Rangers to remain in Arizona for workouts

March 14th, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers players have decided to remain in Arizona for another week before returning to Texas to await the resumption of Spring Training.

Major League Baseball, which has delayed Opening Day at least two weeks, announced on Friday that all Spring Training camps have been suspended, effective immediately, as a result of the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. Major League players were given the option of going home, remaining in their Spring Training cities or returning to their club’s home city.

Rangers players let the club know their feelings on Saturday. They took a vote, and it was unanimous that they stick together as a team.

"We took a show of hands and said, ‘Hey, who wants to go home?’” outfielder Joey Gallo said. “Nobody raised their hand. Everybody wants to stay as a team.”

General manager Jon Daniels said there was strong consideration for returning to Texas, but Globe Life Field still needs some finishing touches.

“It is partially operational,” Daniels said. “The field is not fully ready. The bullpen, the cages, the weight room are done or just about done. But probably a week to 10 days before it is fully operational.”

The Rangers had a light workout on Saturday with pitchers playing catch and hitters taking batting practice in the indoor cages. The Rangers will have a complete day off on Sunday and then begin limited workouts on Monday for those who choose to remain in Arizona. The complex and all workouts will be closed to the public.

“We are talking about guys who need medical treatment, who need arm care,” Daniels said. “Guys on throwing programs or who need light individual work, hitting in cages or ground balls. We are not looking at the traditional Spring Training type game preparation.

Daniels said each player is being encouraged to make whatever decision is appropriate for his situation.

“We want everybody to do what is right for them,” Daniels said. “Clear priority being the health of our players and staff, their families and the public, as well. I couldn’t emphasize that more.

“We don’t want anybody to feel any pressure to make a decision and feel like they improve their chances of making the club or being in better standing with us. We really want the decisions to be made for what’s right for the individuals and all involved.”

Daniels said no players have been tested for the coronavirus, nor have any met the criteria to be tested. He added no players are being monitored for symptoms.

The Rangers still want to stay ready for the start of the regular season. The biggest baseball concern is keeping pitchers’ arms in shape after already going through a month of bullpen sessions, live batting practice and simulated and Cactus League games.

“That is probably the thing I am most worried about is our pitching staff,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We need to keep those guys throwing. We need to keep those guys somewhat built up. I don’t think it’s reasonable to have these guys throw 80 or 90 pitches every five days. But something along the lines of 40 to 50 pitches, simulate some game situations to keep them built up is really important.”

The Rangers’ starters were getting close to being Major League ready. Corey Kluber threw 5 1/3 innings and 89 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday, and Lance Lynn had a similar workout on Monday. Mike Minor threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the White Sox on Tuesday.

“They just need to keep throwing,” Woodward said. “They are built up right now, but that could easily be wiped out if they don’t throw for four or five days.”

The club also has approximately 150 Minor League players housed in their new Rangers Village next to the Arizona complex. The Rangers are encouraging as many players as possible to return home, so they don’t have that many crowded into one facility.