BY RYAN ABER
Some notes heading into the RedHawks series opener against Reno (7:05 tonight):
-Zach Phillips will start for the RedHawks tonight, making his first start of the season. There was some thought that Rich Harden would start for the RedHawks tonight, and he’s likely to pitch a rehab outing for the team at some point, but instead it’ll be Phillips. Phillips has pitched well out of the bullpen, throwing 9 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over all or part of his last eight outings. The last runs Phillips allowed came July 17 in the first of two innings against Iowa.
-Guillermo Moscoso was scheduled to start tonight but was pushed back when it looked like Harden might pitch. Instead, Moscoso will pitch Wednesday.
-With Harden’s departure from the Rangers rotation, Derek Holland will start for Texas on Wednesday. Holland had been scheduled to pitch for the RedHawks on Wednesday. Insteadm the Rangers moved Tommy Hunter up a night and will slide in Holland against Tampa Bay on Wednesday. Holland is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in four starts and a relief appearance with the Rangers. When Holland is activated, it’s likely either Brandon Boggs or Pedro Strop will be heading back to the RedHawks.
-The RedHawks have another new face coming with the signing of infielder Alex Cora. Cora played 62 games for the Mets before being released a little more than a week ago. With Joaquin Arias‘ struggles in the field last night in Tampa, Cora could be destined for Texas as soon as the Rangers next homestand. He’ll join the RedHawks for Wednesday’s game.
-The RedHawks pitching staff has been a big part of the RedHawks success this year, turning in a league-best 3.91 ERA. The defense, though, has been less than spectacular. The RedHawks are third in the league in unearned runs allowed, with 84. Sacramento and Las Vegas are tied for first with 104. Tonight’s opponent, Reno, has allowed just 61.
-Max Ramirez will start at catcher tonight with Matt Treanor getting the night off. Chris Davis will be the DH, with Ryan Garko at first.
-Newcomer James Tomlin is still looking for his first Triple-A hit but showed that he has an arm in right field yesterday. Tomlin threw out a runner trying to go from first to third on a single and also made a solid throw to the plate that had a chance to get a runner earlier in the game.
-The starters for Friday’s and Saturday’s games are listed as TBA. Brandon McCarthy figures to start Friday against Reno as long as his shoulder is fine.
By Ryan Aber
Another hot one today at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (although slightly less so today) as the RedHawks prepare for the series finale against Las Vegas at 7:05 tonight. A few notes heading into the game:
-Matt Treanor has joined the team to start his rehab stint and is in the lineup at catcher tonight, hitting eighth. Treanor has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a strained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Since Treanor’s injury, Taylor Teagarden has been backing up Rangers starting catcher Bengie Molina.
-Willy Taveras has also joined the RedHawks and is in tonight’s lineup, starting in center. James Tomlin moves over to right after starting in center yesterday in his Triple-A debut. Hernan Iribarren moves from right to left.
-Treanor and Taveras aren’t the only new faces for the RedHawks today. Elizardo Ramirez rejoins the team after spending the last 17 days with Frisco. Also, the Rangers signed veteran pitcher Jesus Colome. Colome was most recently playing for Albuquerque after spending some time in the majors this season with Seattle.
-Today’s RedHawks starter, Doug Mathis, has been searching for consistency on the mound after not having much, either in results or role, lately. He’s struggled in his last two starts, giving up eight earned runs in a combined 6 1/3 innings against Salt Lake and Colorado Springs. Mathis has been much better at home, though, going 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA. His road record is the same, but he’s done it with a 6.63 ERA.
-July was brutal for RedHawks catcher Kevin Richardson. He spent much of the month buried with both Max Ramirez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the roster and getting the majority of the playing time. And in the chances he did get, Richardson didn’t produce, hitting just .100 for the month (2 for 20). But already in August, with Saltalamacchia gone and playing time increased, Richardson has more at bats than he did all of last month and is earning them. Heading into tonight’s game, Richardson is hitting .423 (11 for 26) for the month. He’s also driven in more runs (7) than he did combined in June and July (6).
By Ryan Aber
Pregame notes before the RedHawks take on Las Vegas at 4:05 today:
-Brandon McCarthy threw a simulated game this afternoon, throwing about 65 pitches to some college hitters. McCarthy said he felt great after the session and that things were on track for him to throw 4-5 innings Friday against Reno in the homestand finale.
-Justin Tomlin will make his first Triple-A start today, starting in centerfield. Tomlin is in his 11th minor-league season but is making his first appearance in Triple-A. Look for more on Tomlin in Monday’s paper.
-Brandon Boggs has been called up to Texas to take Rich Harden‘s spot on the roster. Boggs’ callup is more of a reaction to what happened to Nelson Cruz last night. Harden’s move was retroactive to Aug. 8. Cruz will have an MRI on Monday on his hamstring.
-With Boggs up and Gentry on the DL, Tomlin is the only outfielder on the roster for today’s game. So a pair of infielders, Matt Brown (left) and Hernan Iribarren (right) will be in the corners today. In response to the lack of outfield depth, the Rangers signed Willy Taveras to a Triple-A contract. Taveras, who spent some time this season with the Nationals, had most recently been playing for Gwinnett, Atlanta’s Triple-A team.
-Matt Treanor is not with the team today. Instead, the Rangers catcher will join the RedHawks tomorrow as he begins his rehab assignment.
-Tanner Scheppers pitched back-to-back games for the first time in the first two games of the series. He allowed a run last night but still has saves in each of the two games.
-Five consecutive games for the RedHawks have been decided by one or two runs.
BY RYAN ABER
The Rangers deal to get Cliff Lee on Friday afternoon had plenty of impact on the RedHawks.
Before Friday night’s game at Round Rock, Chris Davis–a Pacific Coast League All-Star and the league’s leading hitter–packed his bags for another call-up to Texas. Blake Beavan, who hadn’t even started yet for the RedHawks and who planned to have his fiancee Allison in the stands Sunday in what was to be his first Triple-A start, prepared to travel to wherever Seattle decides to place him, likely Tacoma.
It’s appropriate that the two are linked, just as they were with the RedHawks. Both are from Texas and grew up dreaming about playing for the Rangers. For Davis, it’s a reality again. For Beavan, his future lies in another organization.
Davis seemed outwardly at least to be the consummate professional in handling his demotion earlier this year when Justin Smoak was called up to take his place.
“He got sent down and understands that you’ve got to perform to get back,” RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said last week. “You never know what could happen, whether it be an injury or a trade, so you’ve just got to keep working hard.”
Davis did. And Friday, because of the trade, it paid off. Before Texas’ game against Baltimore on Friday night, Rangers manager Ron Washington said Davis would be the team’s everyday first baseman.
Instead of heading to Pennsylvania for next week’s Triple-A All-Star Game, Davis is heading for Arlington for what looks to be another long-term stint with the Rangers.
“Anytime you get sent down, it’s real easy to feel sorry for yourself and kind of hang your head but the fact that I went out there and played hard everyday and tried to get myself back up, and I just happened to make the All-Star team, that’s something I’m proud of,” Davis said.
He’s hitting .354 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs for the RedHawks this year.
While Davis has been to the majors before, Beavan is still working his way there.
He’d just got the call up to Oklahoma City from Double-A Frisco after his start Monday, when Frisco manager Steve Buechele told him he was making the move.
“I was pretty excited,” Beavan said.
Beavan grew up in Irving, Texas, just down the road from Rangers Ballpark. He grew up wanting to play for the Rangers and when Texas selected him No. 17 overall in the 2007 draft, there was little doubt he would sign instead of playing baseball at the University of Oklahoma.
RedHawks manager Terry Clark said Beavan needs to work on his slider and changeup a bit but has the stuff to be a major league pitcher.
Beavan echoed Clark’s statements.
“I’m mainly working on just staying on top of my sldier, throwing strikes, limiting the walks,” Beavan said earlier this week. “I’m getting more comfortable with it.”
With Davis and Beavan gone, Cody Eppley was called up to the RedHawks. Eppley certainly isn’t the name that Beavan was, having been drafted in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft.
But at the levels he’s been at this year, Eppley has been extremely good out of the bullpen. Combined, he’s 3-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 40 2/3 innings pitches this season in Double-A Frisco (22 2/3 innings) and High-A Bakersfield (18 innings). All 33 of his appearances have been in relief.
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.
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, on a rehab assignment for the Rangers, singled in his first at bat against Sacramento.