Rangers left-handed starters Martin Perez and Cole Hamels aren’t concerned with spring training box scores, especially ones for a minor league game on a back field at 10 in the morning.
So both shrugged off subpar outings Thursday against a bevy of San Diego Padres prospects. Hamels allowed two runs on a walk and two hits, including a home run, in three innings. Perez allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in two innings. He also had two strikeouts.
Hamels and Perez have spots waiting for them in the rotation. Right-hander Nick Martinez is battling to earn the fifth starting job so shrugging off a poor spring day isn’t as easy.
Martinez was rocked for seven earned runs on seven hits and a walk against the White Sox at Surprise Stadium. He left without recording an out in the third inning after a single and double gave the White Sox a 7-0 lead.
They tagged him for five extra-base hits, including four doubles and a three-run homer by Jerry Sands in a five-run first inning.
I fell behind some hitters ... a few pitches got away from me that inning.
Pitcher Nick Martinez
Perez said he felt good, but had some mechanical problems that he’ll address Friday. Like Hamels, he concentrated on his own work, and almost ignored the feisty prospects ready to pounce at the plate.
“Yes, because half the guys down there are trying to hack at everybody. I’m just trying to throw my pitch down,” he said. “A couple things with my mechanics weren’t good today but that happens. I feel good, my arm feels good.”
Desmond does it
After losing his first opportunity at catching a fly ball in left field, Ian Desmond finally got another chance Thursday.
After parts of four games and through four innings of playing left field for the first time in his life, Desmond caught a fly ball to start the fifth inning.
“It’s good to get it out of the way, get the confidence back,” he said. “The last fly ball I had was in winter ball in 2009 and I dropped it.”
That’s what everyone said, ‘if you can catch it here, you can catch it any where.’ It definitely didn’t feel good to watch five runs come in after I missed the ball in the sun, especially with the miscommunication, that wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately for Nick, he had to pay the consequence.
Rangers Ian Desmond
He was especially happy for the chance after allowing a ball drop in the first inning. The first batted ball of the game was a shallow pop-up in the left-center field gap that initially Desmond appeared to have a bead on. But he lost it in the sun (a common occurrence with the high cloudless and bright Arizona skies) and center fielder Delino DeShields backed off at the last second to give way to Desmond.
It was a learning experience they say is good to get out of the way.
“I got a little over-excited for my first potential fly ball, I wanted it,” said Desmond, who was an All-Star at shortstop with the Nationals. “Coming from shortstop, you’re the guy in the infield with priority. That’s something I’m going to have to hand over to [DeShields]. It’s good that we got to practice it like this.”
He not only has to adjust to a new position, but also do it in one of the toughest places in Arizona.
“That’s what everyone said, ‘if you can catch it here, you can catch it any where.’ That’s why I want the reps and want to be out there and doing all the extra work,” he said.
“It definitely didn’t feel good to watch five runs come in after I missed the ball in the sun, especially with the miscommunication, that wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately for Nick [Martinez], he had to pay the consequence.”
▪ Closer Shawn Tolleson threw a bullpen session Thursday and reported feeling good afterward.
▪ Shortstop Ti’Quan Forbes, a second-round draft pick in the 2014 draft, homered in Thursday’s minor league game on the back fields.