Woodward weighs in on critics of Minor's feat

Rangers skipper: 'It's ridiculous. Mike has put too much time and effort'

September 27th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- First baseman let a foul popup drop on Thursday afternoon, and that allowed to get his 200th strikeout.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora wasn't happy about it, and the play was hotly debated on social media, but Rangers manager Chris Woodward declined to get upset about it.

"I said it last night, I didn't love the idea of dropping the popup," Woodward said. "But our team wasn't happy about some of the other stuff that went on. I'll leave it at that. I know that team plays hard, I know our team plays hard, all year."

The play in question took place in the ninth inning. Minor, holding a 7-5 lead, had eight strikeouts in the game and 199 for the season through seven innings. He went out for the eighth with 117 pitches, and the Red Sox went down in order with three straight hitters out on the first pitch.

That didn't sit well with the Rangers, and Woodward sent Minor out for the ninth. He retired Sandy Leon on a fly ball and then went 1-1 on Chris Owings. On the next pitch, Owings hit a high foul popup just to the right of home plate. Both catcher Jose Trevino and Guzmán had a chance to catch the ball.

Guzmán was the one who let it drop, prolonging the at-bat. Minor struck out Owings looking on the next pitch.

"I'm not going to let maybe one split-second decision for our players to be defined a certain way," Woodward said. "It's not fair. We played too hard, we worked too hard, we put too much time and effort into every day. Mike has worked hard to have anybody say there should be an asterisk next to his accomplishments. It's ridiculous. Mike has put too much time and effort and had a successful season for that to be the case."

Cora pointed out the Rangers shouldn't be upset about the Red Sox swinging on the first pitch in the eighth inning. Both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Owings hit first-pitch home runs off Minor in the seventh.

"So you think that's fine because a couple of guys got first-pitch homers, everybody swing first pitch?" Minor said. "That's a good game plan. Go up there guys, if you swing first pitch, you might get a hit."

Rangers Minor League awards
The Rangers announced their five Minor League award winners on Friday.

Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year: First baseman Curtis Terry
He split time between Class A Hickory and Class A Advanced Down East and finished at .293/.362/.537 over 129 games. He hit 25 home runs with 80 RBIs. Terry was a 13th-round pick out of Archer (Ga.) High School in 2015.

Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year: Right-hander Jason Bahr
He made 23 starts between Down East and Double-A Frisco. He finished 10-4 with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He also averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. The Rangers acquired him from the Giants on July 8, 2018.

Minor League Reliever of the Year: Right-hander Demarcus Evans
Evans was 6-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 47 games between Down East and Frisco. He averaged 15 strikeouts per nine innings. Evans was a 25th-round pick in 2015 out of Petal (Miss.) High School.

Minor League Defender of the Year: Catcher Matt Whatley
He was honored for his work at Hickory, throwing out 37.1% of attempted basestealers. Whatley was a third-round pick out of Oral Roberts in 2017.

True Rangers Award: Left-hander James Jones
Jones has changed his career after switching from an outfielder. He was a Texas League All-Star in his second full season as a pitcher. This is a new award for a player who represents the core values of the organization on and off the field.

Rangers beat
hit his second grand slam of the season on Thursday and is the first Rangers switch-hitter to do so from each side of the plate.

stole his 300th base on Thursday. He is only the fourth active player with at least 300 stolen bases. The others are Rajai Davis (414) with the Mets, Jacoby Ellsbury (343) of the Yankees and Dee Gordon (330) of the Mariners.

• With four more stolen bases on Thursday, the Rangers have 122 for the season going into Friday's games. That's the most in the Major Leagues. The Rangers haven't led the Majors in stolen bases since 1972.