Texas Rangers

Rangers’ Leclerc showed off his arm after save vs. Tigers. Why the heave into the stands?

Jose Leclerc threw a ball toward the heavens Friday night after recording his first save since April 17.
Jose Leclerc threw a ball toward the heavens Friday night after recording his first save since April 17. Special to the Star-Telegram

Chris Woodward issued this warning Wednesday night: Jose Leclerc was going to close again, maybe as soon as Friday.

The Texas Rangers manager didn’t warn that it was going to be an adventure, though he probably didn’t need to do that.

Woodward also forgot to mention that Leclerc might come out firing ... after the final out.

Leclerc nailed down the save in a 5-4 victory Friday over the Detroit Tigers, who scored twice against him in the ninth and stranded the potential tying and go-ahead runs.

After he tagged first base for the last out, Leclerc threw the baseball toward right field. It landed on the roof of the home-run porch.

Leclerc said afterward that the toss was out of elation, not anger or in an effort to release his ninth-inning demons. It was his first save since April 17 after losing his job as the Rangers’ closer.

“Not out of frustration,” he said. “I felt happy.”

The throw comes less than a week after former Cleveland Indians pitcher threw a ball over the center-field wall at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City from the pitching mound after allowing eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.

He issued an apology after the game, and the Indians traded him to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

Leclerc won’t be traded. Woodward wasn’t even mad.

“I don’t question it,” Woodward said. “I’ll probably talk to him about it and say probably not to do it next time. But he’s a competitor and just showed a little bit of frustration.”

Leclerc’s problems on the mound started with a leadoff walk to No. 7 hitter Travis Demeritte, the former Rangers first-round pick who was making his MLB debut. Leclerc retired the next two hitters before two singles, a walk and a wild pitch made it 5-4.

But Jeimer Candelario grounded the next pitch after the wild pitch to first base, and Leclerc took the toss from Danny Santana in time.

And they wound up and fired. Leclerc said that he was trying to throw the ball to a fan, but ended up reaching the roof.

“Too much power,” he said, laughing.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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