Woodward on Mendez: It 'doesn't look good'

March 18th, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers may be facing their first serious pitching injury of the spring after left-hander left Sunday’s start against the D-backs with tightness in his left elbow.

Mendez will undergo further evaluation on Monday, but manager Chris Woodward said it “doesn’t look good.”

Mendez left the game with one out in the third inning. Woodward and trainer Matt Lucero were summoned to the mound by second baseman Rougned Odor, who noticed something wrong with Mendez.

“He wasn’t going to throw another pitch,” Woodward said. “He didn’t feel right. Anytime a pitcher comes out saying it’s their elbow, it’s never a good sign. We’ll find out as soon as we can.”

Mendez, the No. 26 prospect in the Rangers' farm system, has allowed 10 runs, nine earned, on 17 hits and three walks in 10 1/3 innings over five Cactus League appearances. He was expected to start the season at Triple-A Nashville, but it’s more likely he’ll end up on the injured list.

Martin rebounds
The Rangers needed to see a good outing from right-handed reliever Chris Martin, and they did so in a 7-2 win over the D-backs. Martin retired four straight hitters, including three by strikeout.

Martin had allowed eight runs in his two previous Cactus League outings.

“That was good,” Woodward said. “He has had a couple lack-of-results outings. He said he’s felt great, but today it was good to get him out there and have some success. He was overpowering their guys. It was good for him to get out there and have those kind of results.”

Davidson pitching intrasquad game
Rangers infielder Matt Davidson is scheduled to pitch in a Triple-A intrasquad game on Monday in camp. He’ll get that and at least one more outing before the Rangers break camp on Saturday.

This remains a murky situation.

Davidson has been a corner infielder for the White Sox the past two years and is attempting to add pitching to his set of skills. But it is still unknown if he’ll make the team as a backup infielder.

The Rangers may keep only one infielder if they go with an eight-man pitching staff, and Davidson is in competition with Logan Forsythe and others for that spot. That decision may go down to the end of camp.

“He’s got pretty good stuff, especially for a position player,” pitching coach Julio Rangel said. “I don’t think he’s a guy we are going to rely on. It’s nice that if he makes the team and we need an arm, he’s available.”

The other mystery is exactly what kind of role Davidson will have as a pitcher. He will be more than a mop-up pitcher, but unlikely to pitch in close games unless the rest of the bullpen is completely spent.

“I wasn’t coming in as a complete two-way player,” Davidson said. “I have the ability to eat innings up. I feel like I am capable of putting a good inning together. If that comes 15-0 or 6-2 and our bullpen is taxed and we’re losing, it’s the ninth … we really don’t know. We’ll just see how it plays out.”

Rangers beat
• Delino DeShields had his fourth stolen base of the spring, and it was a steal of home in the fourth inning. The Rangers had runners at the corners when Rougned Odor stole second base. DeShields waited until catcher Carson Kelly threw the ball to second and then bolted home.

“He is probably one of the most impactful baseball players in the game,” Woodward said. “He creates havoc every time he is on base. Read the ball out of the hand and took off.”

• LPGA golfer Angela Stanford, a Fort Worth native and TCU All-American, was a guest of the Rangers on Sunday and carried out the lineup to home plate before the game.

• Outfielder Scott Heineman has been cleared to start swinging a bat as of Monday. He will begin the season on the 60-day injured list while recovering from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder.

Up next
Left-hander Mike Minor pitches against the Dodgers at 9:05 p.m. CT Monday at Surprise Stadium. Minor, who is the Rangers' Opening Day starter, has a 5.63 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in three starts. Minor will have this start and one more before facing the Cubs on March 28 on Opening Day at Globe Life Park.