I’m not sure if it was Super Tuesday at Texas Rangers camp, but it Busy Tuesday.
The Rangers played Cleveland at Surprise Stadium, Cole Hamels pitched in a minor-league game on Nolan Ryan Field at 11:30 a.m., and Jeremy Guthrie and three relievers, including Shawn Tolleson’s triumphant return, worked in a minor-league game on a separate back field at 1 p.m.
Prince Fielder homered, and, if you hadn’t heard, Joey Gallo did, too.
It was good FitBit day and a good day for those who like the Star-Telegram’s massive quantity of spring videos.
Thoughts? Here are The Surprise Five.
1. Fielder and some of his teammates have taken to calling people Champ, and he was challenged by a teammate to drop at least three Champs into his answers when speaking with the media.
He then went on a Champ-a-thon in describing his homer, his newfound sleep and Gallo’s home run.
“I’m glad I hit it hard, but Champ out there, Joey, that was amazing,” Fielder said. “We gave up on cheering while it was flying because it went too far. I was impressed.
“When the Champ sleeps the Champ shows up. Joey’s the Champ. To do that off a side-arm lefty, to come off the bench and do that, that’s why we got him.”
Fielder later offered a more serious answer about his improved sleeping after sleep apnea was diagnosed. He is working on some things with his swing, but he also has more energy.
“You show up at 7 o’clock and by 11, if you haven’t gotten sleep or slept peacefully, it’s going to hit you,” he said. “The crash is definitely getting less and less.”
2. Gallo’s homer, his third of the camp, sounded loud, traveled far and sent little kids scrambling for it on a sidewalk against the back fence of Surprise Stadium.
As Fielder said, Gallo hadn’t swung a bat in a few hours and lefty Tom Gorzelanny was throwing from a low arm angle. Gallo said that he wasn’t even going to swing at the pitch, but then he saw it. And then he saw the right fielder not even turn around to catch the blast.
The ball landed on the back slope of the smaller of the two party tents in right field. Those tents are above the 379-foot sign and are at the top of the outfield berm. The tent itself is probably more than 10 feet tall.
Taking in all the variables, the ball traveled ... a long way.
They don’t give extra points for length, but that was pretty impressive.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister on Joey Gallo’s homer
It was Gallo’s third homer of the spring and his third in his past four games. He was off Monday, but also connected Friday and Sunday.
He’s hot and getting results, but he claims that they also don’t count for much.
“It’s spring training,” he said. “Who cares?”
Joey, you’d be surprised how many people care.
3. Minor-league games have started, which in many ways is terrific. It’s nice to go to the back fields and watch games in a relaxed setting and see what’s what within the organization.
Even Tuesday was good, if not hectic, as the Rangers were playing the Indians in the big stadium and Guthrie, Tolleson, Tom Wilhelmsen and Keone Kela were pitching a minor-league game.
Those A-High Dodgers players were overmatched. The homer Tolleson allowed had a lot of things working in its favor, primarily that the ball travels exceptionally well in Arizona. The winds had started to pick up, too.
Anyhoo, the homer cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1. Both run came on an inside-the-park homer by Travis Demeritte, the former first-round pick who was hit with a 50-game ban last season. He struggled most of the winter in Australia, and then went on a homer spree to end the season.
He’s got pop and speed. He also strikes out a bunch. He also has to make up for lost time, and the best way to do that is to stay within himself, to not fuss if he doesn’t like the team he’s assigned to, and to keep working.
Rangers pitchers will continue working in minor-league games as long as they need innings. There are five minor-league game scheduled for Thursday, with Colby Lewis starting one of them.
The split-squad games this weekend will help get Rangers pitchers in Cactus League tilts, but look for more pitchers on the back fields next week.
4. The Rangers’ lone off day of spring training has arrived. No baseballs will be thrown at Rangers camp, unless a rogue pitcher shows up in a minor-league game. Yu Darvish has also been throwing on Wednesdays, so maybe he throws a clandestine bullpen session without the media present.
Business hereafter starts to pick up. Position players are going to play longer. Starting pitchers are going to throw longer. There have already been instances where players are getting looks at different positions, with Ryan Rua’s appearances at first base the most intriguing.
The Rangers don’t have many decisions remaining. First on the list is the fifth starter. They then have to decide whether they want to take eight relievers or four bench players into the regular season.
Early in camp, there were only three spots open, but now there could be as many as six — No. 5 starter, reliever, reliever, backup catcher, infielder, fourth outfielder or starter, reliever, backup catcher, infielder and two outfielders.
Under either scenario, one extra outfielder must be able to play first base, and a reliever must be able to log multiple innings.
5. Time for reader/viewer feedback.
Yes, viewer. No, The Surprise Five isn’t going to television, though I’m willing to negotiate. I usually work blue, so it probably needs to be cable TV.
However, 12 videos were posted Tuesday throughout the various Rangers stories at star-telegram.com. If that sounds like a lot, just imagine shooting them and uploading them.
It’s been a video-heavy spring. I’m pretty sure my index finger has made its way into a couple of them. Stefan Stevenson and I are not professional cameramen.
Quality aside, and here’s where the feedback is wanted, which ones do you readers like best? Anything Joey Gallo appears to be a success. But what about the non-Gallo batting-practice videos? Clips of pitchers from minor-league games? The informal postgame pressers? The manager’s daily briefing?
Either respond to me on the Twitter (@JeffWilson_FWST), at my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JeffWilsonStarTelegramTexasRangers/) or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Thanks in advance.
For your viewing pleasure and for research purposes, here are some more samplings from Tuesday: