The road to the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation took Anthony Ranaudo back to school Tuesday for a workout with his new teammates.
Ranaudo and eight others in the Rangers organization spent part of their morning at the indoor practice facility at L.D. Bell High School, where the Rangers have been working out this off-season.
The facility, Ranaudo said half-jokingly, is probably larger than his high school in New Jersey, where in 2007 he was selected in the 11th round by the Rangers but opted for a scholarship at LSU.
It’s a decision that worked out for the best. He was on a team that won the College World Series, he became a first-round draft choice, and just last week he was traded back to the team that originally drafted him and put in a better position to make an Opening Day roster for the first time in his career.
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It won’t be easy, but the right-hander has maneuvered quickly to get acclimated with his new team and to start making a favorable impression on his new coaches and teammates.
“I know there are opportunities, and if I take care of the stuff I can take care of I might be in a position for that and if that works out, that’s great,” Ranaudo said in his first meeting with the local writers.
“I’m just trying to take the approach of a new organization, trying to make a good impression, and show them what I’m capable of and going out there and competing.”
He was pushed into the group competing for the fifth and final rotation spot Jan. 28, when the Rangers acquired him from Boston for left-hander Robbie Ross. Ranaudo joins front-runner Ross Detwiler, a left-hander, and fellow righties Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez and Alex Gonzalez among others in the competition.
Ranaudo debuted last year for the Red Sox, logging seven starts with a 4.81 ERA after posting numbers at Triple A Pawtucket that would make him the International League’s most valuable pitcher.
He has a better understanding of what it takes to survive in the majors after seeing big-league hitters pummel strikes that Triple A hitters can’t square up.
“You can throw strikes all you want, but if it’s in the wrong part of the zone to a certain hitter they’re going to make you pay for it,” said Ranaudo, who allowed 10 homers in 39 1/3 innings. “I think that’s the kind of things that opened my eyes initially.”
The Rangers are wowed by the 6-foot-7 Ranaudo’s size and have been impressed early by his work ethic, which has been confirmed by Red Sox personnel. Ranaudo throws a four-seam fastball, a curveball, a changeup and a slider that works more like a cutter after some off-season tweaking.
He has thrown off a mound four times, including once Monday for pitching coach Mike Maddux, and will head to Surprise, Ariz., next week for a jump start on spring training.
“My job is to try and go out there and compete and throw strikes and ultimately try and help the team win whatever level that’s at,” Ranaudo said. “Whether I’m at the Triple A level or major league level, I’m going to go out there and compete.”
▪ The Rangers added Martire Garcia to big-league camp as competition with Michael Kirkman and Alex Claudio to be a left-hander in the bullpen. Garcia pitched at three levels in the Rangers’ system last year and held lefty hitters to a .200 average.
▪ Individual game tickets, except for Opening Day, will go on sale at 8 a.m. Feb. 27. That’s a day earlier than the Rangers originally announced.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
M 4: vs. Royals, Surprise
M 5: at Royals, Surprise
M 6: vs. Giants, Surprise
M 7: at Brewers, Maryvale
M 8: vs. Indians, Surprise
M 8: at Cubs, Mesa
M 9: vs. A’s, Surprise
M 10: at Angels, Tempe
M 11: at White Sox, Glendale
M 12: vs. White Sox, Surprise
M 13: at Giants, Scottsdale
M 14: at Padres, Peoria
M 15: vs. Brewers, Surprise
M 16: at Angels, Tempe
M 17: vs. Dodgers, Surprise
M 19: at Reds, Goodyear
M 20: vs. Mariners, Surprise
M 21: vs. Brewers, Surprise
M 22: at Mariners, Peoria
M 23: vs. Reds, Surprise
M 24: vs. Angels, Surprise
M 25: at Reds, Goodyear
M 26: vs. Rockies, Surprise
M 27: at A’s, Mesa
M 28: vs. Padres, Surprise
M 29: at Dodgers, Glendale
M 30: vs. Royals, Surprise
M 31: vs. Cubs, Surprise
M 31: at Diamondbacks, Scottsdale
Apr. 1: at Rockies, Scottsdale