Notes: Allen to face hitters; Kiner-Falefa raking

March 3rd, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever Cody Allen is scheduled to face hitters in a simulated game on Tuesday morning in Surprise. It will be his first time facing hitters in a week, after being shut down with forearm and elbow stiffness.

His only Cactus League outing was last Tuesday against the Royals, when he allowed three runs in an inning of work.

“The elbow was barking pretty good after that last game,” Allen said. “We’re playing it slow. It’s still early. A simulated game tomorrow. It’s feeling pretty good, so hopefully we still have a good amount of time left.”

The Rangers have three weeks to go before their final exhibition game against the Cardinals on March 23 in Arlington. That should give Allen enough time to be ready. But he is also in camp on a Minor League contract after going 0-2 with a 6.26 ERA in 25 games for the Angels last season. The Rangers are eager to see the right-hander, who was a premier closer for the Indians from 2013-17, when he had a 2.59 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 122 saves.

“Obviously you don’t want to fall behind, but you can’t make the team hurt,” Allen said.

“You don’t want to have any setbacks when you are trying to make the team,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Give yourself every chance possible. I don’t think it will kill him. We kind of know who he is. It’s not like he’s a young guy. He doesn’t have to prove it as much as other guys, as long as the stuff is there. But nobody wants to miss time in Spring Training, especially if you are trying to make the team.”

Kiner-Falefa turns it on

, who is trying to make the Opening Day roster as a utility infielder, began the Cactus League by going 0-for-11. He is 5-for-9 with two home runs since then.

“Early in camp he was putting a lot of pressure on himself,” Woodward said. “It was like, ‘Hey man, you do all that work in the offseason, it’s time to let it fly.’ He made the adjustment on his own. It’s fun to watch when guys put that much dedication and work in, and it shows up in Spring Training.

“First couple of games he was putting way too much pressure on himself. ‘I gotta get a hit every time, I’ve got to make the team.’ I finally told him, ‘Don’t worry about making the team. Let all that work show up’ and he did.”

Exchange of Freemans

Two brothers in the Minor Leagues got a chance to play against each other in the Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Indians on Monday. It was courtesy of Woodward.

Infielder Cody Freeman was the Rangers' fourth round pick last summer out of Etiwanda Rancho Cucamonga (Ca.) High School. Older brother Tyler, also an infielder, was taken by the Indians in the second round in 2017.

Neither are in Major League camp, but Woodward played with their father Greg at Covina Northview (Ca.) High and has known the two brothers since they were little. The two brothers exchanged lineup cards at home plate before the game and played in the final innings.

Cody grounded out to Tyler at shortstop in the seventh. Tyler then made the final out of the game by popping out to Cody at second base in the ninth.

He said it

“I wasn’t expecting it. The night before I was actually talking to a buddy of mine about Nomar Mazara getting traded. Then I woke up and I was all excited because the Rangers had acquired Corey Kluber. That was the first thing that I saw. And then I saw I had a couple of missed calls from my agent and (Jon Daniels) and I was like ah (shucks)…I knew right then I was a part of it.”

--Outfielder Delino DeShields, on finding out he had been traded from the Rangers to the Indians.

Rangers beat

• Woodward on right-hander Kyle Gibson’s two scoreless innings against the Indians on Monday: “That looked good. I look up at the velo and it was 94-95. Stuff looked good, slider looked good. The body looked good. Came out of it great. Very encouraging.”

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos, who has been sidelined with a strained right hamstring muscle, saw his first Cactus League action as designated hitter on Monday. He went 2-for-2. He is scheduled to start behind the plate on Friday against the Padres.

• Minor League catcher Matt Whatley underwent an appendectomy procedure on Sunday night and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks. Whatley was a third-round pick by the Rangers in 2017, who spent last season at Class A Hickory.

• Former Rangers pitcher Tony Barnette, who retired this winter, was at the game on Monday. He has been hired on as a special advisor to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. He spent six years in Japan pitching for the Swallows.