Rangers in search of new Triple-A affiliate

September 17th, 2018
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, left, grandson Jackson Ryan, 1, and son Reid Ryan, right, General Manager of the minor league Round Rock Express, are shown before the Houston Astros hosted the Express in an exhibition game at Enron field in Houston Sunday April 1, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)RICHARD CARSON/AP

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are looking for a new Triple-A affiliate after the Round Rock Express informed them on Monday of the end to an eight-year partnership. Nashville and San Antonio are the two leading spots for the Rangers beginnning next season.

Round Rock, owned by Nolan Ryan, his sons Reid and Reese, and Houston businessman Don Sanders, is expected to become an affiliate of the Astros beginning next season.

The Rangers released the following statement on Monday:

"The Rangers have been notified of the Round Rock Express' intent to seek reaffiliation in 2019. We want to thank Reese Ryan, Chris Almendarez, Tim Jackson, and the entire Ryan-Sanders Baseball organization for their assistance over the last eight years. The players and staff who have come through Round Rock in that period have enjoyed incredible support from both the front office and the fans, and it is greatly appreciated.

"We have begun the process of securing a new Triple-A affiliation, and we look forward to developing a strong working relationship with our new partner. We will have no other comment at this time."

Nashville became open on Monday when the Athletics announced they are leaving there and moving their Triple-A affiliation to Las Vegas. The Washington Nationals have also expressed a desire to move to Nashville and play in a ballpark that just opened in 2015.

San Antonio is moving up to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League because the Elmore Sports Group is relocating the Colorado Springs franchise to the city. The Double-A team that was in San Antonio as part of the Texas League is moving to Amarillo.

San Antonio would allow the Rangers to maintain a presence in central Texas, but the facilities are not as up-to-date as Nashville. Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium opened in 1994, 8 miles outside of downtown, and plans for a new downtown ballpark have not materialized, leaving the long-term future of Triple-A baseball in San Antonio somewhat unsettled.

The Astros were in Fresno, California, this year, but the Rangers would much rather get something done with either San Antonio or Nashville to keep their Triple-A team within a reasonable traveling distance of Arlington.

The Rangers moved their Triple-A affiliation to Round Rock in 2011, ending a 28-year association with Oklahoma City. At the time, Ryan was the Rangers club president. He stepped down at the end of the 2013 season, and he has since become a special assistant with the Astros. Reid Ryan is president of the Astros and has made no secret of his desire to add Round Rock as their Triple-A affiliate.

"From all the managers, coaching staffs and players to grace Dell Diamond, to PCL Division titles and World Series appearances, the Rangers have been a first-class parent club throughout and we're very thankful for the longstanding partnership," Jackson said.

No plans for Colon

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said there are no plans right now for to make one more appearance in front of the home crowd during the final homestand this season at Globe Life Park.

"I'd like to be able to salute all our players," Banister said. "I think that's the biggest thing. Obviously, we have had some celebrations for Bartolo. If the opportunity presents itself, I'd love for our fans to be able to appreciate what they've experienced with Bartolo. Right now, nothing is scripted out."

Colon has not pitched since his last start on Sept. 5, a 9-3 loss to the Angels. The Rangers moved him to the bullpen after that game, but he has yet to make an appearance in relief.

Rangers beat

• Joey Gallo was scratched from Monday's lineup with a bruised toe on his right foot. Gallo fouled a ball off the foot on Sunday in San Diego.

was credited with a hit by pitch in the ninth inning on Sunday, giving him 17 for the season. That is two behind the club record set by last season.

• The Rangers loss on Sunday left them 9-11 in Interleague play this season. That ended a streak of 11 straight seasons with a winning record against the National League.