TORONTO — With no disrespect to the Texas Rangers, Chris McGuiness hoped he wouldn’t return to the organization this season.The 25-year-old first baseman had an opportunity to make the Cleveland Indians’ Opening Day roster as a Rule 5 selection in spring training, but didn’t and returned to the Rangers.“I just wanted to play in the big leagues,” McGuiness said. “But it was a win-win for me. I was either going to be with Cleveland in the big leagues or come back to Texas, an organization that I liked.”McGuiness has finally reached the big leagues with the Rangers. He made his major-league debut Friday at first base, filling in for the injured Mitch Moreland. Batting eighth, McGuiness was 0 for 3 with a strikeout.McGuiness was batting .275 with six home runs, 19 doubles and 34 RBIs with Triple A Round Rock when he got a memorable visit from manager Bobby Jones.“There was a lot of excitement and I’m still taking it all in and enjoying it,” McGuiness said. “Everything is still blurry and it’s still kind of surreal, but it’ll click in once I get on the field.”McGuiness said his parents and fiancé were able to make it to Toronto to see his debut.Turf mattersNelson Cruz and Lance Berkman were out of the starting lineup Friday, as manager Ron Washington hopes to avoid any serious injuries from the artificial turf at the Rogers Centre.Cruz has been dealing with some sore hamstrings, and the Rangers want to be cautious with Berkman’s surgically repaired right knee. Adrian Beltre is another player they’ll be cautious with, as he served as the designated hitter Friday and will not play in the field this series.Cruz and Berkman are expected to return Saturday, Washington said, with Cruz in right field and Berkman at first base. Geovany Soto will also get one start at catcher, either Saturday or Sunday.Draft newsThe strength of the MLB First-Year Player Draft was right-handed pitching, and the Rangers got their share of it Friday in Rounds 3-10.Texas used five of its eight picks on right-handers. However, it’s most noteworthy pick was fifth-round selection Joe Jackson, a catcher from The Citadel whose great-great-great uncle is “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.“We like him both catching and his left-handed bat,” said Kip Fagg, the Rangers’ director of amateur scouting. “We’re very excited about him.”As far as the abundance of right-handers, Fagg said: “The strength of the draft was right-handed pitching, so that’s where you’ve got to go.”The Rangers’ first pick, 23rd overall, of the draft was also a right-hander, Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, out of Oral Roberts.Gonzalez said he was excited to join the Rangers’ organization, saying he had a good relationship with the Rangers’ area scout, Jay Eddings. He went on to talk about his nickname, which was given to him by his grandpa.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison