Notes: Cody eyes longer start; Andrus' future

September 20th, 2020

Right-hander  has pitched 12 2/3 innings over six outings this season after missing two years while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

He has two starts left, including Sunday against the Angels, before the Rangers plan to shut him down for the offseason. The last two winters have been filled with rehab work for Cody as he worked his way back from the surgery.

“Getting that rest and recovery may be the best thing for him,” manager Chris Woodward said.

The Rangers still plan for Cody to compete for a spot in the rotation next year even though they know his total innings will be limited. Cody threw a career-high 126 innings in 2017 before developing the elbow problems that led to the surgery on July 19, 2018.

“Whatever that limit is, whatever we decide for next year ... he is going to come in with a chance to earn that spot in the rotation,” Woodward said. “Whether that’s a limited role in the beginning, lesser innings or lesser number of pitches, we’ll figure that out. As of right now, we want him to maintain that starter mentality, and if we have to send him to Triple-A to get a month in just to build him up a little more, then so be it. But I fully expect him to come in and compete for a spot.”

Cody threw a season-high 74 pitches over three innings in his last start against the Astros on Tuesday. The Rangers want to see him get deeper into the game on Sunday against the Angels.

“I think we can extend him,” Woodward said. “We were planning on extending him his last outing; he just threw a ton of pitches. So I think that if he goes 70-80 pitches, he can go through four or even five [innings]. I would definitely keep him out there for that.”

Andrus' future positioning
Will shortstop Elvis Andrus be a utility infielder next season?

That would come only if the Rangers are confident that Anderson Tejeda is ready to complete the jump from Class A and be an everyday shortstop in the Major Leagues. That still seems to be a huge leap of faith for 2021.

But Woodward said Andrus could handle the transition to being a utility player, if needed.

“That would be a challenge, especially since he's never played another position,” Woodward said. “I think, honestly, the biggest thing will be the second base one, if that's where we go, just because it's a different -- it’s on the other side of the field. Third base is very similar, you're just a little more pull.

“But I know Elvis believes he's still the everyday shortstop, and I want him to believe that. He's obviously got to come in and prove that, but if we happen to move him around a little bit, it's going to be a little bit of an adjustment. But I think he’ll be fine.”

Woodward salutes alternate camp
The Rangers' alternate training site has come to a close and it has been a busy summer. Texas has used 48 players this season and most of them either worked out at the alternate site or had to go there to do their rehab and extra work at some point.

The Rangers used 18 rookies this season, including nine who made their Major League debuts.

Woodward praised the work of the staff at the alternate training site, which included field coordinator Matt Hagen, infield coordinator Kenny Holmerg, Double-A manager Bobby Wilson, hitting coaches Cody Atkinson, Brad Flanders and Josue Perez, as well as pitching coaches Jono Armold and Brendan Sagara.

“It's different, and I applaud not only the players, but the staff and what they've been able to accomplish with so little,” Woodward said. “They've had to be really creative. It's not the ideal situation, but we made the most of it. In some ways, it's like a Triple-A environment a little bit, where some guys aren't happy to be there, but they're still getting their work in.”