did its best to derail this 2017 season before it even really began. Tonight, they’ll face the Kansas City Royals, who enter the night 7-7. The Royals’ record is certainly more reflective of pre-season expectations than is the Rangers’, but they don’t hand out rings for high expectations, so Texas finds itself looking up at everyone except Toronto in the AL standings.
Needless to say, this is an important home stand for the good guys.
1. Mike Hauschild has been designated for assignment to make room for Anthony Bass. Because Hauschild was a Rule 5 draft pick, the process gets a little convoluted from here:
First, he is put on waivers. If he is claimed by any team, they must put him on their Major-League roster and keep him there for the remainder of the 2017 season, or DFA him like the Rangers just did and start the whole process over. If Hauschild does clear waivers, Texas must offer him back to the team from whence he was drafted (the Astros) for $50,000. If Houston takes him back, they do not have to keep him on their big-league roster. If Houston declines to take him back (we are wading waaaaaay into hypotheticals here. They would take him back. But if they didn't), Texas would then have full rights to Hauschild, and could put him in the minor leagues. He would no longer be on the 40-man roster.
We’ll keep you posted on his fate.
2. Anthony Bass has been a Ranger before. In 2015, he held the same role (long man), and found himself pressed into duty early, when Derek Holland was injured in the first inning of the home opener.
“Just give the bullpen some length and save some arms,” Bass said today when asked how he defined his role with the team. “It’s not an easy job to do, often forgotten-about, but someone’s got to do it, and I’m happy to be back, and be that guy.”
Bass threw a bullpen session yesterday, and has not pitched in a few days, so he is fully available tonight, should Cashner–who is still just one start into his season, recovering from a biceps injury–leave the Rangers requiring a few innings from the bullpen.
Bass spent last season in Japan, going 8-8, starting 14 games and entering in relief in 23 others. “I think I did (learn something),” the right-handed mused. “I feel like a more confident pitcher; I worked on my off-speed pitches more when I was overseas, and also pitching effectively inside to hitters, and when to do that.”
Doug Brocail will be pleased to hear that.
Fun uniform fact: Anthony Bass was the third Texas Ranger to wear #63, but Brett Nicholas claimed the number in 2016, so Bass will wear #60. He is the first Ranger to wear that number since Guilder Rodriguez in 2014.
3. Jake Diekman is back in the clubhouse after having the second of three surgeries to deal with Ulcerative Colitis. Diekman has been informed that he can have the third and final procedure on June 9th, two weeks earlier than initially expected, because the tissue has healed well. After the final procedure, he is supposed to take it easy and do nothing for six weeks.
“I’m going to start throwing after three,” Diekman told us today through a smile. “They don’t know that, but…”
Diekman will adhere to the six-week timeline after this surgery, however. That gives him two weeks that he can work out before the final surgery. He says he plans on throwing as much as possible in those two weeks, to try to mitigate some of the atrophy of not working out for so long.
This surgery was pretty painful for Jake. “Sore,” he said. “Like, really sore.”
“But let’s be honest: (the team) needed to get home so I could get off Twitter.”
4. Sam Dyson and Adrian Beltre are both on the DL, and they faced off in some simulated at-bats today. “I think it was encouraging,” Jeff Banister said of Dyson afterwards. “Some pitches with some really good movement. The changeup was there. I think more than anything else, there was good rotation and spin on the breaking ball.”
As for Beltre, Banister had this to say: “I didn’t see him run. He got in the box against Sam, and he was taking pitches for the most part, but he put a few swings on some, barrelled one ball up. He took ground balls and I took the throws at first base. He looked better today than the last time we went through this exercise, but I have not gotten a report on how well he ran.”
5. Look for Jurickson Profar to get some time on the infield this weekend. As a result, expect Delino DeShields and Ryan Rua to get some more playing time in left field. Banister said today that the schedule early on, with all the off days, has made it challenging for him to get the non-starters any regular playing time, because the regular starters were getting their days off… on days off. With this homestretch consisting of 10 games in 11 days (part of a 24-games-in-25-days stretch that includes a Houston-Seattle-San Diego road trip), the rotation of substitutes and fill-ins will be more consistent.
Chris Rockaway is a producer from Houston (now lives in L.A.) who has worked with, like, a LOT of rap artists. So when he released his own record, I was interested to see what he came up with. What he came up with was a delightfully weird instrumental album that occasionally rolls over to the Jazz side of the bed occasionally, also veering into the groove-oriented sample-based world, and once in awhile just turning the dissonance all the way up to Aphex. It’s enjoyable and worth a listen.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or a tweet here.
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