Lowe welcomes 'spirited competition' at 1B

March 4th, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Getting used to a new Spring Training clubhouse is always one of the road bumps for players who changed teams in the offseason. It’s a little more difficult for first baseman , whom the Rangers acquired from Tampa Bay in a six-player trade in December, with COVID-19 protocols limiting interactions across the organization.

The Rangers’ young clubhouse makes it a bit easier for the 25-year-old to get his footing. It’s different, but he’s adjusting well, Lowe said.

“It's wild,” Lowe said. “Not having meetings as a team or somebody telling a joke at the beginning or telling a story to get the guys going before a day of work is a little different. But, you know, we're making it efficient in our own way and trying to be around as many teammates from a safe distance as possible.”

The Rangers got Lowe with the idea that he would be the starting first baseman. But he and have been formidable competition for each other this spring. Lowe has almost exclusively played first base, while Guzmán has put in work in the outfield to give himself more versatility.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said that Guzmán playing in the outfield was something that progressed more quickly than expected.

Lowe got his second start of the spring at first base in the Rangers’ 6-2 loss to the Angels. Through two games for each player, Lowe is hitting .250 and Guzmán .600 with a home run.

“It could be a spirited competition,” Lowe said. “He’s a great player, man. He's been doing it for a little while now and obviously had a successful winter. And, of course, that's going to push me to play better and obviously help the team win more games. Having better players play better is great for competition and great for the team overall.”

Woodward said it’s hard to fully judge Lowe through two games, but he likes the adjustability, speed and consistency of his swing.

“There's a calmness about him,” Woodward said about Lowe. “He doesn't get too high or too low. He just kind of goes through every day. There's some intensity in the batter's box, but overall just his attitude has been great.”

If both Lowe and Guzmán continue to hit consistently, and the competition at designated hitter between and continues to heat up, the Rangers will have a lot of bats to choose from.

Woodward established with the team that this year would be a “dogfight” and they’re seeing that every day in Spring Training.

“It's about the total package,” Woodward said. “Performance, in my opinion, is based on a lot of different things, and, obviously, being productive in games is really important, but [so is] everything that they're doing, how they're growing. It's going to be awesome to witness.”

Prospect shows his power
, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Rangers’ No. 13 prospect, started Wednesday’s game in right field, but what he did at the plate is what mattered. He hit an opposite-field home run over the left-field wall to give Texas a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

Walker, a 2018 second-round Draft pick out of the University of Oklahoma, was acquired by the Rangers in the Nomar Mazara trade with the White Sox. This is his first big league Spring Training.

Walker is a career .265 hitter in the Minors but hasn’t played above Class A Advanced yet. He likely won’t be called up this season, but the Rangers have emphasized the importance of getting looks at the young players in the organization after the 2020 season blurred lines with prospects toeing the edge.