Rangers to play in Japan? It could happen

10/25/2013 4:47 PM

11/12/2014 3:04 PM

The Dallas Cowboys will be spanning the globe next season when they hop the Atlantic Ocean for a regular-season game in London, and the Rangers could be making a much longer trip in 2015 or 2016.

One of the two bodies in Japan that selects major-league teams to open the season there is interested in inviting the Rangers to play the next time the country is permitted to host MLB’s Opening Series, largely because of right-hander Yu Darvish.

Generally speaking, the Yomiuri Shimbun and Nippon Professional Baseball select which teams they would like to play in Japan, and then meet with Major League Baseball to finish off the plans.

Japan last played host to the opener in 2012, when Seattle and Oakland played about two weeks before the rest of the teams opened the season. The clubs arrived to spring training early, headed to Japan for a few exhibition games and the two-game regular-season series, and returned for more camp before resuming their seasons.

Australia will play host to National League West rivals Arizona and Los Angeles in 2014, and MLB will start discussing plans for 2015 at some point next year. Japan has played in 2008 and 2012, so its next shot might not be until 2016.

The Rangers opened the 2001 season in Puerto Rico against Toronto.

Coaching news

As the Rangers’ continue their search for a first-base coach, they might have to find a new bullpen coach as well.

Andy Hawkins interviews with Baltimore on Wednesday to be the Orioles’ pitching coach. Rick Adair, the Rangers’ former minor-league pitching coordinator, wasn’t retained for 2014.

Hawkins was the Rangers’ interim pitching coach after Mark Connor was fired during the 2008 season, and he took over the bullpen in 2009 when Mike Maddux was hired as pitching coach.

Maddux could generate some interest for managerial vacancies, but he hasn’t been contacted by either Detroit or Chicago. He withdrew from consideration for the Cubs job in 2011.

More gold?

Third baseman Adrian Beltre is the only Rangers player to be named a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove after winning the award the past two years.

He will be up against Manny Machado of Baltimore and Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay.

Beltre didn’t have the same remarkable defensive season that he had in 2012, committing 14 errors, posting a .959 fielding percentage and costing his team five runs, according to FanGraphs’ defensive runs saved.

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