Adam Rosales was blowing it in spring training and he knew it.
He struggled at the plate and didn’t play well defensively either.
“It was the worst spring training I’ve ever had,” said Rosales, who hit .191 in March. “I just put so much pressure on myself. I was pressing so bad because I wanted to make such a great impression. Instead of just playing my game, I was forcing everything to happen.”
Things didn’t settle down for Rosales until the last week of spring training, but by then he had guaranteed himself a minors assignment at Triple A Round Rock.
When he finally started relaxing, Rosales said, it was like “Oh, yeah, this is how I play,” he said. “I let it carry over and played that way in Triple A.”
Meanwhile, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels never lost faith in him and brought him up on July 1. Rosales is batting .314 and has been especially hot in August. He earned Rangers Player of the Month honors after batting .352 with 10 RBIs in 20 games in August.
Manager Ron Washington credits Daniels for never giving up on Rosales.
“[Daniels] was his biggest backer. I was different,” Washington said with a laugh. “But I’m on his side now.”
Washington knew Rosales could be a valuable contributor because of his defensive versatility and his love for the game. But he wasn’t seeing anything offensively in Surprise.
“He was terrible in the spring,” Washington said. “Jon kept him in the organization. Give Rosales credit for staying in the organization. He got a chance to play on a regular basis and now he’s showing he can play. He’s a veteran. And he loves to play.”
Daniels said Rosales has the right type of energy that helps a team win.
“He’s not necessarily the smoothest looking athlete, but for me he’s a winning player,” Daniels said. “He’s got tremendous energy, and he’s all out in everything he does. Whether he’s playing once a week or five times a week, whether we’re in first place or last place he’s the same guy. He brings a lot of little things to a club that I think can help you win. He’s worked hard and made himself a better player.”
Rosales appreciates the faith Daniels showed him.
“I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I learned a lot [at Round Rock]. Just how to approach the game a little better, trusting myself.”
Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish will be examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday evening to determine whether a scan is needed, Daniels said.
Darvish has not thrown since going on the disabled list Aug. 12 with elbow inflammation.
“From a symptoms standpoint he’s much improved,” Daniels said. “We’ll wait to see what the doctor says [Thursday] and determine the next steps.”
It appears unlikely Darvish will rejoin the rotation the final three weeks of the season.
“The calendar is against us here,” Daniels said. “It’s going to be a common sense decision, leaning towards not taking a chance with it.”
Rotating the rotation
Another day brings another change in the rotation. Scott Baker, who was scheduled to start Thursday’s opener against Seattle, has been pushed back a day because of a stiff neck. Robbie Ross will now start Thursday, followed by Baker, Nick Martinez and Derek Holland.
Baker said he’s dealt with a stiff neck off and on for the last month. It’s never been serious but he was feeling it during his bullpen session earlier this week.
Ross is coming off five no-hit innings against the Astros when he was pulled because of a pitch count.
“He may give up some runs, just try to minimize the damage as much as he can and keep us in the game as long as he can,” Washington said. “I’m not expecting Robbie to do anything spectacular.”
• Outfielder Michael Choice, who missed Tuesday’s game with a stomach virus, was back in the clubhouse on Wednesday but still not 100 percent.
• Catcher Robinson Chirinos has been dealing with a stiff neck the last couple of days but Washington said he was available off the bench Wednesday.
• The Rangers set several major league records on Tuesday night. Pitchers Derek Holland and Michael Kirkman became the 60th and 61st players used in 2014, breaking the previous record of 59 set by the 2002 Indians, 2002 Padres and 2008 Padres. The Rangers have also used a record 38 pitchers, breaking the Padres’ 2002 record of 37.