No matter what was subtracted or what was added to the Texas Rangers’ roster during the off-season, Nolan Ryan expects nothing less than what he has seen in Arlington the past three seasons.
“I think we’re going to be very competitive,” the CEO and team president said Friday, about three hours before the Rangers opened the Cactus League season against Kansas City.
“Sitting here today I think we’re going to compete for the division.”
The Rangers won the American League West in 2010 and 2011, and nearly went wire-to-wire last season before losing a five-game lead with nine to play. The 2012 team still won 93 games, and Ryan wasn’t ready to say if the 2013 club will be better.
“I won’t say that, because we have probably more questions at this time, pertaining to pitching,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of key pitchers that could be back playing an important role for us 45 to 60 days after the season starts.
“You don’t want to get too excited about that, because you don’t know how their rehab is going to go, but if everything was going to go properly or right, you feel like that could be a real plus for your ballclub. It’s kind of like having a taxi squad there that you’re pretty excited about.”
Ryan sat down with the media for nearly 30 minutes, hitting on a wide range of topics. He surprised with his reaction to the off-season (he liked it, and is excited about Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzysnki) and gave insight as to where Jurickson Profar will likely start the season (hello, Round Rock).
And, of course, Josh Hamilton also came up.
You have to give our ownership credit that they have stepped up. Their goal is to be competitive and win, and they’re willing to do that. That’s not just lip service. If the baseball department comes with a recommendation that they think will have an impact on our ballclub, I think they know they can go to ownership and present it to them and they’ll certainly consider it.