Getting to know Collin BalesterIf you look at Collin Balester’s closet, you might not know the Montreal Expos have been extinct for eight years. Balester has several jackets and hats lying around with the memorable red, white and blue Expos’ logo.Balester was part of the Expos’ last draft class in 2004 when Montreal selected the tall right-hander from Huntington Beach High School in California with its fourth-round pick.“I never went to Montreal, but I kept everything because I thought the Expos’ logo was one of the cooler ones in the game,” Balester said. “You never know, maybe one day I’ll have the last Expos stuff.”The Expos eventually became the Washington Nationals and Balester made his big-league debut in 2008, starting 15 games. He stayed with the Nationals for the next four seasons before being dealt to Detroit before the 2012 season.Balester, 26, has never pitched a full season in the big leagues and is hoping to turn the corner after signing on with the Rangers this off-season. What drew you to the Rangers? I’ve heard great things about the organization and they’ve got a lot of pitching guys in the front office [such as Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux]. And I know Mike Maddux is a good pitching coach, so I felt like there was an opportunity to come in and fight for a job. How do you view the bullpen competition so far? There are a lot of good guys going for those open spots that I’ve seen. It’s good competition. If you’re not open for competition, then you shouldn’t be playing. I’m ready for it. What would it mean to have a full season in the majors? It’d be nice to make a team and show I can pitch. I’ve got bits and pieces the lat five years, but haven’t been able to stick. A lot of it is my fault and not being myself and doing the things that will help me out in the long run. How would you describe yourself as a pitcher? I pitch off my fastball. I use my fastball a lot and then go with curveball next. Those are my two best pitches. Finally, how is it being one of a few players still tied to the Expos? It’s pretty cool. When I was drafted, nobody really knew there was a baseball team in Montreal. So I got to be a part of a little bit of history by being drafted by them. And when they went to Washington, I thought it was going to be Washington state closer to the west coast. But being in the nation’s capital for four years was a lot of fun and I was able to check everything out.He said it“You want to make sure your swing is right. It was a 3-1 count and I was expecting fastball.” — Nelson Cruz, who homered in his first intrasquad at-bat off Jake BrighamNumber6All-Star appearances by Lance BerkmanInjury report RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery July): throwing out to 135 feet RHP Roman Mendez (surgery for stress fracture in elbow Nov.): throwing out to 120 feet RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John elbow surgery Aug.): throwing out to 60 feet RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John in April): scheduled to throw a 30-pitch bullpen session today RHP Justin Miller (Tommy John in April): threw a 30-pitch bullpen Tuesday RHP Matt West (Tommy John in Aug.): throwing out to 60 feet RHP Wilmer Font (mild shoulder tendinitis): throwing off flat-ground today 3B Adrian Beltre (right calf inflammation): cleared for all baseball activities but slow-pacing itVideos of the daySee Ron Washington’s daily media briefing, as well as the manager throw some batting practice on our Rangers blog, Foul Territory, at star-telegram.com/rangers.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison