Notes: Kluber settling in; Rangers make cuts

March 7th, 2020

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Two spring starts into his Rangers career, is feeling right at home.

After pitching for the Indians for nine seasons, the 33-year-old right-hander wasn’t sure what it would be like to put on a different uniform and have a completely different group of defenders behind him. But Kluber has looked comfortable so far, as he tossed four innings of one-run ball in the Rangers' 4-3 loss to the Padres on Friday night at Peoria Ballpark.

“It’s been a really easy transition for me, easier than I anticipated it being,” Kluber said. “Maybe I psyched myself out and thought it was going to be more different than it is. But I think that the quality of the group of guys makes it easier.”

This past Sunday, Kluber shook off the rust in his first Cactus League start vs. the Dodgers, which marked the first time he faced big league hitters in a game since breaking his right forearm last May 1. It also marked the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner’s first outing since being traded to Texas on Dec. 15.

Kluber started strong this time out, as he didn’t allow a hit through three innings while working around a pair of walks. In the fourth, he gave up a leadoff double to Tommy Pham, who later scored on an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly.

After allowing a two-out single to Jurickson Profar, Kluber got Wil Myers to fly out to end his outing, which featured a pair of strikeouts.

Like his first start, Kluber wasn’t working on a particular pitch and didn’t have any mechanics-related goals. Don’t expect that to change the rest of spring, either.

“I want to try to go out there and kind of get in the mode of competing and trying to get guys out,” Kluber said. “I like to go out there and use my pitches like I normally would in a game.”

Rangers make first cuts of spring
The Rangers made 12 cuts from big league camp on Friday afternoon.

Right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Nashville, while righties and (the Rangers’ No. 24 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) and shortstop (No. 8) were optioned to Double-A Frisco.

The following players were reassigned to Minor League camp: right-handers Jason Bahr, Tim Dillard, Ian Gibaut, Taylor Guerrieri, Wei-Chieh Huang and Arturo Reyes, lefty Kyle Bird and catcher (Texas’ No. 2 prospect and No. 74 in all of MLB).

Huff impressed during his time in big league camp, although he went 1-for-12 with a homer in six Cactus League games.

Tejeda proved he is healthy after being limited to 43 games for Class A Advanced Down East last year due to a left shoulder subluxation that he sustained while sliding into a base.

Cody showed he is recovering well from Tommy John surgery, although his innings will be limited this season.

Rangers beat
• Guerrieri is dealing with neck stiffness, which contributed to his inclusion among the Rangers’ first cuts, according to Woodward.

“He just threw for the first time [Thursday],” Woodward said. “He probably won’t get into a game for another week. So that’s probably the biggest thing, we want to make sure he’s healthy.”

Prior to the neck issue, Guerrieri made one Cactus League appearance, allowing one run in one inning vs. the Royals on Feb. 21.

• With the Rangers opening the season with a four-game series in Seattle starting March 26, then having an off-day on March 30 before their home opener the following day, Woodward said it’s possible that the team’s Opening Day starter (which is still undecided) could return to the mound for the home opener.

“That would probably be the likeliest case,” Woodward said. “That’s obviously not set in stone just yet. We’ve got to make sure that our five guys are healthy as we get closer to the season.”

The skipper added that the Rangers should be making decisions soon. Texas wouldn’t need to utilize a fifth starter until April 3, if it chooses to do so.

He said it
“In this clubhouse, it’s open mic. Anybody can say anything, whether you have no days in Triple-A or you are a 10-year veteran. That’s the way it is on good teams.” -- right-hander Jesse Chavez, on the Rangers’ team atmosphere

Up next
Right-hander Kyle Gibson makes his second spring start when the Rangers travel to face the Brewers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CT at American Family Fields of Phoenix. Gibson had a strong Cactus League debut for Texas on Monday, tossing two scoreless innings and allowing only one hit against the Indians. Righties Chavez and Luke Farrell and lefties Taylor Hearn and Joely Rodríguez are also scheduled to pitch. Fans can watch the game live on MLB.TV or listen live on Gameday Audio.