Young Guns

February 21, 2010 10:40 AM

Pitchers and catchers have reported!

Scott Feldman--Fan FestThe 2010 baseball season officially started on Wednesday (or Thursday in the case of the Rangers) when pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.  Some of the early spring questions, ironically enough, involve pitching and catching.  In particular, the starting rotation.  With Rich Harden, Scott Feldman (pictured) and Colby Lewis penciled in as the number 1, 2, and 3 starters, Tommy Hunter is favored for the 4th spot, leaving Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy, Neftali Feliz and the always outspoken CJ Wilson competing for the last spot.  If Neftali and CJ don't make the rotation, they will have spots in the bullpen and competing for the last 1-2 spots will be the other pitchers who didn't make the rotation, along with Pedro Strop, Doug Mathis, Dustin Nippert, Warner Madrigal and some yet to be identified NRIs who have a good spring.

TR Sullivan has an article up on Neftali containing quotes from Ron Washington and Mike Maddox.  Is it me, or does Ron Washington say he thinks a reliever is more valuable than a starter?

Speaking of pitching battles, personal favorite Derek Holland tweaked his knee yesterday in warmups and was sent for an MRI.  He walked off the field under his own power and thinks he'll only be down a few days.  Doug Mathis was temporarily shut down with a cut on his finger, but is expected to be back throwing today.

 One of the most endearing things about CJ Wilson can also be the most annoying.  CJ is great about being open with the media and the fans, which you have to respect.  However, sometimes what he says is extremely controversial and leads to questions about the kind of teammate he is.  He recently made comments about why he should be in the starting rotation, and as usual they caused a fire storm. In a likely attempt to difuse the situation, Nolan Ryan tells Evan Grant that it is just CJ being CJ. My take is this...I think it's fine for CJ to makes these comments so long as he can back in them up on the field.

The catching situation is also an interesting story.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia and my 2008 favorite RedHawk Taylor Teagarden are competing for the starting job, with the loser possibly heading to OKC.  Jarrod apparently showed up in camp in less than perfect shape, while Taylor is impressing early per TR Sullivan.  TR also notes that Toby Hall is likely to start in the minors as he needs more time to recover from surgery and get his throwing arm back.  The Rangers had tried to sign Jose Molina and Rod Barajas as catching support, but both elected to sign with other teams instead.  I suspect this will be one of the more interesting positions to watch this spring.

I think I already mentioned this, but the Rangers signed big league veteran Endy Chavez to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.  As of right now it is expected that he will start the year with the RedHawks where he will mentor our young outfield comprised of Brandon Boggs (recovering from shoulder surgery), Craig Gentry, and the one I am most excited about, Mitch Moreland.

Personal favorite and ex-Hawk Joaquin Benoit signed a minor league deal with the Rays, but has a real chance to make the big league club out of spring training.  Hank Blalock has still not signed with anyone.  It's starting to look like he may have to sign a minor league deal.  If he does, and he ends up in AAA, I hope its a team that plays here early so I can see him before he gets called up.



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