The Texas Rangers had already scheduled a spring visit for one quarterback, but on Thursday they welcomed another who is a little more popular with the home crowd.
Tony Romo was a surprise guest to the Surprise Recreation Campus, trading the silver and blue of the Dallas Cowboys for the red and blue of the Rangers. Romo wasn’t in full uniform, but he wore a Rangers hat, shorts and pullover as the club worked out before its game against the Chicago White Sox.
He played catch with Adrian Beltre’s son, Adrian Jr.
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Manager Jeff Banister, who didn’t tell Rangers players that Romo was coming, likes the idea of merging players and coaches from teams in the same city. It’s a practice he learned the past four years at bench coach in Pittsburgh.
Romo also likes the idea.
“I’m going to live here [Dallas] my whole life,” Romo said. “I just feel like it’s something that I want to show, while I’m still playing, the support for the other guys. I feel like they do a good job with us. I want them to make sure they know that we enjoy watching them.”
He also took time to talk with Matt Harrison. Both have dealt with back surgery, and Harrison is trying to come back from a disk fusion in his lower back.
“He’s a pitcher, so it’s an aggressive, explosive move,” Romo said. “If one part doesn’t feel strong, then the whole sequence is off. I told him … sometimes you’ve got to go work at it, and it’s going to be tedious.”
Romo’s cameo came more than two weeks before Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is set to be in camp. Wilson is part of the Rangers’ organization after they selected him in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft in 2013, and he made a one-day visit to camp last year.
Right-hander Tanner Scheppers said that there’s no reason to worry about his sprained right ankle that kept him from pitching Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It’s not even swollen,” he said.
That’s good news for the Rangers, who are counting on Scheppers to return to the eighth-inning role he flourished in in 2013 as the primary set-up man for Joe Nathan. Scheppers, Neftali Feliz and Shawn Tolleson are the only three relievers in camp who have locked up roster spots.
Scheppers rolled the ankle while doing conditioning work Sunday. It has improved each day to the point now where it’s only mildly sore. He said that he is being held out for a few days to make sure he doesn’t alter his mechanics to compensate for any pain.
“It’s something that if it happened during the season, it would be a non-issue and nothing that would put me down.”
Holland a go
Left-hander Derek Holland experienced no discomfort 24 hours after a Wednesday bullpen session, and he will ramp up his preparation for the regular season by tossing one inning Saturday in a B game against San Diego.
Banister has eliminated Holland as a candidate for the start on Opening Day, April 6 at Oakland, but Holland could be the starter when the Rangers open their home schedule April 10.
Beimel on schedule
Left-handed reliever Joe Beimel didn’t sign with the Rangers until last week, and he didn’t make his first appearance until Tuesday. He allowed a two-run homer in his one inning of work.
But the Rangers liked the way he attacked hitters. He faced five batters, but needed only 10 pitches. Beimel also liked the way he threw, and said that he is on his normal spring scheduled even though he arrived nearly three weeks late.
“I was working on my fastball command and getting ahead throwing strikes,” said Beimel, who pitched last season with Seattle. “I feel like it’s normal. I’d been throwing the whole time I was at home, off the mound every other day. I don’t need many innings.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760