Texas Rangers

Rangers notes: Alfaro catching on in first spring training

Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro went 0-for-2 in the spring opener Wednesday, but he was commended by manager Jeff Banister for hustling down the base line on a routine flyout.
Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro went 0-for-2 in the spring opener Wednesday, but he was commended by manager Jeff Banister for hustling down the base line on a routine flyout. Star-Telegram

Jorge Alfaro had just flown out in the ninth inning of a one-sided game Wednesday. He finished the day 0-for-2 in the Rangers’ 13-2 spring-opening loss.

Back in the dugout, Alfaro, a 21-year-old catching prospect who hit .261 in his first taste of Double A ball in 2014, was greeted by manager Jeff Banister.

Banister shook his hand and commended him for the hustle he showed on a routine flyout.

“I just play hard all the time, give my 100 percent to the team,” Alfaro said. “Maybe if he drops the fly ball I can get to second base and then I’m in scoring position. I just control what I can control, so I run hard.”

That’s music to Banister’s ears.

Alfaro is thought to be the Rangers’ catcher of the future, so his first big-league camp is a chance for him to learn from veterans Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Corporan.

He’s studied how they receive each pitch, how they block the plate, and how they call a game.

“He has great ability and he can be a superstar in the big leagues,” Chirinos said. “Hopefully, he can continue learning and improve as a catcher and he can stay here for a long career.”

Much like Chirinos, Alfaro is a soft-spoken man. Chirinos has learned how to assert himself and communicate with his pitchers, who each bring a different mentality to the mound.

“I am sometimes a little shy, a little quiet,” Alfaro said. “I have good communication with them but I need to do it more.”

It’s the part of Alfaro’s game Chirinos has assisted the most.

“I tell him as a catcher we have to communicate as best we can and that’s something you have to do; talk,” Chirinos said. “He’s so young, I think with time he’ll get more comfortable with the pitchers. It’s not easy for a guy in his first big league camp to try to be loose with everybody.”

Cautious with Andrus

Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus doesn’t feel like he’s missing anything while he recuperates from a sore left knee. That’s because, except for a few early spring training games, he’s really not.

“I’m still doing everything, still hitting,” said Andrus, who won’t play in at least the Rangers’ first four Cactus League games. “It’s a long spring training.”

Andrus took full infield work Wednesday and Thursday as he continues to extend his lateral movement on the dirt.

“I feel better,” he said. “If I keep feeling this way I think I’ll be ready to play next week. I don’t think missing four or five games is going to do something good or bad to me.”

Other injury news

▪ RF Shin-Soo Choo was sent home (in Surprise) to rest with an upper respiratory infection and flu-like symptoms. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said it was not only to help Choo recover, but also to also keep his teammates from getting sick.

▪ 1B Mitch Moreland (ankle) participated fully in Wednesday’s practice and is expected to play in a game early next week.

▪ LHP Derek Holland (sore shoulder) had no issues after doing long toss Wednesday. Holland said he expects to throw a bullpen session on Friday. Levine said Dr. Keith Meister will evaluate Holland before he makes his spring league debut.

▪ LHP Martin Perez resumed his throwing program Thursday after a scheduled four-day rest. He’s progressing to a half-mound next Tuesday.

▪ LHP Michael Kirkman (throwing shoulder impingement) threw a bullpen session Wednesday and felt normal soreness.

▪ 1B Kyle Blanks (both Achilles) continues to progress toward seeing game action in the middle or late next week.

Stefan Stevenson

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Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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