Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos is ready to welcome his new backup, former TCU catcher Bryan Holaday.
Holaday, who was named the nation’s best catcher his senior season in 2010, is coming home after the Rangers’ traded Bobby Wilson and Myles Jaye to the Tigers on Tuesday evening.
Holaday played at Dallas White High School and North Central Texas College before joining TCU in 2009.
Looking forward to getting him in a Rangers uniform back in his back yard. This ought to be a fun time for Bryan and his family.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
Chirinos doesn’t know Holaday, but remembers when he started for the Tigers at Globe Life Park last season.
“He probably had about 100 people in the stands,” Chirinos said. “I feel happy for him. If I had a chance to go back and play in front of my family that’d be something I’d be happy about.”
Chirinos says he’ll miss Wilson, who was a great clubhouse guy and solid backup catcher.
.438 Bryan Holaday’s batting average this spring for the Detroit Tigers. He has eight extra-base hits, including four homers, and 12 RBIs.
“The front office is doing everything they can to make this a championship team,” Chirinos said. “If that’s something we need to win a ring we’re for it. [Holaday] is a guy who works and likes to win and compete.”
Manager Jeff Banister’s phone lit up with people extolling the character of Holaday, including TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle and professional coaches who’ve worked with him. Holaday has had a great spring, batting .438 with four homers, three doubles and 12 RBIs in 16 games.
As a senior for TCU in 2010, Bryan Holaday won the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s top college catcher.
“I’ve heard nothing but tremendous reports on the guy, the competitor, the teammate and the skill set,” Banister said. “Looking forward to getting him in a Rangers uniform back in his back yard. This ought to be a fun time for Bryan and his family. He was excited on the phone and couldn’t wait to get to Arlington and be part of the guys we have.”
Banister said Chirinos is still the No. 1 catcher.
“Both guys have an opportunity to complement each other,” he said.
Josh Hamilton will travel with the team back to Arlington but will return to Arizona to continue his recovery from a sore knee when the Rangers go on the road April 7. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said Hamilton’s return to the roster is more likely to be closer to the second week of May.
Hamilton hopes to hit off a live pitcher in the next week or two. He’s been hitting in the cage and throwing but has yet to run the bases or do extensive outfield work.
“Keep reminding the training staff to pump the brakes on me because the mentality is [I’m] ramping up to go,” said Hamilton, who is hoping to avoid setbacks that would require him to restart the rehab process. “We want to make sure I can go the whole way.”
Opening Day notes
Bobby Jones and Tom Grieve, who are both celebrating 50 years in pro baseball in 2016, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Rangers’ Opening Day game against the Mariners on April 4.
Seven-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion Big Show will do the official Game Ball Delivery and country singer Neal McCoy will sing the national anthem, followed by a U.S. Air Force flyover by the 301st Fighter Wing, based at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.
The Rangers’ 2015 AL West title banner will also be unveiled before the game.
Ike Davis (knee), Michael McKenry (abdomen strain) and right-hander Luke Jackson (back) are staying in camp for more rehab and work. Jackson is pitching a minor league game Thursday. Davis is running the bases and is expected to play some games in Arizona before joining an affiliate. McKenry is likely to join Triple A Round Rock when he’s healthy.
Third base coach Tony Beasley has one more round of chemotherapy on April 11 in Arizona. He’ll be evaluated by his doctors at MD Anderson in Houston.
Yu Darvish will throw his next bullpen on Friday at Globe Life Park. He’s expected to increase his pitching count to 45.