Texas Rangers

August 20, 2014

Adrian Beltre backs Rangers’ coaching staff for 2015

The performance of Nick Martinez, among others, in a 5-4 victory serves as proof that young players are developing.

Adrian Beltre, he has been told, really should consider talking more often to the media.

For one, his English is far better than he gives himself credit, better than some of his English-speaking teammates.

But he is insightful, and his words make an impact. As a veteran in his 17th season, he can also say things that need to be said.

Such was the case Wednesday morning. An otherwise innocent line of questioning turned into a discussion about the coaching staff, which will have its fate determined not by wins and losses but by how much the young players and pitchers have developed.

The floor was yielded to Mr. Beltre, the distinguished gentlemen from the Dominican Republic, who said each coach should return for 2015.

“With everything that’s been going on this year, it’s not fair to judge anybody,” Beltre said. “We have so many different guys. They [the coaches] are trying to see what guys can do and what’s the best position for the guys. It’s not easy to do.”

The fruit of the coaches’ labor was evident Wednesday in a 5-4 victory over Miami that salvaged a split of the poorly scheduled two-game interleague series.

Rookie right-hander Nick Martinez struck out a career-high seven while allowing two runs in six innings. He did his best pitching against the meat of the Marlins’ order, twice striking out Giancarlo Stanton and retiring cleanup man Casey McGehee all three times.

J.P. Arencibia, a reclamation project if there ever was one, doubled in the first Rangers run in a three-run first, and surging center fielder Leonys Martin, who is being monitored as closely as Jim Adduci, had singles in his first three at-bats.

Jon Edwards contributed to another nice day for the bullpen, working a scoreless seventh inning in his second career appearance. A relief core that also includes rookies Phil Klein, Roman Mendez and Alex Claudio has posted a 0.89 ERA in their past 30 1/3 innings over eight games.

Even Neftali Feliz responded to coaching in the ninth after he had allowed solo homers and put the potential tying run on base. Manager Ron Washington came to the mound intent on removing Feliz for Scott Baker, but Feliz convinced Washington otherwise and showed 96 mph heat to get Donovan Solano to end the game.

“I told him I wanted to finish the ballgame, and have confidence to let me finish the game,” Feliz said. “It was my game. I put myself in that position. I wanted the opportunity to get out of it.”

Beltre wouldn’t say so directly, but he knows the caliber of the young players who the front office want to see developed. They aren’t budding superstars. They might not be budding bench players. They don’t have much, if any, experience, and those with experience are trying to reclaim what they once had.

Yet, the coaching staff has been charged with making something out of nothing.

“The coaches always work hard, there’s no doubt,” Beltre said. “They are trying to develop and at the same time teach the kids how to play the game right.”

Their actual work — from bench coach Tim Bogar pounding grounders at Rougned Odor, or hitting coach Dave Magadan working in the cages and talking hitting in the dugout, or pitching coach Mike Maddux explaining how to attack hitters — is done behind the scenes and isn’t shown during a TV broadcast.

It’s happening, and guess what? The players are getting better. Their numbers might not show it, but strides have been taken with the coaching staff guiding them up to the first pitch.

Once game time arrives, though, it’s up to the players to execute. That hasn’t happened often, but that shouldn’t be on the coaches.

“My coaching staff, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t in trouble and shouldn’t be in trouble,” Washington said. “They haven’t changed the way they’ve gone about their business, and they sure haven’t all of the sudden become dumb.

“They’re working their butts off. They’re going out there every day trying to get the best of what these guys out of them.”

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