Tomas Telis did something Monday in his first major-league game that hadn’t been done in more than 18 years, and he’s not even the Texas Rangers’ top catching prospect.
Telis became the first player to catch a shutout in his first career game since Jason Kendall did it for Pittsburgh on April 1, 1996, according to baseball-reference.com. Telis took a condensed game plan and worked with Miles Mikolas and Neftali Feliz to scatter four singles in a 2-0 victory.
Telis endured Tommy John surgery in 2010 and learned the nuances of catching the past few seasons before shooting from Double A to Triple A and to the Rangers this season. But keeping a spot with the Rangers for multiple season could be difficult.
Robinson Chirinos has established himself as, at minimum, a capable big-league backup. The Rangers’ No. 1 catching prospect is Jorge Alfaro, who has the physical tools to be in the majors now, but is still learning the intricacies of catching at Double A Frisco.
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Alfaro will not be among the Rangers’ September call-ups.
“He’s right on track,” catching instructor Hector Ortiz said. “It’s more about maturity now. How to handle it, how to be a pro. He’s not completely ready. I don’t know if the focus of a nine-inning game would be there for, say, 125 games, but bat and arm, all of that is ready to go. Now it’s up to him how he’s doing to handle those tools.”
After Chirinos, Alfaro and Telis is Pat Cantwell, who is one of six players who will represent the Rangers in the Arizona Fall League in October. Joining Cantwell on the Surprise team are outfielder Nick Williams, one of the Rangers’ top five prospects, and right-handers Lisalverto Bonilla, Cody Kendall, Josh McElwee and Sam Wolff.