García, Rodríguez giving Rangers an 'edge'

April 21st, 2021

Two recent additions to Texas’ active roster -- outfielder and left-handed pitcher -- have provided a spark in the clubhouse and on the field, even if it did take injuries to others to get there.

Rodríguez, who was recently activated from the 10-day injured list, has been a much needed piece of a Texas bullpen that has been marred by injuries since Spring Training.

Rodríguez was recovering from an ankle sprain that he suffered in the offseason and worsened during the early weeks of Spring Training. In his first regular-season outing, he gave up two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning in the Rangers' loss to the Orioles on Saturday. But he bounced back in the win over the Angels on Monday, pitching a perfect inning and striking out Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in one inning.

Rodríguez said he doesn’t really think about anything when he takes the mound in those high-leverage situations except putting zeros on the board and battling with the hitters.

“He is so valuable for so many reasons,” said manager Chris Woodward. “Obviously, he's filthy and absolutely nasty with this stuff. And when he's right, it doesn't matter if it's a right-hand or left-hand, nobody's going to touch him. Honestly, his energy, just from a cultural standpoint, the guy's nonstop positive.

“He brings and creates, I guess, a bond down in that bullpen that is hard to find. It's hard to find guys that make that much of an impact on the people around them, and he's obviously an extremely impactful guy on the mound.”

With so many injuries to the bullpen, Rodríguez wants to do everything that he can to help the team be successful.

“I never even think about the pressure or anything,” Rodríguez said. “... I’m not even listening to the noise in the stadium, the fans. I just try to do my work and get out of there as soon as possible.”

García’s impact has been clearly tangible in the Rangers’ win total and in the energy he brings into the clubhouse every day.

Since his callup following Ronald Guzmán's knee injury, García has hit two home runs -- including a go-ahead two-run shot in the series finale against Tampa Bay on Thursday -- and he robbed a home run from Ohtani in the series opener against the Angels on Monday. Heading into Tuesday’s game, García had already compiled two outs above average in his seven starts, tied for most among MLB outfielders.

García said he worked on shortening his swing this offseason, attempting to hit to all fields. Woodward said a lot of those adjustments have been mental, though, as García gained more confidence and began to show a sense of calmness in the box.

“I think that the spring he had, you could just see he carried himself a little differently,” Woodward said. “There was no stress there. He could battle, and it was a cool feeling to see a player when they get like that.”

García said he just played with enthusiasm every single day. Woodward said he thinks every roster out there needs somebody who brings the type of energy that García brings to the Rangers.

It’s not fake, either, Woodward said. García’s entire vibe is about loving the team and working hard to help them win. It’s something the entire club can feed off.

“The joy with which this guy plays every day and carries himself, and if you guys walk around him in the clubhouse, you'd see the same thing. This guy loves to be here,” Woodward said. “But he also has a little edge to him when he plays. It's not a happy go lucky. It's like no, we're coming to beat you. I think that that is probably the most important aspect of all this -- that he brings definitely a significant edge to our ballclub.”