Notes: Minor on future; Frazier at first base?

July 20th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-hander pitched 5 1/3 innings in a simulated game on Sunday, throwing 93 pitches. He is now ready for his first regular-season start, which is scheduled for Saturday against the Rockies.

Minor is also heading into the regular season facing the possibility of being a free agent this winter. With all the disruptions that have taken place since Spring Training, the Rangers never engaged Minor or his representatives in any discussions concerning a possible extension.

“Nothing’s changed,” Minor said. “I would love to come back, but that’s not my choice. I haven’t been given any type of extension opportunity. I’m just going to go out there and pitch and compete. I think that’s what I’ve been missing the most over the quarantine.

“I want to get back and compete. I want to get back with the guys. I feel like a lot of guys play this game to compete and try to be their best. Whatever happens at the end of the year, that’s what happens. I can’t really worry about it.”

First base remains mystery
Rangers manager Chris Woodward stated the obvious on Sunday: The battle for first base is not going the way he expected.

The two left-handed-hitting candidates -- Ronald Guzmán and Greg Bird -- have not been able to seize the job. It appears more likely the Rangers will go with Todd Frazier at first base and Isiah Kiner-Falefa at third to open the season.

“I was kind of hopeful one of them would take it and run with it,” Woodward said. “As it stands right now, nobody has been able to distance themselves. Clearly, we need a first baseman. I feel confident with Frazier over there. If either one of those pick it up a little bit, they could find themselves kind of taking on that role. Especially with the left-handed bat. We need that.”

As of Sunday morning, Bird was 6-for-43 (.143) with a double, home run and 13 strikeouts in intrasquad games. Guzmán was 4-for-32 (.125) with 11 strikeouts and no extra-base hits.

“It’s unfortunate,” Woodward said. “I know both of them are trying too hard. Bird seems to be a little better. Guzmán is really working to try and figure some things out. But that’s going to take some time. I feel for them, because I know they are both good kids and trying hard to make the team. It’s just not showing up.”

Dallas wins controversial Home Run Derby
The Dallas Black Giants won a Home Run Derby to take home the trophy in the Texas Rangers Summer Showdown. The derby was needed because the two teams each won one intrasquad game and tied in Saturday night’s contest.

However, there was some favoritism that helped the Black Giants against the Fort Worth Wonders. The rules stated each player got one at-bat and four chances to hit the ball out of the park.

But the Wonders, managed by catcher Jeff Mathis, had two more players on their roster than the Black Giants. To make it even, one of the Giants got to bat twice. They picked Joey Gallo, and he walked it off with a blast into the right-field seats on the final swing of the derby to give the Black Giants a 10-9 win.

“Apparently, there is a protest by Team Mathis on that,” Woodward said. “They thought they only had one extra hitter. Team Mathis had two extra hitters. So I thought it only fair the other team got to choose who they got to hit twice. Of course, they chose Joey.”

Rangers beat
• Right-hander Jimmy Herget pitched a scoreless inning on Sunday. He has not allowed a run in four intrasquad innings, and he tossed five scoreless frames in Cactus League play in the spring.

• So far in intrasquad games, Rangers pitchers are averaging 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Texas pitchers set a club record in 2019 by striking out 8.63 batters per nine innings.

• Rangers pitchers are averaging 3.91 walks per nine innings in intrasquad games, up slightly from the 3.65 they averaged last year. The highest in club history was in 1987, when Texas pitchers walked 4.74 batters per nine innings.