The travel roster for the Texas Rangers’ weekend trip to San Antonio is beginning to take shape, though the biggest names won’t play Friday and Saturday at the Big League Weekend at the Alamodome.
Manager Jeff Banister confirmed that Derek Holland, Phil Klein, A.J. Griffin and Cesar Ramos will pitch for the Rangers in the two games against the Kansas City Royals. Catcher Robinson Chirinos, center fielder Delino DeShields, outfielder Ryan Rua and second baseman Rougned Odor, assuming he’s healthy, are among the position players on the split squad.
Many of the veterans — including Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Elvis Andrus, Cole Hamels and Colby Lewis — will get their work in Arizona, where split-squad games against Seattle and Arizona are on the schedule.
The full roster will be announced in a few days.
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“The fans deserve to see major league players also,” said Banister, who is also making the trip after missing the games last year. “Some of the veteran guys have earned the right to stay here and work.”
Odor, who has been slowed since Tuesday by tightness in his right oblique, was planning to take batting practice Sunday morning in the cages with no problems and will hit on the field Monday.
Now playing first ...
Rua finished the past two games at first base, a position he has played in the minor leagues and a spot the Rangers want to see him play more as they consider their bench options.
Rua was the Opening Day left fielder last season before injuries wrecked his 2015, but he played all four infield positions at some point in the minor leagues. He is also willing to play third base, which would add to his value as a potential backup for Beltre.
“Any position,” said Rua, who played nine games at first base in 2014 for the Rangers. “The more positions you play, the more valuable you are.”
One of the hottest Rangers hitters this spring, Rua could push Justin Ruggiano for a roster spot. Ruggiano, an outfielder, has never played first base but is attempting to learn the position this spring.
Rua entered Sunday tied for second in the Cactus League in average (.421) and doubles (4).
The Rangers also experimented Saturday in the outfield, with right fielder Nomar Mazara making his spring debut in left field and infielder Pedro Ciriaco in center field. Mazara played left field last season (33 games) for the first time in his career.
Banister said that the Rangers need to know if Mazara can be an option in left field if needed during the season.
Anthony Ranaudo doesn’t have much of a window to work on things during spring games as he competes for the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation, but his outing Sunday an exception.
The right-hander has been plagued by a lack of velocity and was hoping the changes he made to his mechanics would help. Looking to add tempo, he is bringing his hands above his head for the first time, a tweak that he hoped would also keep him from being too upright.
At 6-foot-7, the change in posture could help him carry momentum down the slope of the mound and lower his arm slot to create more movement.
“The biggest thing I think it will create is that rhythm in my windup and not just stiff and trying to generate power out of nothing,” Ranaudo said. “The biggest part, as a taller pitcher, is being able to make those adjustments constantly, staying on top of it, and realize what you need to be successful.”
The results weren’t great, as the Angels scored five times against him in only two-thirds of the seventh inning, but he will continue to work on the changes.