Rangers notes: Wednesday’s storm overwhelmed grounds crew

Posted Thursday, May. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Dennis Klein has been taking care of baseball fields since 1996 and had never experienced winds as strong as his crew fought Wednesday night trying to get the tarp over the infield at Rangers Ballpark.

A sudden storm whipped through the stadium at about 5:45 p.m. when the grounds crew was taking batting-practice equipment off the field, and the crew didn’t get the tarp on in time.

“Once the wind started blowing, we were cooked,” Klein, the grounds director, said. “You just hang on. The wind was blowing from the south, so it took everything to the north. The whole third-base side blew and that was it.”

Klein said the crew might have been able to get the tarp on had they started five minutes earlier. However, they were willing to let the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks finish batting practice

“Next time, I’m not going to be so nice to the visiting team,” Klein said.

Still, even if they had gotten the tarp on, Klein said there were no guarantees the game could have been played. The winds were so strong that the grounds crew would have had a difficult time keeping the third-base side of the tarp pinned down.

At one point, the wind created a bubble underneath the tarp that was some 20 feet off the ground. Some crew members went airborne and had scrapes afterward, but no serious injuries occurred.

“Guys are a little sore today, to say the least,” Klein said.

Klein said the field wasn’t game-ready until 2 a.m., but there were no issues with it Thursday. Crew members arrived as early as 5 a.m. and redid the base paths and brought in new dirt for the infield.

Wednesday’s game will be made up at a date to be determined.

Extra rest

Joe Nathan said an extra day of rest for the bullpen couldn’t hurt, but it wasn’t necessary, especially for the 38-year-old closer.

Nathan pitched in all three games against Seattle last weekend, and was deemed unavailable for the doubleheader Monday in Arizona. Nathan, however, said he could have pitched if needed, noting that he threw in four straight games last season from May 15-18.

“What’s one year?” Nathan said. “I’m not fragile. I don’t need extra care. I don’t need to be coddled by any means. There is no need to treat me any differently than any other player.

“I felt fine [Wednesday], I felt fine in Arizona. It was more from the front-office guys saying he could use a few days off.”

Leading ERA

Robbie Ross had no idea. He knew he had been pitching well, but not well enough to have the best ERA among big-league relievers.

But Ross has an impressive 0.37 ERA over his first 24 appearances.

“That’s crazy,” said Ross, who worked around a pair of singles in a scoreless ninth Thursday. “This year has been great so far, but I want to be able to finish well. It’s begun well and I’d just like to finish better than I did last year. My focus is to finish strong, too.”

Last season, Ross had a 0.95 ERA in the first half but a 5.60 ERA in the second half.

Briefly

• Alexi Ogando is expected to rejoin the Rangers’ rotation late next week, assuming his rehab start Friday for Frisco and bullpen session Sunday go well. Ogando could return for Thursday’s game in Boston or next Friday’s game in Toronto, manager Ron Washington said.

• Mike Olt is expected to join Double A Frisco for Friday’s game. Olt, the Rangers’ top power-hitting prospect, has not appeared in a game since April 25 because of vision issues. He was recently cleared for baseball activities and has spent the past week at the Rangers’ spring-training complex working out.

• The Rangers face a struggling Royals team in a three-game weekend series, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a cakewalk. “That’s dangerous playing teams who have been on a bad streak because averages say they’re going to start playing better,” Washington said. “That’s definitely a dangerous team right now.”

• Derek Holland on the key to starting 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA: “Location. I feel I’ve done a better job of pitching in and out, but there’s never a day that goes by that you can’t get better.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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