Dahl determined to rebound with Rangers
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When David Dahl was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies in December, he felt a bit slighted. A National League All-Star in 2019, Dahl felt like the struggling '20 season shouldn’t define him as a player. He’s coming to Texas to prove his All-Star season wasn’t an outlier.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said they were more than happy to find out he was a free agent and make a play at signing him. Dahl took that as an opportunity to reestablish himself with a chip on his shoulder this upcoming season.
“I was definitely surprised [Colorado non-tendered him], but at the end of the day I'm excited for this new opportunity,” Dahl said. “I think anytime a team kind of gives up on you like that, it adds a little more motivation and more fuel to the fire, but I have no hard feelings or anything like that. I'm excited to be here and excited for this new chapter.”
Dahl has experience at all three outfield positions, but has spent 131 Major League games in left field. He said he’s comfortable playing all three positions if necessary. The Rangers expect Dahl to compete and fill in left, with Joey Gallo holding down right field and Leody Taveras hopefully proving himself as the starting center fielder this spring.
Woodward has said the combined outfield of Dahl-Taveras-Gallo will be the Rangers’ best defensive option if all three bats are up to par.
Dahl batted .302/.353/.524 in 2019, which dropped to .183/.222/.247 through just 24 games of the shortened season due to lower back soreness and a right shoulder strain. He had surgery to clean up his shoulder in the offseason and is still working through his throwing progressions.
Woodward said Dahl likely wouldn’t be able to throw fully until mid-March, though he was in Monday’s starting lineup against the Giants at designated hitter, where he went 0-for-1 at the plate with a walk.
“I'm getting really close right now,” Dahl said Monday. “Today is a long-toss day and throwing to the bases. I think the progressions are going really well.
“Early [at the plate] I’m just kind of getting into the groove of things again and get the timing down, Seeing where my swing is at and adjusting from there. I just got to make sure my shoulder is good, which it will be, and get back into playing.”
This year's Rangers team is full of players looking to prove themselves, both young guys looking to make the roster and veterans hoping to return to form. Dahl said because of that, he thinks they can all help each other out. Everybody’s hungry to show how good they can be.
Of the position players on the 40-man roster, Dahl at 26 years old is only younger than Khris Davis (33), Gallo (27) and Rougned Odor (27). Ronald Guzmán is also 26. And while the organization has been upfront about this season being a rebuilding effort for them, Dahl expects to go out and compete.
“I’m just really just trying to come in and play and help the team win,” Dahl said. “Just getting the at-bats to establish myself again, and know I'm a good player. It's kind of weird being one of the older position players on the team, I guess you could say. I'm not used to that, but I'm just trying to help guys, however I can, whether that's being vocal or leading by example or just going out there and trying to just play hard.
“Anyone can beat anyone on any given day; that's why you play the game. On paper, other teams might match up better or something, but at the end of the day you’ve got to play and compete.”