The team is finally set, barring anything drastic in the next 24 hours. The Texas Rangers chiseled down to 25 players a day before the league requires teams to release their Opening Day rosters.
Right-hander Phil Klein was told he’ll be on the Opening Day roster. He’ll be used as a multi-inning long man out of the bullpen.
Left-hander Cesar Ramos accepted an assignment to join Triple A Round Rock. The club had asked Ramos to consider joining the Express’ rotation, along with Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Anthony Ranaudo and Nick Tepesch.
“When you look at our club as it sits right now, we had to make some really tough decisions,” manager Jeff Banister said. “You can make a case that guys had to play their way onto this ballclub in spring training.”
The fifth starter is still unknown, but manager Jeff Banister has hinted that A.J. Griffin could be recalled from the minors to start Friday against the Angels in Anaheim. General manager Jon Daniels also suggested Saturday morning that was the club’s thinking.
Klein could be a candidate to be optioned to the minors if Griffin is added.
Here is the Rangers’ 2016 Opening Day roster:
Starters (4): LHP Cole Hamels, LHP Martin Perez, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Colby Lewis.
Bullpen (8): RHP Shawn Tolleson, RHP Sam Dyson, LHP Jake Diekman, RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP Keone Kela, LHP Andrew Faulkner, RHP Tony Barnette, RHP Phil Klein.
Infielders (6): Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Hanser Alberto.
Catchers (2): Robinson Chirinos, Bryan Holaday.
Outfielders (5): Shin-Soo Choo, Delino DeShields, Ian Desmond, Justin Ruggiano, Ryan Rua.
Former TCU catcher Bryan Holaday played his first game with the Rangers in Friday night’s exhibition contest, sitting behind the plate for starter Colby Lewis and a slew of relievers.
“It’ll definitely be a learning process, and I’m going to have to work hard to get to know all these guys and how they like to throw,” Holaday said. “But [Friday] went well, I thought.”
Even with a staff that a catcher is familiar with, changes are inevitable throughout the season.
“It can still grow and change,” he said. “Or some guys decide to start working a different way.”
The new LED lighting system at Globe Life Park received favorable reviews from players. It made the field noticeably brighter, especially in the usually darker corner of right field where Shin-Soo Choo plays. It should make for a better appearance on television.
The only slightly negative feedback? The lights, perhaps, are too bright.
Choo is concerned about staying with a line drive in the lights. Center fielder Delino DeShields said batters will have to steer clear of looking toward the lights in the outfield when hitting because the brightness may leave them seeing spots.
“When I was hitting, I glanced up and got a peek of the lights [on top of the scoreboard in left field],” DeShields said. “You have to readjust and tilt your head a little bit for it not to affect you.
“I like it. You can see everything on the field. You can definitely tell it’s brighter.”
Cole Hamels, who will start Opening Day against the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez on Monday, is feeling a little under the weather.
“I’m sure a lot of guys are dealing with allergies,” Hamels said. “It is what it is. That’s why they’ve got medicine.”
▪ Catcher Chris Gimenez is expected to be discharged from a Surprise, Ariz., hospital Saturday. He’ll be evaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington and take part in Opening Day ceremonies.
▪ Neither Josh Hamilton nor Yu Darvish will be placed on the 60-day disabled list to start the season, Daniels said. Both are expected to return by mid-May.