Nick Solak wasn’t trying to prove to Rays they made a mistake
Major League Baseball considers the Roberto Clemente Award, which goes to the one player excels the most on and off the field, the most prestigious award a player can win.
Each of the 30 MLB clubs has a nominee, and Elvis Andrus is the Texas Rangers’ nominee this year.
The longest-tenured Rangers players is among the league leaders in stolen bases in his first full season after breaking his right arm in 2018. He has many charitable endeavors, including the Special Olympics, the Sunshine Kids, the Michael Young Family Foundation and the Do It For Durrett Foundation.
Andrus will be recognized Sept. 24 before the Rangers play the Boston Red Sox. The Clemente winner will be revealed during the World Series.
Andrus had a hand in the Rangers’ four-run fifth inning Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, driving in a run and scoring another on a homer by the rookie who keeps hitting.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-4 victory.
No rookie player has made a traditional Rookie of the Year impact this season for the Rangers, as Nomar Mazara did in 2016.
Left-hander Brett Martin has been with the team the most this season, and has pitched well over long stretched. With relievers, a bad outing or two can make a good season look bad.
Two rookies, though, are making a case despite not being called up until August. They both were on the field Wednesday night, and both played meaningful roles in the outcome.
Nick Solak tormented the team that traded him away with a two-run homer that capped a four-run fourth that gave the Rangers a 5-1 lead. He walked and singled in his first two trips, and finished the three-game series 6 for 11 with two homers and four RBIs.
“At the end of the day, it’s about going out there and competing against whoever it is,” Solak said. “Once the game starts, I’m trying to find ways to help the team win. It doesn’t matter who is in the other dugout to an extent.”
Left-hander Kolby Allard didn’t factor in the decision after failing to finish the fifth, but he his best pitching in the second after the Rays pulled even at 1-1. They had the bases loaded with no outs but didn’t score again.
“Getting out of that jam was big,” Allard said. “I thought we did some good things.”
Allard is 4-0 with a 4.34 ERA. Solak is riding a five-game hitting streak and is batting .360, but doesn’t yet have 100 MLB at-bats.
“I don’t think about it a whole lot” Solak said. “I try to do the things that I’ve always done. Hits are falling in and I’m putting together some good at-bats.”
The Odor thing
All those who have delighted in ripping Rougned Odor, even finding something spiteful to say when he does well, are going to be stuck in hate mode for a while.
As frustrating as he has been at the plate, he continues to have a large contract in his back pocket that will continue to buy him ample playing time next season no matter how well Solak is playing.
Second base is Odor’s position to lose, manager Chris Woodward said. Woodward, by the way, is Odor’s biggest backer who isn’t a family member.
Managers are supposed to have their players’ backs, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Woodward, though, is supporting the most unpopular candidate.
“I believe in the person,” Woodward said. “I said in spring training he’s kind of the heart and soul of the ballclub. The way he plays. The way he carries himself. The one thing that probably gets in the way sometimes for him is his confidence. I want all our players to be confidence.
“In his mind he feels like he can defeat anybody at any time, and we’re trying to tell him, no, there are certain times when you’ve got to succumb to what your flaws are and admit that and be open to that and maybe in your work in the cage and in the field be more humble to that.
“When he stops on the field, he feels like he’s Superman. But I love that about him. He cares about his teammates. He does everything that I would want a player to be. And he has a good heart. I’ve supported him this year. I know he’s trying. I know he’s trying to be great. We’re trying to break down some barriers, and he’s been open to that.”
Woodward, though, knows that a tough decision could be ahead. Jon Daniels would likely pull that trigger, as he controls the purse.
They’re going to give Odor a chance, even if it costs Solak his chance.
Should Gallo return?
That question, or something very similar, was asked on Twitter in reference to a story outlining the Rangers’ plan for Joey Gallo to get back on the field.
That is expected to happen Sept. 20 at Oakland. The Rangers will have nine games remaining.
Here’s why he should return:
▪ Attempt to find the feel he had in the first half before heading into the off-season.
▪ Help his team go into the off-season on a positive note.
▪ Learn the value of completing a rehab process.
▪ He can’t hurt his right hand any worse than it was originally injured. The hamate bone is no longer there.
▪ Maybe play a game or two in right field, which could be his position in 2020.
Gallo was an All-Star this season, voted to the American League team by his peers. He showed that he isn’t just a home-run hitter, but that can hit, run and play defense.
The injury has poured cold water on his season, and he isn’t going to recapture much in the final nine games. But he’s healthy and has plenty of reasons to play.