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Rangers expect starting depth to lighten load

@Sullivan_Ranger
February 12, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn threw 3,553 pitches last season, second most in the Majors. “I didn’t lead the league, so it wasn’t enough,” Lynn said. Really? “Yeah, you don’t want anybody to beat you,” Lynn said. “I think [leader Trevor Bauer] would say the same.”

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn threw 3,553 pitches last season, second most in the Majors.

“I didn’t lead the league, so it wasn’t enough,” Lynn said.

Really?

“Yeah, you don’t want anybody to beat you,” Lynn said. “I think [leader Trevor Bauer] would say the same.”

Manager Chris Woodward doesn’t have the same goal for Lynn, who averaged 107.7 pitches per outing over 33 starts.

“It’s something I’ve talked to him about openly,” Woodward said. “Does it really make sense to send him out there for 110 pitches every [start]? He’s one human being who can handle it.

“But does it really make sense to have him do that? I don’t want him to wear down going into October. If we go into September needing him to carry a heavier workload, I want to be able to do that.”

Mike Minor and Lynn had to carry a heavy workload last season, both finishing with 208 1/3 innings. Adrian Sampson (125 1/3) and Ariel Jurado (122 1/3) were the only other Rangers pitchers to log more than 78 innings. Woodward expects Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to carry a much bigger load for the rotation.

“We knew we were going to have to use our bullpen more than we wanted to,” Woodward said of last season. “Obviously, I leaned heavily on Lance going too many pitches at times. I don’t feel I have to do that this year because of the depth of our staff.”

Lynn on sign-stealing scandal
Lynn on Wednesday was asked his opinion about the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked both the Red Sox and the Astros this winter.

“It’s unfortunate,” Lynn said. “It’s a game that kind of has had some gray areas. You don’t know exactly the truth or how big it was. You hear a little bit of pieces coming out here and there, but you don’t want to have that go on. You know there is going to be the normal, guys trying to steal signs at second base.

“You have bad sequences where they can pick it up easily. That’s on the pitcher. But when you’re able to do stuff in real time before the pitch is even thrown, where they can even get you with no one on, that’s a little too much.

“There are going to be outings when you make bad pitches, too. I look back at some of the home runs I gave up, I was behind in the count, they were hitters' counts and I threw the ball over the middle of the plate. If you start worrying about tipping and them stealing signs, stuff like that, you are trying to place blame on someone else. There are times when they know it’s coming, and they still can’t hit it. Make a good pitch.”

He said it
“I have to be here. I have another baby on the way. That makes three. I need to make a little more money.”
-- Pitcher Edinson Vólquez, who took a non-roster invite rather than retiring

Rangers beat
• Woodward made it a point in a pre-workout meeting with his pitchers for the young guys to take advantage of veterans on the staff like Lynn, Minor and Kluber.

“'Learn from these guys, pick their brains, make them tired of seeing you around,'” Woodward said. “'Don’t be intimidated by Corey Kluber. Go up and talk to him. Annoy him.'”

• The Rangers see right-hander Jonathan Hernandez and left-hander Taylor Hearn as starters in the long term. They will be stretched out as starters in Spring Training, but general manager Jon Daniels said both are candidates to make the Rangers bullpen, too.

• Daniels said the Rangers offered free-agent outfielder Billy Hamilton a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, but he decided to take a similar offer with the Giants, saying he felt it was a better opportunity for him.

• The Rangers also had interest in outfielder Jarrod Dyson, but he appears headed to the Pirates. The Rangers also did not aggressively pursue Kevin Pillar, who is close to a deal with the Red Sox.

• The Rangers held tryouts on Wednesday for free agents looking for Minor League jobs. Right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who has 288 games of Major League experience with the Reds and Orioles, and left-hander John Lamb, who pitched for the Reds and Angels, were among those who tried out.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.