Texas Rangers

Minor league Insider: Chi Chi pitching well at Rangers’ Triple A

Pitcher Alex Gonzalez was with the Rangers in sprint training but was sent to Triple A. Three of his four starts with Round Rock have been solid.
Pitcher Alex Gonzalez was with the Rangers in sprint training but was sent to Triple A. Three of his four starts with Round Rock have been solid. TNS

The numbers don’t fully tell the story for Triple A Round Rock right-hander Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez.

He has had one bad start, his second for the Express, on April 18. He struggled with his command early, issuing two of his three walks in the first inning.

A two-run triple in the fifth knocked him out after 4 2/3 innings and 88 pitches against Memphis. He was charged with five earned runs on nine hits (eight of which were singles) and had just one strikeout.

But in his three other starts this season he’s held opponents to two earned runs, including his past two starts. He came back Tuesday to limit Memphis to two runs on four hits (including a solo homer) over 101 pitches in 6 2/3 innings.

Gonzalez (1-3, 4.43 ERA) is holding hitters to a combined .262 batting average.

Bullpen relief

With Friday’s implosion by the Rangers’ bullpen in mind, you might be wondering, who’s on the farm worth considering calling up?

Kyuji Fujikawa and Ross Ohlendorf are still nursing injuries and aren’t ready to return, Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Other possibilities include Round Rock’s Spencer Patton, Jon Edwards and Phil Klein. Through Friday’s games Patton has a 1.08 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. Both Edwards and Klein have 2.35 ERAs in 7 2/3 innings. Edwards has six saves.

Gimenez erupts

Catcher/first baseman Chris Gimenez has struggled at the plate for much of his first three weeks at Triple A Round Rock, but he may have found his swing Thursday. He was 3 for 3 with two home runs, including a grand slam.

Of his 13 hits through Thursday’s games, six are for extra-bases, including three doubles and three homers. He doubled his season output with five RBI.

In the process, he raised his batting average 54 points to .310, his on-base percentage 60 points to .362 and increased his slugging percentage by nearly 200 points to .595.

Lucas of late

Round Rock infielder Ed Lucas is 9 for 19 with three RBIs in the past five games through Friday. Lucas leads the Express with 14 RBIs and a .390 on-base percentage in 20 games.

Hot at High Desert

High A High Desert’s Ryan Cordell, Preston Beck and Seth Spivey are all riding hit streaks for the Mavericks. Cordell has reached safely in 21 of 22 games. He’s hitting .333.

Beck had a seven-game hit streak entering Saturday’s game and has hit safely in 13 of the last 14 with a .321 batting average the past two weeks. Spivey had a five-game hit streak and is batting .529 with four extra-base hits in the span.

Frisco moves

On Thursday, left-hander Chad Bell was placed on the temporary inactive list and right-hander Jesus Pirela was reinstated off the temporary inactive list.

Minor moves

▪ Outfielder Carlos Arroyo transferred from extended spring training to High A High Desert.

▪ Infielder Yohander Mendez transferred from extended spring training to Low A Hickory.

▪ Right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz transferred from Hickory to extended spring training.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST