With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Rangers squad each day this week. Today's topic: Spring Training is here.ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Jake Diekman is expected to miss at least the first half of the season while recovering from ulcerative
With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Rangers squad each day this week. Today's topic: Spring Training is here.
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Jake Diekman is expected to miss at least the first half of the season while recovering from ulcerative colitis surgery, but he is still coming to Spring Training.
"He has been upbeat through this whole ordeal," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He is not going to be a participant, but he wanted to be there and be among his teammates, and do whatever he can."
:: Spring Training 2017 preview ::
This is the time of year where everybody is eager to get to Spring Training, if they are not already there. Diekman is one of 58 players expected in camp this spring, with pitchers and catchers who are playing in the World Baseball Classic reporting on Tuesday.
This is the 15th season for the Rangers in Surprise, Ariz., on the 132-acre training facility they share with the Royals.
Diekman and Prince Fielder are the only players who will not go through workouts. Fielder, who essentially retired last summer, is not expected to be in camp and will be placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Mike Napoli.
The Rangers will have a few players limited at the beginning of Spring Training. Tyson Ross will be behind other pitchers while he completes his recovery from shoulder surgery and shortstop Elvis Andrus will take it slow while he finishes recovering from offseason surgery to fix a sports hernia.
The Rangers will also be carefully monitoring outfielder Josh Hamilton (knee surgery), pitcher Dillon Gee (shoulder), catcher Brett Hayes (elbow) and pitcher Tyler Wagner, who did not pitch past May 13 last season because of a strained muscle in his right side.
But for the most part, the Rangers are ready to go.
Pitchers and catchers report: Tuesday
Position players report: Feb. 20
First Cactus League game: Home vs. Royals on Feb. 25 at 1:05 p.m. CT
New faces: Ross and pitcher Andrew Cashner were the big acquisitions this winter. They are expected to help fill the back end of the rotation, although Ross will likely start the season on the disabled list while finishing his recovery. The Rangers are also expected to announce the signing of first baseman Napoli, although he is hardly a new face. He played for the Rangers in 2011-12 and again in '15. Right-hander Mike Hauschild is in camp as a Rule 5 Draft pick.
Interesting non-roster invitees: Obviously the list starts with Hamilton, who missed all of last season but is fully recovered from three knee operations. First baseman James Loney, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and outfielder Travis Snider are two proven veterans who could help the team as reserves and possibly in the DH spot. Right-hander Gee and left-hander Wesley Wright are also established veterans looking for roles. Pitcher Carl Webster and outfielder Cesar Puello are former top prospects who are trying to re-establish themselves. Outfielder Jared Hoying is back again trying to win a spot on the bench.
Prospects to watch: The Rangers are not expected to have any rookies make the Opening Day roster, but it still should be interesting to watch pitchers Yohander Mendez, Ariel Jurado and Connor Sadzeck, catcher Jose Trevino, first baseman Ronald Guzman and outfielder Drew Robinson.
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.