Ryan Rua is right back where he started a year ago. And that’s a good thing for the 26-year-old outfielder.
After earning the Opening Day starting job in left field in 2015, what was supposed to have been the best year of his life turned into a forgettable one. He was injured a week into the season and missed the next couple of months. When he returned to action he struggled and was sent to the minors for the remainder of the year.
Banny and the front office challenged me to be more aggressive, hold nothing back, and I think I played like that this spring.
Rangers OF Ryan Rua
This spring, after Ian Desmond signed and was announced as the everyday left-fielder, Rua’s spot on the roster was much more murky. Plus, he was battling with veteran outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Drew Stubbs, plus newcomers James Jones and a host of up-and-coming prospects such as Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara.
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Through it all, Rua kept his head down and turned in the best spring of any hitter in camp. In fact, he laid waste to his impressive 2015 camp by hitting .440 with six doubles, a triple and two homers. He also stole two bases and compiled a 1.192 on-base plus slugging percentage. Last spring, he hit .297 with an .885 OPS.
“This year, with how last year went with the injury and the struggles, I was happy to put a good spring together and come back and make the team,” a relieved Rua said Tuesday morning after learning that he had made the Opening Day roster. “It’s a great group of guys, second to none.”
.440 Ryan Rua’s batting average this spring, second only to Pedro Ciriaco’s .442. Rua leads the club with six doubles, double the next closest teammate.
Rua has been more aggressive at the plate, trusting his instincts more and letting his natural ability flow instead of worrying about making the club.
“Banny and the front office challenged me to be more aggressive, hold nothing back, and I think I played like that this spring,” he said. “That’s kind of who I am and I’ve put last year behind me.”
Alberto wins title
Tuesday was a good day for Hanser Alberto. Not only did he win the Rangers’ camp-long free throw-shooting tournament by beating Elvis Andrus in the championship round, but he was told he will be on the club’s 25-man roster. All before 9 a.m. Mountain time.
Alberto, an exceptional fielder who can play all four infield positions, will be the Rangers’ utility bench player, as expected. Two other bench roles, besides the backup catcher (which was filled Tuesday by the trade for Bryan Holaday), are filled by outfielders Ryan Rua and Justin Ruggiano. Both can also play first base. Outfielder Drew Stubbs was granted his release today. He had an out clause in his contract that allowed him to pursue other major league jobs if not guaranteed a spot on the Rangers’ roster by today.
Catcher Chris Gimenez has an infection in his left ankle and hasn’t played in a few days but is expected to try Wednesday. With the trade for catcher Bryan Holaday late Tuesday, Gimenez could begin the season on the disabled list or be designated for assignment if not on the roster.
He fouled a ball off the ankle on March 19. A few days ago he woke up with it infected, painful and still swollen.
“It looked like my grandma’s ankle,” Gimenez joked. “The doctors said because of the swelling I didn’t have good circulation down there.”
Although the skin was never broken, doctors told him the skin can be stretched so thin from blunt force (such as a foul ball) that bacteria can seep through and cause cellulitis. Gimenez had a knee infection last season.