SURPRISE, Ariz. — Submarine manIt was a gradual progression for Ben Rowen.He started off as a typical overhand pitcher, but began dropping his arm slot more and more in high school.Now Rowen is a full-fledged submarine pitcher, releasing the ball from a few inches — if that — above the dirt. The 24-year-old from Virginia Tech has had success with his unique style, posting a 1.63 ERA in three minor-league seasons.He was promoted to big-league camp midway through it, and had his most impressive outing on Thursday against the Angels. He retired all three batters he faced, including last year’s AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols.Rowen followed it up with a forgettable appearance Friday, as he didn’t record an out against five Rockies batters, including serving up a two-run homer to Wilin Rosario.The Star-Telegram caught up with the Rangers’ 22nd round pick from 2010. How was it facing Trout and Pujols? It was fun and a good experience. I got them out on fastballs. Those are the best hitters I’ve faced. The biggest name before that was [Astros second baseman] Jose Altuve. When did you become a submarine pitcher? My high school coach told me to change my arm slot and I worked all the way down to submarine by the end of high school. I watched as much video as I could whenever [former major league submariner] Chad Bradford was on TV, and it’s kind of natural now that it’s been seven years. Did you get a lot of looks with that angle? I get them all the time from other guys. It’s fun to watch other people’s reaction, but to me it’s normal. I just flip the ball in underhand in BP and stuff like that. So do you throw the rare rise ball? Yes, I do. I have my rise ball and a slider. My fastball sinks and that’s the pitch I try to get a lot of ground balls with. How close are you to the dirt when you release the ball? I don’t know, but I’ve scraped the ground quite a few times. My knuckles can sometimes get bloody, but it’s not good when that happens.Number2 Rangers who have added Twitter accounts. Nelson Cruz (@ncboomstick17) and Robbie Ross (@Ross_108).He said it“I think I just overthought it coming in and got off to a bad start. My expectations were to win the fifth spot, but now I’ll go to Round Rock and try to help them win.” — Justin Grimm, who was optioned to Triple A Round Rock on FridayInjury report RHP Yu Darvish (neck stiffness): Scheduled to start today’s game vs. Cincinnati. RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery in July): Threw bullpen session Friday. LHP Martin Perez (broken left ulna March 3): Expected to miss two months. RHP Kyle McClellan (strained right lat muscle): Sidelined for 2-3 weeks before he’ll resume a throwing program. RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John elbow surgery in April): Threw a bullpen session Friday. RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John elbow surgery in August): Throwing out to 75 feet.Videos of the daySee manager Ron Washington talk about the fifth spot and Nick Tepesch, as well as Tepesch’s postgame news conference after Friday’s start on our Rangers blog, Foul Territory, at star-telegram.com/rangers.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison