Rangers hit pause on Mendez in Majors

June 22nd, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rangers left-hander was going to be given a chance to pitch in a Major League rotation. That is no longer the case.

The Rangers announced on Friday that Mendez has been assigned to Class A Advanced Down East in the Carolina League. The move comes after Mendez -- the Rangers' No. 7 ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- was scratched from a start on Wednesday against the Royals for a late-night violation of team rules.

"We have set forth a plan for him," Rangers assistant general manager Jayce Tingler said. "It's important to know this is all about Yohander, getting back to basics, building a foundation and how he approaches his craft … build a good routine on and off the field and put an emphasis on focusing on everything he does."

Tingler said the plan is all-encompassing, from mechanics and delivery on the field, weight training and conditioning, preparing for a game and handling himself better off the field. Roy Silver, who works for the Rangers as a special assistant and has been closely involved with Matt Bush, will spend time with Mendez on certain mental and lifestyle issues. Tingler made it clear that this was not a substance-abuse issue.

Tingler compared the plan to one used with Edison Volquez early in his career. After pitching for the Rangers in 2005 and '06, Volquez almost started over in 2007 by starting out at Class A Advanced Bakersfield and working his way back up through Double and Triple A.

"Down East is not a punishment," Tingler said. "It is a place where he can focus on the job and eliminate the noise. We were preparing for him to start on Wednesday, but the organization decided he was not prepared to start on Wednesday. Now, it's getting back to some simplicity, a little more focus on building a real foundation on and off the field. There are a lot of components to this and we have wide range of people and resources to do this."

The Rangers decision to put Mendez in the rotation was curious to begin with. He was 0-6 with a 5.26 ERA in 10 starts at Round Rock. It was almost as if the Rangers were hoping a big league challenge would bring out the best in Mendez. Instead, it exposed the notion that Mendez has a lot of work ahead of him.

"This is the ultimate place to let you know what is missing from a player's foundation," manager Jeff Banister said. "We always felt there was more in there. We challenged him bringing him to the big leagues. We had a need. This is a talented guy. He has the skill set to be a Major League pitcher."

Perez set for rehab

Left-hander , on the disabled list because of nerve irritation in his right arm, is scheduled to pitch for Class A Hickory on Monday. Banister said Perez will pitch at least three innings in his first start on medical rehabilitation assignment.

Perez has not pitched for the Rangers since April 29. Starting him at Hickory in the South Atlantic League is a strong sign the Rangers do not want to rush Perez back. He will gradually move back by pitching at Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock before returning to the Major Leagues. That will likely be after the All-Star break.

Rangers beat

• Right-hander Alex Speas, the No. 22 prospect in the Rangers system, is scheduled to undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on Monday. He was a second-round pick for the Rangers in 2016 and was 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 20 games at Hickory.

• The Rangers have promoted left-handed reliever C.D. Pelham to Frisco from Down East. Pelham, a 33rd-round pick in 2016 who can hit 99 mph with his fastball, was dominating the Carolina League. He had a 1.95 ERA and had struck out 34 batters in 27 2/3 innings. Tingler said he still needs to work on his slider and other things, but Pelham is coming fast through the system.

• Right-handed starter Edgar Arredondo was also promoted from Down East to Frisco. He was 5-2 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 11 starts.

• Left-hander , who had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery 14 months ago, is scheduled to make his first start on Sunday for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers. He is the No. 12 prospect in the Rangers system.