Rangers knuckleball pitcher Eddie Gamboa wanted to pound the zone no matter the consequences Saturday against the Athletics at Hohokam Stadium.
Gamboa’s goal for the day was to force the A’s to put the ball in play against his defense.
After walking three in his last start (and allowing three unearned runs) Gamboa wanted to rectify that in his third spring outing.
Having them put the ball in play and having them in swing mode, as a knuckleballer, that’s what I want to do.
Rangers RHP Eddie Gamboa
For the most part, he did just that. He allowed three runs on eight hits, including two doubles and a homer, over four innings. He walked none and struck out three. The A’s jumped on him with four hits, including a two-run homer by Ryon Healy in the first inning. Another run scored on consecutive doubles by Healy and Khris Davis in the third. Two of the eight hits were infield singles.
“The big thing was to try to make competitive pitches and I think I was fortunate to do that,” said Gamboa, who has allowed three earned runs in eight innings this spring. “I gave up a lot of hits but I’ll take hits over walks any day. Having them put the ball in play and having them in swing mode as a knuckleballer that’s what I want to do.”
Gamboa worked mostly with his knuckleball, varying the velocity but staying close to the zone. He threw about 15 percent fastballs.
“I don’t want [my defense] to fall asleep. I used to play infield and I know the feeling so you don’t want to be that guy on the mound, especially with the knuckleball,” he said. “I threw way too many balls my last outing so to go in there and just pound the strike zone, I feel a lot better. Hopefully we can build on that.”