Texas Rangers

Rangers give left fielder Rua time at first base

The Rangers looked at Ryan Rua at first base Sunday as the consider how to shape their Opening Day roster.
The Rangers looked at Ryan Rua at first base Sunday as the consider how to shape their Opening Day roster. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Ryan 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 as 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.

Ranaudo tweaking

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 was 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 chance 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 an 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 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.

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