Drew Stubbs wants to stay in Texas. He grew up here, attended the University of Texas, and makes his home in the Austin area.
But he also wants to be on a major league Opening Day roster. If not with the Rangers, then somewhere else.
The decision is likely coming Tuesday morning when Stubbs, a seven-year veteran, can exercise his option if he’s not guaranteed a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day 25-man roster.
First and foremost for me is to be on an Opening Day roster.
Outfielder Drew Stubbs
“Whatever decision they’re going to make with regards to me has to happen sooner rather than later,” said Stubbs, who finished 2015 with the Rangers. “I don’t know if it’s been finalized. Maybe they haven’t decided what they’re going to do. I think there are still a lot of variables in play.”
Manager Jeff Banister sounds as if he’s leaning towards using a four-man rotation, an eight-man bullpen and four-man bench, at least through the first four days of the season.
This would allow the club to send A.J. Griffin down to Triple A Round Rock for a few days before recalling him to make the start on April 8. In the meantime, Nick Martinez or Phil Klein would be available as an emergency long man out of the bullpen those first four games.
This scenario would allow the Rangers to have a four-man bench made up of Hanser Alberto (utility infielder), Ryan Rua (backup outfield, first base), Chris Gimenez or Bobby Wilson (backup catcher) and Drew Stubbs or Justin Ruggiano (backup outfield).
41Extra-base hits for Drew Stubbs in 2014, when he was with the Rockies. He hit .289 with 20 stolen bases and 15 homers that season before a down year in ’15.
But Ruggiano has been working at first base from the beginning of camp, which could give him a leg up on Stubbs. Of course, Stubbs is faster and is a better defensive player than Rua or Ruggiano and has plenty of experience in center field. Stubbs said a twinge in his neck from a swing in the cage, which kept him out of action the past few days, is gone.
“I’m thinking the chances are less likely of me starting the year on the 25-man roster for the Rangers,” Stubbs said Monday afternoon. If the Rangers can’t guarantee him a spot this morning, he’s likely to use his option and try to look around for another spot in the majors. “I would because first and foremost for me is to be on an Opening Day roster.”
If that’s not available, however, Stubbs said he’d be more than willing to go play close to home in Round Rock.
“It’s still too early to make that decision,” said Stubbs, about 24 hours before he might have to make a call on his near future with or without the Rangers.
Darvish throws 40
Yu Darvish threw a 40-pitch bullpen Monday afternoon, his ninth off a regular mound from a normal distance. The 40 pitches, which included a five-minute break after the first 20, are the most he’s thrown during his recovery process from Tommy John surgery.
Darvish is scheduled to face live hitters for the first time when he gets up to 55 to 60 pitches. That should come in about two weeks.