Cody to make first Major League start vs. M's

September 3rd, 2020

The initial days after a Trade Deadline can be daunting for a young prospect looking to get his first real shot in the big leagues. For every veteran who is dealt, there’s someone younger and less experienced waiting in the shadows for a chance to fill a vacancy.

Right-hander fits that description for the Rangers, who will watch the rookie pitcher closely in the final month of the season while they formulate their plan for 2021. Cody will replace the recently traded Mike Minor in the rotation, and he’ll make his first Major League start Friday at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 p.m. CT.

After two very trying years spent working his way back from Tommy John surgery, things are suddenly happening very quickly for the 26-year-old Cody.

“It's been pretty surreal, to be honest,” Cody said before the Rangers' series finale in Houston on Thursday. “It wasn't really expected this year. I've been pretty grateful for the dominoes falling into place. It’s just been a pretty amazing experience so far.”

The start will mark his fourth appearance for the Rangers. He has provided 4 1/3 scoreless innings across three relief appearances, with opponents batting .077 (1-for-13) against him.

Those outings turned out to be warmups for a much larger assignment. When Cody takes the mound Friday, it’ll be his first start in organized baseball since July 10, 2018, when he made a start while on a rehab assignment for the Rookie-level Arizona League Rangers. Soon after, he elected to have Tommy John surgery.

It’s a big deal for any Major League pitcher when he makes that first start, but this may be a little more emotional for Cody, after he spent the better part of two years separated from normal baseball life while living in a rehab bubble in Arizona -- a process that’s beneficial, but also isolating.

“It was honestly really hard at first,” Cody said. “Being away from your normal teammates and your normal life, being on the road and what not. It's something that took me a lot of time to get used to.”

The hope is that he will spend this season acclimating to a big league rotation that has openings and opportunities. Cody, who threw 39 pitches in his last outing, will be on a loose limit of around three innings or 40-50 pitches.

His Major League debut and starting pitching debut will have come against the same team: Seattle. Cody struck out all three Mariners batters he faced in the eighth inning on Aug. 21.

Woodward backs Gallo
A 60-game season provided extra intrigue, given each contest counts translates to about 2.7 games-worth over the course of the normal 162-game season. But that frenetic pace can also be a bear for a slumping hitter, who lacks a safety net with so little time to work out of whatever is troubling him.

Joey Gallo, for example, has had a rough go so far this year. Many forecasted 2020 as a breakout season for the All-Star outfielder, but in August, he slashed .171/.333/.390 with five homers and 11 RBIs.

Still, manager Chris Woodward relayed his confidence in Gallo.

“We expect a lot of things out of him, and the hardest thing for a younger player -- especially that he had success last year -- is short, small sample [size to make] it seem worse than it is,” Woodward said. “I mean, we'd only be in May right now. It's hard to put a real panic factor on it.”

Woodward said he’s watched Gallo’s daily routine in the cages and on the field, and he feels that the outfielder could turn a corner soon.

“Once he gets going, hopefully he’ll have some more success,” Woodward said. “Maybe a couple of weeks of success at the end of the year would really help him out.”

Really (really) glad to see you
No one was really sure which way the Rangers would lean at the Trade Deadline, but count Woodward as one of many inside the clubhouse who were happy that Lance Lynn wasn’t dealt.

Lynn’s name surfaced in almost every rumor that involved a contending team. It made for a slightly comical scene when the Aug. 31 Deadline finally passed.

“It was more of a joking conversation like, ‘Hey, man, you're still here,’” Woodward said of his initial exchange with Lynn. “We had so much dialogue before that. It was just a relief for both of us that he was still here.”

Woodward wasn’t worried about Lynn’s reaction to the uncertainty that swirled around him; veterans are used to this side of the industry and understand it’s just part of the larger picture. But the manager did check on Gallo, whose name also popped up quite a bit on the rumor mill as the days whittled down.

"[Lynn’s] older, he's been around. I'm not worried about him,” Woodward said. “It was more of the younger guys, maybe Joey, guys like that, just making sure their mental state was OK afterwards.”