The shortest day of Texas Rangers spring training came and went Tuesday in less than 90 minutes. Only one pitcher (Jeremy Guthrie) threw a bullpen session, and position players were told to stay home.
A few showed up, Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder among them. Josh Hamilton didn’t. He was still in transit from his Monday knee examine in Alabama, which dictated the course of the day.
Thoughts on the day? Here are five.
1. The Rangers know what’s wrong with Josh Hamliton left knee, or at least what Dr. Jeff Dugas, who was sought for a second opinion, thinks is wrong with the knee.
The media, though, was not informed because the Rangers want to discuss it with Hamilton first. Tweets mentioning the Rangers’ desire to wait led many to go into full knee-jerk mode on the Twitter.
No one went so far as say the leg needs to be amputated, but some said that his career his over.
There are a few things to consider.
▪ After being unable to track down Ian Kinsler, who was in Hawaii, before word broke on his November 2013 trade for Prince Fielder, the Rangers have made a concerted effort to make sure the player knows before the media.
Maybe the news is bad, as in Hamilton needs surgery and is going to miss a significant chunk of time. But maybe he will be given the option to try a few alternatives first before surgery. Or maybe the knee just needs a quick poke of a needle or a quick scope or two weeks’ rest, and the Rangers want to tell Hamilton first to convince him that nothing serious is wrong.
▪ We know this: With Hamilton, anything is possible.
Everyone will find out Wednesday what’s going on. Please keep your knees in check until then.
2. The good news about Yu Darvish returning is that reporters from the Japanese news outlets will be back on the Rangers beat. They were missed in 2015.
They will often tell their U.S. counterparts of what’s being said in Japan, and apparently plenty is being said about Darvish’s weight. Folks across the Pacific seem to think that the right-hander is, well, fat.
That couldn’t be further the truth. Darvish is more muscular, and he explained to the Japanese reporters his theory. If he is bigger and stronger, he will be able to expend less energy on things he has done in the past with maximum effort.
So, if he used all his strength to throw 95 mph, a stronger Darvish might be able to hit 95 at only 80 percent effort.
I’d take him at his word. He studies all kinds of fitness and nutrition books and ideas, and it’s been said by people within the organization that they’ve never been around a player with such a passion for it and who believes more in it.
And just like Derek Holland isn’t, Darvish isn’t fat either.
The Japanese word for chubby is debu.
3. Cole Hamels offered some insight into the massive undertaking it is for a catcher to get in sync with him.
Hamels was caught for years by Carlos Ruiz almost without exception in Philadelphia, and the rapport they had is what he wants with Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez.
Hamels said he got close with Gimenez last season in his last start, Game 5 of the American League Division Series. That game, in which he was the losing pitcher because of the seventh-inning error fest, was the first time after the July 31 trade that he threw all five of his pitches to both sides of the plate in the same game.
To be able to do so on the inner half and the outsider corner in essences gives Hamels 10 pitches. But he also was tuned in with how Gimenez received his pitches, and their minds were locked together.
That’s how Hamels gets the high tempo he seeks to keep hitters from getting too comfortable.
“I think it’s huge,” Hamels said.
Chirinos has his work cut out for him this spring, but Hamels said that he is all for it despite his comfort level with Gimenez.
12 Consecutive Cole Hamels starts, including the postseason, to end last season in which Chris Gimenez was the starting catcher
4. Consider Tuesday as a quasi day off for the Rangers, even though pitchers and catchers were in uniform. But they weren’t in uniform long.
Jeremy Guthrie was the only pitcher to throw a bullpen session. Every pitcher has now thrown two, and live batting practice starts soon.
Manager Jeff Banister said that Tuesday was like the calm before the storm. The first full-squad workout is Wednesday, and days are going to get at least an hour longer.
The Rangers won’t hit the field until around 10 a.m. Wednesday after having their first-day team meeting, and will likely be working until around 1 p.m.
The early finish times are a fairly sharp contrast to last year and certainly to when Ron Washington was manager. Granted, start times have been pushed up 30 minutes this year, but the players are getting off the field much quicker.
The theory behind the short day Tuesday, in which most position players stayed home, is to have a little more rest and a little more focus entering the beginning of the spring-training grind.
They’ve been going at it hard. The grind is getting ready to start. Go enjoy your day, and hopefully with what we challenge them with [Wednesday] it’s a much sharper effort.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
5. Tony Beasley joined Jeff Banister for his daily media briefing, and provided an update on his course of treatment. He begins chemotherapy Monday.
After a while, the longtime friends started to rehash spring training 1998, when as coaches in the Pittsburgh organization they shared a house with as many as six other minor-league coaches.
Those weren’t easy times. Minor-league coaches aren’t paid much. Each was a husband and a father. Life was pretty real back then, as opposed to the bigger paydays they have enjoyed since.
Of course, Beasley is preparing to take cancer, so life has taken an unexpected turn. He’s ready to whip its butt, though.
“It’s good to get going and start the fight,” Beasley said.