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Spring Training: Rangers revamp pitching rotation after dismal 2018

The 2019 Texas Rangers starting pitching rotation features four veteran newcomers, including three former All-Stars.
Credit: Jonah Javad

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Rotations are a part of baseball — from the wrist movement to the ball itself.

The Rangers allowed the third-most runs in the MLB in 2018.

So, they rotated their rotation.

"We have a lot of reliable arms now," said Chris Woodward, following the first team workout of Spring Training.

The Rangers have four new starters in 2019: Shelby Miller, Edinson Volquez, Drew Smyly and Lance Lynn.

"With Lynn, we needed some stable innings," admitted general manager Jon Daniels. "He's been a little bit of an underrated pitcher in our minds. He made an adjustment mid-season last year and was very good down the stretch with the [New York] Yankees."

Lynn (2012) and Volquez (2008) are former All-Stars, who also won World Series championships with the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, respectively.

Miller (2015) is also a former All-Star, but his career suffered a setback in 2017 when he underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow.

"I never thought I was going be that guy who had to go through Tommy John surgery and that rehab process," Miller said.

"Shelby is a guy with a ton of untapped potential," Daniels said. "Coming back off the injury, he's bigger and stronger now. The stuff's never been a question, it's about utilization and consistency and health."

The procedure used to be career-ending for many pitchers, but now it's fairly common in baseball.

In fact, all four newcomers to the Rangers starting rotation have had Tommy John surgery.

"I'm 100 percent now," Miller said. "If anything, I'm stronger than I was because I have a brand new ligament in there. I think that's how we all think about it."

By signing with the Rangers in January, Miller returns home to Texas. The 28-year-old grew up in Brownwood (2.5 hours southwest of Fort Worth).

"Getting to play in a place that's close to home is a little bit of icing on the cake," Miller said.

The lone Ranger in the starting rotation who has not had Tommy John surgery is the only returning starter from 2018: Mike Minor.

Minor is in line to be the Rangers starter on Opening Day, after finishing 6-2 in his final nine starts of 2018 with a 2.93 ERA.

The Rangers open the regular season against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, March 28 at Globe Life Park in Arlington.