Rangers second baseman Nick Solak watched the Showtime series “Dexter” during the past offseason after manager Chris Woodward told Solak that he reminded him of the show’s title character. And while Solak is obviously not a serial killer like Dexter, he sees the comparison in mindset between himself and the character.
“I think I’m Dexter's character, from a mental standpoint, in baseball” Solak said. “The way they separate his lives, there's interesting, weird parallels between the show and going out and competing on the field and blocking out things. I liked the show a lot, so it was good to watch.”
Woodward joked that Solak looks a bit like a serial killer when he's on the field. But all great athletes are a little bit weird and intense, Woodward said, and he’s seen that competitiveness in Solak.
“He's got this crazy look in his eye when he plays, I think,” Woodward said. “He’s just a competitor. He doesn't take a pitch off, and that’s what we love. When he gets in games, he's different. That's what I feel like makes him a special part of our culture. This kid is as relentless of a competitor I've ever been around.”
Woodward has especially liked how Solak has driven himself after a slow start to the season.
Solak opened 2021 by going just 2-for-14 through four games. Entering Friday, he’s 10-for-34 (.294) since then, with two home runs. He said early in the season that he felt like he was trying to force things at the plate. After conversations with Woodward and the hitting staff resonated with Solak and made him loosen up, he has started letting the game come to him instead of trying too hard to make things happen.
“When he figures it out with his timing and is synced up, that's when he kind of starts rifling balls all over the place,” Woodward said. “I don't know if it's a confidence thing or just his body syncs up, but when he starts feeling good, balls come off his bat really, really hard. When he starts getting locked in and gets right, that's when he starts doing some damage.”
Rodríguez posted a 2.13 ERA and 1.026 WHIP over 12 relief appearances for the Rangers in 2020, his first season with the club.
• Willie Calhoun can be activated from the injured list as soon as Saturday. Woodward said the outfielder is headed to Arlington from the alternate training site at Round Rock. Calhoun suffered a groin strain in Spring Training.