Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Notes: Leclerc loosening up; Trevino improving

@Sullivan_Ranger
February 15, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has a message for reliever José Leclerc: Stop caring so much. Woodward loves that Leclerc cares about the Rangers, his teammates and winning. He just wants Leclerc to stop being so hard on himself and beating himself up when things don’t go right.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has a message for reliever José Leclerc: Stop caring so much.

Woodward loves that Leclerc cares about the Rangers, his teammates and winning. He just wants Leclerc to stop being so hard on himself and beating himself up when things don’t go right.

“He cares almost too much,” Woodward said. “You can’t put too much pressure on your shoulders. There were times when he felt, ‘I can’t let my teammates down,’ as opposed to, ‘I’m going to pick my teammates up.’ There is a difference. Guys who care tend to think that way. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s something he has to deal with.

“It’s really hard for a guy who cares so much to say, ‘You know what? I can care, but I can also not care at times because of the results. I did everything I could. I executed my pitch and he hit it. So what? Move on.’ I am not going to value Leclerc any less if he blows a save or value him any more if he saves 18 in a row.”

Woodward said he saw things from Leclerc last year that fans and media members didn’t notice.

“Through his struggles, we had a lot of guys come up and down [from the Minors] -- he led that bullpen,” Woodward said. “He took that bullpen on his shoulders. The ultimate professional teammate. And then when he came out on the other end, he was pitching well, he was the same guy, didn’t change a thing. Actually, got more focused and locked in. Speaks a lot of who he is. Those guys don’t come around very often.”

Which is why Woodward still sees Leclerc as the Rangers' closer.

“He is,” Woodward said. “There is no conversation right now. Not in my eyes. He still has to go out and prove that, as does every closer. It’s such a tough job. But he’s an elite pitcher with an elite makeup. He has worked through some things that are going to make him better.”

Where’s Elvis?
Rangers position players report on Sunday with the first full-squad workout on Monday. Todd Frazier and Danny Santana were both in camp on Saturday, leaving Elvis Andrus as the only absent member of Texas' projected Opening Day lineup.

“It doesn’t matter,” Woodward said. “The first day, the energy he brings and the performance, then I will evaluate him. If guys want to come early, that’s great. They are not required to. I love [that] our younger guys are here early. If you’re trying to make our team, I would probably recommend you come in earlier so you can get some one-on-one time with our staff, just to integrate yourself with our system.”

He said it
“After my first year, I started to put a lot of pressure on myself and I wasn’t able to deal with it. That’s what helped me last year. I learned to play and not put pressure on myself.” -- Santana

Rangers beat
• No accident: The Rangers have rookie catcher Sam Huff’s locker right next to veteran backstop Jeff Mathis in the clubhouse.

• Hitting coach Luis Ortiz said that Jose Trevino is showing an improved ability to drive the ball with power. Trevino has shown in the past the ability to make consistent contact, but with a career slugging percentage of .396 at all professional levels, the Rangers would like to see him drive the ball more.

• Rangers pitchers will have one more bullpen session on Sunday. They’ll take Monday off and then start throwing live batting practice.

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.