Jeff Banister stopped short of declaring that Drew Stubbs will be on the Opening Day roster, but the Texas Rangers manager made it clear that he covets the speed and defensive ability the former University of Texas standout provides off the bench.
Stubbs and Ryan Rua appear to have the inside track for the outfield reserve spots. James Jones was assigned to minor league camp Saturday, leaving Stubbs, Rua, Justin Ruggiano, Pedro Ciriaco and Hanser Alberto as the remaining candidates to fill three bench roles.
Stubbs joined the team for 27 games in September and October last season, and was included on the postseason roster.
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It’s still an eternity (seven games left in spring) for some of these guys and what they need to do ... all things being equal [speed] is necessary.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
“I think it’s necessary to have [speed on your bench], based on the two first basemen, the catchers,” Banister said before Saturday’s spring game against the Rockies. “To have the opportunity late in a game, tied or one-run down, when you can create against late-inning pitchers because you don’t get a lot of opportunities.”
With seven games to go on the spring slate, Banister declined to elaborate on who, if anyone, has an inside track.
“It’s still an eternity for some of these guys and what they need to do,” he said. “You want to add an element that can give you an opportunity to score. All things being equal, [speed] is necessary.”
Perez feels good
Left-hander Martin Perez said he’s ready for the regular season after his final spring start Saturday against the Rockies.
Perez struck out six and pitched admirably through five innings before being knocked out by consecutive doubles to start the sixth. He was charged with four runs on seven hits and no walks in five innings.
“I threw the pitches where I wanted; I feel great,” said Perez, who has allowed nine earned runs in 13 1/3 innings this spring. “I’ll be good for the season. I feel good now. I’m striking out people. All my pitchers were working.”
He looked especially effective with two strikeouts in the fourth, including a swinging strikeout of Nolan Arenado on a slider. Arenado is leading the majors this spring with a .548 batting average and had just three strikeouts before Saturday’s game.
Delino DeShields played in his first major league game Saturday since leaving Tuesday’s game with mild right biceps tightness.
“I feel like I’m 100 percent right now. It’s just a matter of not really pushing it at this point,” he said. “We’re getting close to Opening Day, and they didn’t want to throw me out there and something happens and I have to go all the way back.”
DeShields reached on an error and later scored on Ian Desmond’s sacrifice fly in the first inning.
“I’m happy to get to play even though it’s just DH,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
▪ Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie allowed three runs on six hits, including three solo homers, in five innings Saturday in a Triple A game. Guthrie struck out six and walked none.
▪ Right-hander Shawn Tolleson allowed two hits and struck out two in one inning of a Double A game.
▪ Left-hander Sam Freeman allowed two hits and struck out four with no walks over two innings of a Double A game.