The only thing hotter than the Arizona sun at the moment is Ryan Rua. The Rangers’ Opening Day left-fielder a year ago has returned from an injury-plagued 2015 to reassert himself as another valuable asset to the roster.
Although left field is currently occupied by veteran Ian Desmond, Rua is likely to earn one of a couple bench spots. His defensive versatility gives him an edge as he can play at either outfielder corner spot or at first or third base if circumstances call for it.
These guys two guys, it’s my guess, are having the best spring trainings they’ve ever had in their career. That’s what you want. You don’t want the challenge to be, well, if they had a good spring training and project what a guy is going to do.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
“I think that’s what helps out a lot of teams,” Rua said of his versatility. He played first again Tuesday against the Padres. He collected his sixth double and has a team-high 29 total bases with a .462 batting average.
An admitted slow starter, Rua got off to a decent start this spring and has kept it going.
“Being able to get a couple knocks during spring gets the confidence up and relaxes you a little bit more in the box,” he said.
The only other hitter having as good a spring is Pedro Ciriaco, who is also hoping to earn a bench job. He’s batting .487 and leads the team with 19 hits.
“These two guys, it’s my guess, are having the best spring trainings they’ve ever had in their career. That’s what you want,” manager Jeff Banister said. “You don’t want the challenge to be, well, if they had a good spring training and [try to] project what a guy is going to do.”
Bush takes mound
Matt Bush, the former No. 1 pick who was released from prison for drunk driving-related offenses in October, will pitch in the Rangers’ major league game Wednesday against the Cubs.
Bush, who turned 30 in February, has exceeded expectations during minor league camp this spring, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.
He’s exceeded or met expectations in both areas. We thought it was a good time to bring him over and take a look at him on this stage.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels
“He’s been really good on and off the field,” Daniels said. “He’s exceeded or met expectations in both areas. We thought it was a good time to bring him over and take a look at him on this stage.”
Bush, who was the No. 1 pick by the Padres in 2004, has battled alcohol-related legal issues that culminated in a sentence of 51 months in a Florida prison derailing his baseball career.
Daniels said this is both an opportunity and reward of sorts for Bush abiding by the strict guidelines laid out when he signed a minor league deal with the club in December.
“He’s been very very good from a performance standpoint. He’s checked every box from a routine standpoint as well,” Daniels said.
Tate in Futures Game
Right-hander Dillon Tate, the Rangers first-round pick (No. 4 overall) in 2015, is scheduled to pitch in the Futures Game against the Cubs at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday. It will air on either FSSW or FSSW Plus, depending on your location.
Darvish throws 31
Yu Darvish threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Tuesday morning. It’s the most pitches he’s thrown in one session this spring. He did it off a mound on a field for the first time, too.
“Looks like he feels good, ball is coming out clean,” Banister said. “Get him the feel of the surroundings. He hadn’t been on a main diamond in a while. I think he looks good.”
DeShields out early
Center fielder Delino DeShields left Tuesday’s game after the top of the fifth with mild right biceps tendinitis. He’ll be evaluated Wednesday.
“It’s happened before and it goes away. Today it lingered a little bit longer than it usually does,” DeShields said. “It’ll probably be fine [Wednesday].”