Notes: CF updates; Lynn's curveball; injury news

March 5th, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he is comfortable with in center, but doesn’t see him ready for a full-time role there. That project will take time.

will be the Rangers' center fielder to open the season.

“He’ll get most of the time out there,” Woodward said.

Solak, who entered the game as the center fielder in the seventh and went 0-for-1 Wednesday in the Rangers' 7-4 win over the Rockies, has played seven games in center this spring, including four starts. He just missed a terrific diving catch on Tuesday against the Giants.

“Right now, I have been impressed, especially with the work,” Woodward said. “The work is actually showing up in the game.”

Solak, who was drafted as an infielder by the Yankees in 2016, has played just 20 games in center as a professional. The Rangers want to see if he fits there, given his speed and athleticism. But they also need him at third base and Solak could start playing there in the next week or so.

“Going with the flow,” Solak said. “Working at all the positions, try to put together good at-bats, run the bases, play hard, do what I can control.”

Woodward said he could see Solak getting a start or two per week in center at the beginning, and have that increase as the season progresses.

“He still has to prove it on an everyday basis,” Woodward said. “It is going to be a constant evaluation, but as of right now, I’m definitely more comfortable with what I’ve seen.”

Lynn works on off-speed
Right-hander threw his fastball 71.8 percent of the time last season. That was the third-highest usage last season for any pitcher in the Majors with a minimum of 1,000 pitches thrown.

That’s why he has focused on his curveball and changeup this spring, and that was the emphasis on Wednesday during his four-inning outing against the Rockies. Lynn threw more off-speed pitches as last season progressed, and he lowered his reliance on the fastball.

“We talked about it all offseason, mixing in more curveballs and changeups,” Lynn said. “Today I threw some good ones. Got to keep going. If I can mix in my curve and changeup to get some easier outs, that’s the plan. Once I get going and do what I do, if I can have them as weapons, it’s going to be good.”

Lynn allowed four runs on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.

Palumbo, Nicasio scratched from outings
Left-hander has been scratched from Thursday’s start against the Cubs because of inflammation in his right heel. The Rangers have a split-squad doubleheader on Thursday; Palumbo was scheduled to start the road game in Mesa.

“We think it is nothing structural at all,” assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman said. “We think it’s related to new shoes that he was wearing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to get him on the mound while he is dealing with it. Just get it to calm down.”

Right-hander is dealing with tightness in his back. He was supposed to pitch on Monday against the Giants, but his back tightened up on him while warming up.

He said it
“Late at night, when you chillin’ or reading a book, that’s the best time to listen to Charley Pride. He’s amazing. I just hope I’m still walking at his age.” -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus, following country music legend Pride's annual concert in the Rangers clubhouse on Wednesday morning

Rangers beat
• Right-hander Jesse Chavez, who's had some shoulder soreness, threw live batting practice without any issues on Wednesday. The next step for him will be pitching in either a simulated game, or Cactus League game.

• Right-handers Nick Goody and Luke Farrell both pitched scoreless innings against the Rockies and have yet to allow a run in their four outings this spring.

• Catcher Jose Trevino is expected to have his right index finger examined on March 16. Once it's examined, the Rangers will have a better idea of how long it will take him to recover from a hairline fracture in his knuckle.

• Reliever Cody Allen said he felt good after throwing in a simulated game on Tuesday. Allen is scheduled to pitch an inning against the Cubs in Mesa.

• The Rangers have signed all their pre-arbitration cases, meaning everybody in camp is officially under contract. Because they were able to reach an agreement with all players, the Rangers did not have to automatically renew any player's contract. The minimum salary this season is $563,500. The Rangers' two highest-paid pre-arbitration players are Ronald Guzmán ($588,000) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($587,000).

Up next
Left-hander Mike Minor gets the start against the D-backs at 2:05 p.m. CT Thursday in Surprise. It will be his first start of the spring. Right-hander Jonathan Hernández takes the mound against the Cubs in Thursday's split-squad game in Mesa at 2:05 p.m. CT. Listen live to the D-backs vs. Rangers game on, and watch Texas face Chicago live on MLB.TV.