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WakWay providing free food markets in Phoenix

Woodward prepping to welcome full squad; Gallo practicing taking pitches
February 17, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu is in charge of running Spring Training for manager Chris Woodward and making sure the daily schedule runs smoothly.Wakamatsu's WakWay Foundation will also be busy in Spring Training. Every Saturday morning, the foundation will partner with the Giumarra Companies and with the

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu is in charge of running Spring Training for manager Chris Woodward and making sure the daily schedule runs smoothly.
Wakamatsu's WakWay Foundation will also be busy in Spring Training. Every Saturday morning, the foundation will partner with the Giumarra Companies and with the support of a grant from Albertsons/Safeway to hold free community markets at five locations in the Greater Phoenix area.
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Giumarra Companies, a worldwide leader in growing and distributing fresh food, is supplying 280,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to be given away in "food desert" communities in the Valley. Local community outreach and civic groups, including the FFA and the USO, will help distribute the food.
"Our passion when we started the foundation was inner-city sustainable nutritious food," Wakamatsu said. "This whole path with WakWay has been phenomenal, because we keep getting partners from all over the place."
The first event is scheduled next Saturday in the Maryvale neighborhood on the west side of Phoenix, beginning at 12 p.m. MST.
Woodward ready to welcome full squad
The Rangers' first full-squad workout will be on Monday, and it will be preceded by a team meeting. Woodward has spent the offseason talking with players individually and in small groups -- including last month's mini-camp in West Dallas -- but this will be his first address to the entire squad.
"I want to make it as impactful as possible and set the standards and expectations from Day 1," Woodward said. "I have been going back and forth on what I want to say. I want to make sure it is genuine. I'm not trying to be Bill Belichick."
It will also be his first day as a Major League manager in front of his full team.
"It is going to be a special day," Woodward said. "I want to make sure I enjoy it."

Gallo practicing taking pitches
Rangers hitting coach Luis Ortiz does many drills with players, and one is throwing underhand or "soft-toss" pitching, so hitters can get their swings down. But Ortiz is taking a different approach, especially with Joey Gallo.
Soft-toss pitching normally means one strike after another down the middle. But Ortiz is throwing every pitch out of the strike zone and forcing Gallo to take the pitch.
"It's challenging them to use their brains while they are swinging," Woodward said. "It is pretty staggering to me. Half the pitches we see are balls, but we never train for them."
Colt couple
Last year, reliever Chris Martin became the first graduate of Arlington High School to play for the Rangers. He could be joined by Hunter Pence, who graduated from Arlington High in 2001 -- three years ahead of Martin. The both played for Colts head coach David Nix, who is in his 19th season.
"It's awesome," Martin said. "Facebook has been blowing up."

Pence was not drafted out of high school. He didn't get serious attention from scouts until after playing at UT-Arlington from 2003-04. Martin, after his senior year in high school, attended the same Rangers Draft tryout as Pence at Globe Life Field in '04.
"I was in awe," Martin said. "He was hitting balls off the back walls and the Jack Daniels Club [beyond left field]. He is a good dude. Intense. He loves baseball. I love baseball but he loves baseball."
Rangers beat 
• Rangers position players officially reported on Sunday, but most of them have been already working out in camp. Woodward made sure they took Sunday off to be ready for the first workout.
Edinson Vólquez, coming back from Tommy John surgery, had a second strong bullpen session on Sunday. Drew Smyly and Shelby Miller are scheduled to throw on Monday.

• Right-hander Connor Sadzeck, who is out of options, threw in the bullpen on Sunday while Rule 5 Draft pick Jason Romano, another right-handed relief candidate, is scheduled for Monday. Both will have to make the team, but the Rangers also know they could lose the pair if neither makes the Opening Day roster. Both would have to go through waivers, and Romano would have to be offered back to the Blue Jays.
"You've just got to make sure you give them every opportunity possible," Woodward said. "At the end, you have to make a decision. Unfortunately, we could lose them. From our standpoint, that's where it gets tough."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.