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'A great advantage': Texas rotation ready to roll

@Sullivan_Ranger
July 1, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' first official workout is on Friday, but their pitchers are already pushing to be ready for Opening Day. Right-hander Lance Lynn, who has already been announced as the Opening Day starter, is scheduled to have a four-inning/65-pitch simulated game on Thursday at Globe Life Field. Lynn

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' first official workout is on Friday, but their pitchers are already pushing to be ready for Opening Day.

Right-hander Lance Lynn, who has already been announced as the Opening Day starter, is scheduled to have a four-inning/65-pitch simulated game on Thursday at Globe Life Field. Lynn has gone as far as five innings and 80 pitches at his home in Nashville, Tenn., before arriving in Texas.

“He did it twice when he was at home,” pitching coach Julio Rangel said in a conference call on Wednesday. “He did it three times up to four innings, so he is already kind of built up.”

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The Rangers expect left-hander Mike Minor and right-handers Corey Kluber and Kyle Gibson to be right there with him. Jordan Lyles should be too, although he lives in Colorado and didn’t have as many throwing opportunities as the other starters during the three-plus-month shutdown.

Overall, the Rangers' projected five starters appear to be in good position for the three-week Summer Camp.

“I think it's a great advantage,” Rangel said. “Just having that luxury that the guys are actually ready to go. And I don't have to worry about if everything goes well, of course. I don't have to worry about the pitching count -- like, 'Hey, I'm going to keep this guy at 75 pitches,' and things of that nature. It makes a big difference for us, obviously.”

Other pitching notes:

• Right-handers Edinson Vólquez and Juan Nicasio have not yet been placed on the 60-man roster, but they were scheduled to fly into Texas on Wednesday. They and a few others still have to go through intake testing but otherwise should be ready to go.

• Left-handers Kolby Allard and Joe Palumbo are both following the same plan as the projected five starters. They are expected to be the Rangers' first line of defense against rotation injuries.

• Left-hander Taylor Hearn and right-handers Jonathan Hernández and Luke Farrell will be built up to three innings each. That gives them the flexibility to be multi-inning middle relievers or spot starters if needed. Hernandez spent the shutdown in New York and didn’t have the same throwing opportunity as the other two, but he should catch up quickly, Rangel said.

• Rangel confirmed right-hander Jesse Chavez is good to go. He was slow to recover from offseason elbow surgery and had some weakness in his right shoulder in Spring Training. That is no longer the case.

“I’ve seen him throw two bullpens here, and he looked good,” Rangel said. “I was very impressed with the way the ball was coming out of his hand. A lot of life on his pitches, so I’m excited.”

• Left-hander Joely Rodríguez is the only pitcher dealing with a physical issue. He is sidelined with a strained lat muscle but is still able to play catch every day. Said Rangel, “He is going through his throwing progression and looks really good.”

• Veteran right-hander Cody Allen, who lives in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, had an elbow issue in Spring Training but has been throwing at Globe Life Field and is at full strength. He has the most experience in the closer’s role of any Rangers pitcher, and there was some talk in Spring Training about winning that role. That doesn’t appear to be a priority right now.

“He is coming into camp to compete,” Rangel said. “That’s the way I see it. Obviously he has a lot of experience and has closed in the past. The goal for him is to make the team and come in and compete. He seems like he is in a really good spot.”

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.