The biggest news Saturday for the Texas Rangers was the health of Yu Darvish.
Yes, that was newsier than the continued run of excellence by the man, the myth, the legend ... ABD.
Darvish said that he had no pain in his right triceps after a morning throwing session, that he doesn’t need an extra day before his next scheduled start, and that he will make that start Wednesday at Cleveland.
Assuming he continues to enjoy good health, he will slide into the spot vacated by Martin Perez after he was sent to the disabled list with a broken right/non-throwing thumb.
So, the Rangers will send Cole Hamels (more Saturday news), Tyson Ross, Darvish and TBA to the mound against the defending American League champions. TBA could very well be Andrew Cashner, or TBA could be ABD.
Saturday was another banner day for Austin Bibens-Dirkx.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees.
1. Even Bibens-Dirkx remains a little surprised at his early run of success in the majors leagues, but with each successful outing the surprise wears off.
This guy, a great story after 12 years in the minors waiting to realize his MLB dream, is making significant contributions to a team that still has playoff aspirations.
It’s now a surprise when he doesn’t have a quality outing.
The Rangers need Bibens-Dirkx to survive until the rotation is back intact. If the starters continue to alternate turns on the disabled list, he will be needed to plug holes wherever there’s a leak.
At this point, he has surpassed A.J. Griffin in the pecking order. Griffin, recovering from a strained intercostal muscle, could very well not have a job once he’s healthy again.
Nick Martinez has been better this season and very good of late. He gets his chance at the Yankees on Sunday and will have to be as effective as Bibens-Dirkx if he wants to make the Rangers’ upcoming roster decisions difficult.
Hamels and Cashner need spots on the active roster. Bibens-Dirkx and Martinez have minor-league options, and the Rangers lack quality starting pitchers at Triple A Round Rock.
One of them will likely be called into the manager’s office for news no player wants to receive. At this point, and not simply in light of what he did Saturday, it seems hard to imagine Bibens-Dirkx going anywhere.
2. Joey Gallo had a tough night Friday, going 0 for 3 when he batted with two runners on base. Included were multiple swings and misses on pitches out of the zone and a strikeout in a key spot in the 10th inning.
The situation in the 10th might have called for a pinch hitter, as was discussed during a hard-hitting conversation among scribes on their cab ride back to Midtown Manhattan. Robinson Chirinos’ hot bat — he homered again Saturday — was on the bench with multiple options to play first base.
But manager Jeff Banister passed, choosing instead to stick with the 23-year-old slugger in his first full season in the majors. Many howled at the decision on Twitter, and others expressed that it’s time for Gallo to sit or go back to the minors.
Well, get used to seeing Gallo continue to get chances in those spots. Here’s why:
He’s a big part of the future.
Every at-bat now in those situations is a learning experience. Gallo now knows what it feels like to bat with the game on the line at Yankee Stadium against a lefty throwing split-fingered fastballs.
He will be able to process the situation better next time, possibly putting together the kind of plate appearance that Shin-Soo Choo did behind him. Choo didn’t bite on the splitters that dived out of the zone and took a walk.
Who’s to say Gallo won’t do that next time, or maybe force the pitcher to throw a fastball in his happy zone? Who’s to say that the at-bat against Chasen Shreve won’t be in Gallo’s memory bank two or three years down the line?
And Gallo can hit left-handers. And one of his towering popups to the warning track at Globe Life Park would finds the seats at Yankee Stadium.
So, Rangers arm-chair managers, there were enough reasons to let Gallo bat in the mind of the actual Rangers manager. And Banister is going to continue to back Gallo.
He’s a big part the future.
But, boy, he sure is an interesting interview. Before the 2-1 loss Friday in 10 innings, in which his 10-game hitting streak was snapped, he gave a little more insight as to what went wrong in Houston (no veterans, insulted by columnist, no results despite hard work).
He wasn’t complaining or whining. He didn’t throw any teammate or coach under the bus. He did call the columnist an “idiot,” though.
Gomez’s turnaround from a miserable five months with the Astros last season to the impact player he’s been with the Rangers speaks to the importance of good clubhouse chemistry.
No matter how good a job — baseball player, beer taster, sportswriter, baby maker — is perceived to be, it’s not perfect. People can get unhappy with their coworkers or rules or pay or whatever, and it will affect performance.
It doesn’t matter how much money someone makes or had made. Clearly, Gomez has made a ton of it. But he loves his job and wants to be good at it, and to do so he needs to be in the right environment.
He’s hardly alone in this world.
Clubhouse (workplace) chemistry ... it’s real.