BY RYAN ABER
Much the same as yesterday as we hope to get a doubleheader in tonight. The tarp is down as I type this (at 4:40 p.m.) so we’ll see.
-RedHawks pitching coach Terry Clark has seen fans jump out of the upper deck before, but the one he saw was intentional. A fan jumped onto the backstop netting in New York several years ago.
“Hopefully people will think a little bit more where they’re standing when they go jumping after a foul ball,” Clark said.
-Brandon Boggs was placed on the disabled list with a sprained left wrist that had been bothering him for awhile. In his place, Craig Gentry was activated from the DL. That leaves the RedHawks with three catchers still. Gentry is not in the lineup for the opener.
-Chatted briefly with Omar Beltre. He was disappointed with his performance in his first call-up to the Rangers but enjoyed the experience and said it will help him as he works his way back to the majors for the long-term.
-Blake Beavan will make his Triple-A debut on Sunday at Round Rock. Beavan was an OU signee before deciding to sign after being drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2007 draft.
-Today’s catcher watch: Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate for the opener. Kevin Richardson will DH.
-Doug Mathis pitched an inning in last night’s Rangers game, so he’s not going to be used as a starter this weekend by Texas. Matt Harrison is scheduled to start for the Rangers on Saturday, the same day he’s penciled in for the RedHawks.
BY RYAN ABER
Here are some pregame notes before the (hopeful) doubleheader tonight against Nashville:
-Omar Beltre is back with the RedHawks after struggling in his start last night. It’s no surprise that Beltre struggled a bit with his first experience in the bigs. He hadn’t pitched in a level above the Dominican Summer League in five years and is still adjusting to facing the type of talent he’s seeing this year at Oklahoma City and at Texas. Beltre will get back to the majors sometime but it might take him a little while.
With Beltre back down, Doug Mathis was called up to the Rangers, likely as a bullpen solution. Mathis (3-4, 5.09) was scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale. The Rangers are looking for a starter Saturday in what would’ve been Beltre’s place in the rotation. Matt Harrison, who started Monday for the RedHawks in his first start since being optioned, is a likely candidate.
-Blake Beavan, the Rangers first-round pick in 2007 (No. 17) was called up from Double-A Frisco. He last pitched for the Roughriders on Saturday and was 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 starts. Beavan had 68 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 110 innings pitched. The Irving, Texas, product is likely to remain with the RedHawks for the rest of the season.
-Outfielder Craig Gentry ran around the basepaths at around 3 p.m. and didn’t appear to show any effects from the strained MCL he suffered last week against Omaha. He’ll likely be activated for today’s game.
-Nashville’s 19 hits against the RedHawks on Monday were the most surrendered by the RedHawks this season. Nashville is the only team to score 10 or more runs against the RedHawks this season., The Sounds have accomplished that twice, the first time was June 18.
-Pedro Strop has been removed from the roster for next week’s Triple-A All-Star game. It isn’t likely Strop will be sent back to the RedHawks before the game. Chris Davis and Michael Kirkman (barring either being called up) will represent the RedHawks in the game.
Also around the league: Albuquerque’s John Lindsey, who was leading the PCL in hitting before suffering an injury last month, was activated by the Isotopes today and should play in the All-Star Game. Lindsey’s plate appearances have dipped below the minimum for the league leaders, so Davis (hitting .349 entering tonight’s game) is the official league leader.
BY RYAN ABER
With Texas already running low on pitching depth, Tommy Hunter’s early departure from Wednesday night’s game with Florida forced the Rangers to at least prepare to have to call in reinforcements.
Because of that, Thursday’s scheduled starter for the RedHawks, Guillermo Moscoso, was pulled from the lineup to keep him fresh for a possible call-up today.
Rangers starters Rich Harden and Derek Holland are already on the disabled list.
Texas’ starting pitching woes also have altered the plans for RedHawks pitcher Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, was scheduled to return to the bullpen soon.,
Instead, he will be moved into the rotation upon his return.
BY RYAN ABER
It’s no secret that this could well be the last year for the Texas Rangers to have their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.
The Rangers-Oklahoma City connection has been a long and productive one for both sides, as the teams have been tied together since 1983. Only three Major League teams–Kansas City, Boston and the Chicago Cubs–have been tied with a single Triple-A city longer. Kansas City-Omaha started in 1969, Boston-Pawtucket in 1970 and the Chicago Cubs-Des Moines in 1981.
But it seems likely that the Rangers-Oklahoma City connection will come to an end once this season if over. Texas appears to have its eye on Round Rock, which is slightly closer to Arlington than Oklahoma City but much closer in connection. Rangers president Nolan Ryan, who will soon become the part-owner of the team, is also part of the ownership group of the Round Rock Express. Ryan’s sons, Reid and Reese, are executives with the Express.
So what will happen to Oklahoma City if the RedHawks and the Rangers do part ways? The city is virtually assured of hosting a Triple-A team here next year, although whichever team moves its affiliate here might be a short-term solution.
Player Development Contracts (PDCs) are signed in either two- or four-year increments with the contracts expiring at the end of even-numbered years.
This year, 19 PDCs across the Pacific Coast and International leagues expire:
New York Mets-Buffalo
Chicago White Sox-Charlotte
Los Angeles Dodgers-Albuquerque
Three teams (Tampa Bay-Durham, New York Yankees-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Anaheim-Salt Lake) have already extended their PDCs to 2014.
While a Houston-for-Texas swap seems the most logical choice, there are several other scenarios. The Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers have also been rumored to be interested in Oklahoma City as a possible Triple-A affiliate.
But look for any PDC after this year to be a two-year deal. The reason? The Cardinals.
St. Louis’ PDC with Memphis expires after the 2012 season and there have been indications the partnership between those cities, which began in 1998, could end. The team has had financial difficulties of late and last year, a new venue-management firm was brought in to manage the Redbirds and AutoZone Park. There have been talks, but no movement, on a sale of that franchise. St. Louis and Oklahoma City would be a good match if the Cardinals decide to leave Memphis. The Cardinals have long been one of the favorite teams of Oklahomans, especially in radio’s glory days with the signal strength of KMOX. Six Oklahoma radio stations are already Cardinals affiliates. That’s two more than the state has Texas Rangers radio affiliates.
BY RYAN ABER
If you spend any significant amount of time at a ballpark, whether it be professional, college or high school, you’re bound to hear John Fogerty’s anthem to the sport, “Centerfield,” played multiple times. Outside of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” Fogerty’s ode to the national pasttime is the most recognized song in the sport.
This summer, at the annual National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies July 25, Fogerty’s song will be honored. It’s the first such honoring of a son at the ceremonies.
Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey are set to be inducted in the ceremony.
In his fourth, and probably final, at bat of the day on Wednesday Nelson Cruz grounded into a double play to end the eighth inning. Cruz is 2 for 4 on the day. He is expected to head back to the Rangers following this game.
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz popped out to right field in his third at bat Wednesday afternoon against Sacramento. Cruz is 1 for 3 so far today.
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, on a rehab assignment for a sore hamstring, singled to center in his second at bat. Cruz is 2 for 2 so far in Wednesday’s game.
The moment that everyone knew was coming arrived Saturday afternoon as the Rangers recalled RedHawks starter Derek Holland.
Holland will be inserted into the rotation for Matt Harrison who will be placed on the DL with bicep tendinitis.
Holland is scheduled to start next week against Oakland. If he pitches well, he’s almost certain to wrestle the No. 5 starter spot away from Harrison who is injury prone and has been so-so this season when healthy.
Holland was 5-1 with a 0.93 ERA in Oklahoma City. When spring training ended he was tasked with improving his change up and slider. He apparently satisfied Rangers brass who had doubts about him after injuries and poor outings doomed his bid to win the job out of spring training.
Another tough break for former Stillwater High School product Josh Fields who is out for the season with a hip injury.
Fields has had a tough couple of years in baseball since his breakout season in 2007. He’s been injured. Back and forth between the minors and now this injury which will no doubt not help his cause.
And hip injuries are nothing to play with. They can be serious and in some cases career ending as was the case with Bo Jackson and others over the years. Fields is scheduled to have surgery on his right hip soon with the hope of getting his recovery off and running as soon as possible.
Fields didn’t have an at bat this season in the majors and you have to figure it will be difficult for him to win a job next season as well. Former Okarche pitcher Chris Schroder, in town with Triple-A New Orleans, reflected today on the fleeting nature of pro sports. A career can end at any time, not that Fields’ will. But there’s a long road ahead for the 28-year-old.