Pence's unique 'nickname' for Players' Weekend

August 6th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- had no idea what he wanted to put on the back of his jersey for this year’s Players’ Weekend. So instead of trying to force something, the nickname-less Pence decided to do what anyone with a smartphone does.

Express himself using emojis.

When Pence takes the field for the Rangers’ series against the White Sox from Aug. 23-25, the normal spot for his last name will be replaced with ‾(ツ)/‾, a tangible nod to his inability to pick a nickname.

“It felt like the right thing,” Pence said. “I don’t really have a nickname and I love that emoji.”

For other Rangers, it was a no-brainer what they would pick. ' jersey will say “LIL BOP,” a nickname with a generational background.

“My dad was nicknamed Bop,” DeShields said. “I’ve never really asked him the background behind it, but even my mom still calls him Bop.”

When DeShields was first drafted by Houston in 2010, he worked with Eric Young, who played with Delino DeShields Sr. in 2001. From the moment the two met, Young began referring to DeShields as “Lil Bop,” and the nickname was born.

“At first, it threw me off because I didn’t think anyone would know it, but ever since then it’s kind of stuck,” DeShields said.

Outfielder , who made his big league debut on Friday, also chose a nickname that holds personal meaning to him. His jersey will don the words “BIG MIKE" in memory of his friend Michael Huettner, who died in 2016.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said of being able to wear the nickname. “Going into the year, I always imagined myself being here, I just didn’t know when the time will come.”

Allard receiving callup, Sampson to bullpen

's time with the Rangers has officially begun.

Allard, the left-hander Texas acquired in its trade of Chris Martin to the Braves at the Trade Deadline, will make his Rangers debut on Friday against the Brewers. To open a spot in the rotation, Rangers manager Chris Woodward announced that Adrian Sampson has been moved to the bullpen.

Sampson has bounced back and forth from the rotation to the 'pen this season, but has struggled in his recent starts. He has an 8.44 ERA over 16 innings in three starts since rejoining the rotation on July 22. In total, Sampson has a 5.42 ERA over 113 innings this season.

Allard’s start will mark his 2019 debut. He made three appearances last year for the Braves, allowing 11 earned runs in eight innings.

Kelley’s return imminent

In addition to Sampson’s move to the bullpen, the Rangers are close to receiving additional relief help, as Woodward said the Rangers will activate  off the injured list on Wednesday.

Kelley, who the Rangers signed as a free agent in the offseason, has been out since July 21 due to soreness in his right biceps muscle. He has a 3.00 ERA and 11 saves in 32 appearances this season. Woodward said that despite Kelly’s return, Jose Leclerc is still penciled in as the Rangers' closer for the time being.

“I like what I’m seeing now with Jose,” Woodward said. “He’s in a good place and he’s competing. The goal is to get him back to that role anyway, so I don’t think I’d pull the plug on it."