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.
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.
Rangers outfielder, on a rehab assignment for the Rangers, singled in his first at bat against Sacramento.
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.
So it looks like Rangers starter Matt Harrison experienced some shoulder tendinitis (or stiffness, you be the judge) after his last start. A start Harrison didn’t pitch particularly well in anyway. Ditto for the one before that.
It looks like if Derek Holland is going to make it to the big leagues it could come at the expense of the first guy in the rotation that gets hurt. In this case, it may be Harrison who isn’t considered the prospect Holland is.
With Holland’s sub 1.00 ERA in six starts for the RedHawks, he’s done what the Rangers have asked him to do improving on his secondary pitches, albeit against Triple-A hitters. Still, Texas has to be thrilled with his progress.
The caveat to all this is they may elect to wait a little longer. Holland was brought up too early last year and it showed at times. The bet here is that if someone like Harrison gives up his rotation spot to Holland, he won’t get it back.
The Rangers unleashed a flurry of roster moves Tuesday afternoon so much so that Bobby Jones was working two phones after the Redhawks loss to Memphis.
Here’s what happened:
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been optioned to OKC. That means he is no longer on a rehab assignment and has been added to OKC’s roster.
- Max Ramirez has been called up by Texas. He rushed to make a flight to Dallas after the game.
- Taylor Teagarden has been optioned to the Redhawks. No surprise here as he was hitting .037 in 27 plate appearances with the big league club.
- Craig Gentry was recalled by the Rangers. The 26-year-old centerfielder coached first base for OKC Tuesday morning and STARTED in center for the Rangers Tuesday night.
Salty should remain with OKC for at least another week to 10 days, or however long it takes for his sore back to be completely healed. The Rangers are also working him through a new pre-game stretching routine aimed at helping him remain healthy long term.