There are a few noted benefits to the Texas Rangers for hosting a couple exhibition games at Globe Life Park.
It gives the park’s thousands of employees a couple test runs before the regular season begins Monday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners.
It also allows for the Rangers’ regular players to get nestled back in their homes and acclimated to their home clubhouse.
But perhaps the biggest perk for the Rangers is the chance to give some young prospects a chance for a taste of the future.
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Experiencing playing in this stadium, this atmosphere, this is the closest they can possibly get playing in the big leagues without playing in the big leagues.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
That includes outfielder Lewis Brinson, one of the organization’s top three prospects, along with Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara.
Brinson, who will start at Double A Frisco, is not on the 40-man roster, which allowed the Rangers to use him without any roster red-tape hassles. (Players on the 40-man roster, such as Gallo and Mazara, would have to be officially recalled to play in the game.)
“This is where I want to be, so being here right now, getting a little taste and in front of the fans, I’m honored the Rangers wanted me to come out here at the end of spring training,” said Brinson, who is batting .368 in 19 spring games. “It’s cool to be here.”
Brinson finished 2015 with Triple A Round Rock (batting .438 in eight games) and is likely headed back there soon with a quick start in Frisco.
“I’m going to go out there and do what I know I can do on the field and wherever I end up in a month or two months — if I’m still there, or in Triple A or I’m here — I’m still going to compete and play baseball like I know how to and that’s all I’m worried about.”
Other prospects available in the two exhibition games this weekend include Drew Robinson, Ryan Cordell, Jimmy Reyes, Ronald Guzman and Luis Marte.
“Experiencing playing in this stadium, this atmosphere, this is the closest they can possibly get playing in the big leagues without playing in the big leagues,” manager Jeff Banister said. “All that is valued time on the field and valued experience.”
Frisco and Round Rock play exhibition games at each park, Sunday in Frisco and Monday in Round Rock before the minor league season begins Thursday. Those exhibition games are not open to the public.
Banister’s office looks pretty much the same as it did last year but with a few notable differences.
Banister had his office doors outfitted with glass windows so that visitors could see in.
2 Handwritten notes from former President George W. Bush to Rangers manager Jeff Banister last fall. One congratulated him for winning the AL West title and one congratulated him for being named AL Manager of the Year.
He also added a new framed memento on the wall. It goes with the scorecard from his first game as Rangers manager, the Texas flag and a nice mural of every manager in Rangers history.
The addition is a personal note from former President George W. Bush congratulating Banister for winning the 2015 American League Manager of the Year award.
“Whether it’s a sitting president or former president, anytime you get a handwritten note it’s pretty special, probably rare comparatively,” Banister said.
“What’s really great about that for me is I got a congratulations in person and then to receive, in this day and age, an actual handwritten note from anybody is time to stop the presses, let alone one from the former president.”
Bush also sent Banister a note of congratulations for winning the AL West. That one is on display at Banister’s home in Keller.
Catcher in hospital
Catcher Chris Gimenez, who fouled a ball off his left ankle in a game March 19, has been hospitalized in Surprise, Ariz., with an infection in his left ankle.
Doctors are still testing to determine the cause of swelling and discoloration.
Darvish throws 45
Yu Darvish threw a 45-pitch bullpen session Friday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
He took a short break between the first 20 and last 25 and pitching coach Doug Brocail stood in the batter’s box for some pitches, a first for Darvish this spring.