Texas Rangers

Injuries have forced Rangers to throw a Round Rock reunion

Ronald Guzman on getting the call

Rangers rookie Ronald Guzman on getting the call-up from Triple A Round Rock.
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Rangers rookie Ronald Guzman on getting the call-up from Triple A Round Rock.

Even if it's for a small window, the future is now for the Texas Rangers.

Friday's starting lineup against the Houston Astros featured six players 25 or younger — including three 23-year-olds — who accounted for five of the Rangers' six hits in a 3-2 loss in Houston.

Ronald Guzman, called up before the game with Elvis Andrus on the disabled list, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, made their first major league starts at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Both are 23. Nomar Mazara turns 24 on April 26.

Guzman and Kiner-Falefa weren't supposed to be here. Not yet, anyway.

But three devastating injuries to Rangers' starters have put the club in an awkward position before April is two weeks old.

Joey Gallo started at left field Friday night after taking exactly zero fly balls in the outfield this spring. Gallo, of course, played 18 games in left in 2017 and had experience there in 2015.

"There’s not much else we can do and I'm a guy who can play multiple positions and I take pride in it," said Gallo, who played in left 19 times and in center once in 2015. "When the manager says, 'I need you to move around' I’m going to do what I can to help the team."

Plus, Gallo added, if moving positions helps longtime friend Guzman get the call, bring it on.

"That’s what it all comes down to, helping the team win," he said. "We’ve got three starters hurt in the first three weeks. What are you gonna do? You need guys who can move around the field and help the team and I’m one of those guys so I’m going to do that."

Drew Robinson (who turns 26 next week), Ryan Rua and Kiner-Falefa could all see time at multiple positions, manager Jeff Banister said.

"It’s a great opportunity, in my opinion. Why not?" Banister said, choosing to take the ultra positive view of the near future. "Is it, in the beginning, what everyone wanted to turn the TV on and see? It’s a fresh opportunity for a bunch of young guys to get extended playing time and put some winning baseball attributes together."

There is no other way to treat the situation anyway, Gallo said. There wasn't a somber atmosphere lingering in the Rangers' clubhouse before Friday's game. In fact, teammates spent some quality time, especially Nomar Mazara, making flatulence noises while their teammates were being interviewed.

Gallo, Robinson, Guzman and Kiner-Falefa have spent a lot of time together in the Rangers system.

"We have a lot of young guys right now who have a great chemistry together," said Gallo, who dismissed any dour mood among his teammates. "Obviously, you want to win but I don’t think you take that approach to the clubhouse and then the field. That just makes the whole season miserable.

What happened to Elvis is terrible. It's a huge blow to the team. But that’s baseball. Guys get hurt. You have to move on and ask who's going to step up now? We bring a top prospect up who everyone has a great relationship with and say, 'Here we go, let's keep fighting.' I think that's also important in the stage we're at right now. We're searching, trying to win some games and to have a personality like that is huge."

Banister sent a team-wide text message that reminded his players to out team the other team.

"We can’t control that Elvis got hurt, that Delino got hurt. We can’t control that anybody gets hurt. It’s part of the baseball world. It’s part of sport," he said. "Continue to have high expectations. Elite competitors love pressure."

Banister said Gallo and Robinson are likely to play most days, which includes first base for Gallo and second base for Robinson, who took ground balls at second before Friday's game.

"The way it’s happening isn’t good, but it's cool to see everyone around again and getting a chance," Robinson said of his former Round Rock teammates. "Who knows, maybe the chemistry will help bring other things out."

Rua can be used at first base and in the outfield. Carlos Tocci, the backup center fielder, will continue to platoon on the bench. During spring training it was hard to see how Tocci was going to get 250 at-bats this season. How things change, reminded Banister.

"We’re probably going to get there quicker than we thought," he said. "You know what? All right. This is where we are and this is how we're going to do it. It'll be fun to watch."

Astros 3, Rangers 2

Texas

000

000

200

2

6

2

Houston

100

010

01x

3

8

0

Texas<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Choo dh

4

0

0

0

0

2

.246

Profar ss

4

0

1

0

0

2

.179

Mazara rf

4

0

1

0

0

2

.302

Beltre 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.283

Gallo lf

4

1

1

1

0

3

.197

Guzman 1b

3

0

1

0

1

1

.333

Rua pr

0

0

0

0

0

0

.150

Chirinos c

2

1

1

1

0

1

.146

Robinson cf

4

0

0

0

0

4

.184

Kiner-Falefa 2b

4

0

1

0

0

2

.200



Houston<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Springer rf

4

2

2

2

0

0

.196

Bregman 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.226

Altuve 2b

3

0

1

0

1

1

.352

Correa ss

4

0

0

0

0

2

.289

Gurriel 1b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.250

Gattis dh

3

0

0

0

1

2

.220

Fisher pr-dh

0

1

0

0

0

0

.154

Gonzalez lf

3

0

2

0

1

0

.209

McCann c

3

0

2

0

0

1

.345

Stassi ph-c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.350

Marisnick cf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.167



E—Profar (1), Robinson (2). LOB—Texas 7, Houston 9. HR—Gallo (4), off Cole; Chirinos (1), off Cole; Springer (2), off Hamels; Springer (3), off Hamels. RBIs—Gallo (11), Chirinos (3), Springer 2 (8). SB—Bregman (1). Runners left in scoring position—Texas 4 (Beltre, Kiner-Falefa 3); Houston 6 (Correa 2, McCann, Marisnick 3). RISP—Texas 0 for 5; Houston 0 for 7. Runners moved up—Gonzalez.

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Hamels

6

6

2

2

2

7

106

4.50

Martin

1

1

0

0

0

1

14

2.57

Jepsen, L, 0-2

<AF>1/3

1

1

0

1

0

13

2.25

Diekman

<AF>2/3

0

0

0

0

1

8

6.75

Houston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Cole

7

3

2

2

1

14

93

1.29

Harris

<AF>2/3

2

0

0

0

0

10

1.42

Smith, W, 1-0

<AF>1/3

0

0

0

0

0

8

6.23

Devenski, S, 1-1

1

1

0

0

0

3

18

1.29

Inherited runners-scored—Diekman 1-0, Smith 2-0. HBP—Cole (Chirinos), Devenski (Chirinos). WP—Cole, Martin. Umpires—Home, Phil Cuzzi; First, Tom Hallion; Second, Adam Hamari; Third, Dan Bellino. T—2:50. A—32,129 (41,168).

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