Before Saturday, right-hander Shawn Tolleson hadn’t pitched in a game where tickets were sold in almost a year, so even one inning late in a spring game before 7,500 fans got the blood pumping.
“It was just nice to feel that adrenaline rush again,” he said Sunday.
He hopes there is enough time left this spring to convince Texas Rangers brass that he should be available for their sure-to-be sold-out season opener March 31.
The Dallas native made the most of his spring debut, retiring all three batters he faced in the eighth inning and earning the win as the Rangers rallied for a 16-15 win. He didn’t set down the most fearsome Oakland hitters, but drew rave reviews nonetheless.
The Rangers want to see Tolleson throw again, and that’s all he can ask.
“There’s not a lot of time,” said Tolleson, who had been slowed by shoulder soreness. “At the same time, I’m still in this clubhouse. As long as I’ve got a locker in here, I’m going to go out there and compete.”
Manager Ron Washington assured that there’s plenty of time for Tolleson to claim a spot in the bullpen. It would likely be as a long man, a role that could be filled by several pitchers in camp.
That includes the starters who miss out on a rotation spot. But they might be shuttled to Triple A to provide rotation depth, something the Rangers have lacked at times the past few seasons.
So, Tolleson and other bullpen candidates who can log multiple innings could have an edge. Tolleson just wants a chance.
“I’m here to make an impression,” he said. “I’m here to make a team.”
Profar a go
Jurickson Profar could play second base today for the first time this spring after completing a series of relay throws without any apparent issues.
Profar has been limited to only designated hitter this spring because of shoulder inflammation, and he missed the past four games after having his wisdom teeth removed Thurdsay.
The relays were the final step of his throwing program.
“I’m ready to go now,” Profar said. “I needed to get 100 percent first. It’s still spring training. I didn’t feel like I needed to go out there and rush it.”
A similar approach is being taken with third baseman Adrian Beltre and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Beltre missed his third straight game with a mild strain in his left quadriceps muscle, but took batting practice and did fielding drills. He jogged on treadmill without difficulty, and said he would be playing if it were the regular season.
Choo started at designated hitter, but the Rangers opted to keep him out of left field to give his tender elbow another day of rest.