Inside Surprise - 3/7

The latest on the continuing quest for a fifth starter, an update on Eric Gagne, and more from the sunny skies of Arizona.

- With his two inning effort on the hill yesterday afternoon, Jamey Wright is the latest to rev the engine and make a run at obtaining the much heralded fifth starter spot in the rotation. He wasn't dominant and wasn't helped by an error that allowed two runs to score, but he made the right pitches and was almost always ahead of every batter he faced.

- Although he was granted a free pass of sorts by manager Ron Washington regarding his last start, John Koronka probably needs to have a better start this afternoon against the Diamondbacks for him to remain in serious contention to win a job in the rotation. In 1 1/3 against the Royals last week, he allowed 6 hits.

- At this point, I think you could consider Kameron Loe to be the leader in the clubhouse as far as making the rotation goes. But judging by their performances thus far, the guys behind him may look something like this:

Josh Rupe
Jamey Wright
Bruce Chen
Edinson Volquez, and then Koronka.

John Rheinecker threw in the bullpen on Tuesday and still has an outside chance at making the rotation, but probably is all but ruled out of doing anything but possibly becoming a long relief guy.

- Eric Gagne was quoted as saying that Tuesday was "the best day he's had in two years". He threw around 40 pitches in the bullpen using his typical violent looking delivery everybody had come to know and love while he was setting records with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He added, "I really let it go. Not 100 percent but, for the first time, I really trusted my elbow." At the moment, the plan for the Rangers closer is not a heavy one: Today he'll rest, followed by another session of long-toss on Thursday, then Friday he'll be back on the mound. Ron Washington plans to give him some work during spring training but won't take his leash off and let him loose until the season actually begins, which is probably a wise move on his behalf.

- Sammy Sosa was back in the designated hitter role yesterday afternoon against the Mariners and, as reported, went 1 for 3 with a sharply hit single in the sixth. He's scheduled to play in right field against the Royals in the "A" game today.

- Michael Young took it upon himself to end two slightly disturbing streaks yesterday afternoon against Seattle: His 0 for 9 start to the spring and the no-hitter Mariner had put together with a single in the sixth.

- Not Ranger related but interesting enough to mention: It seems that former Ranger Gary Matthews Jr. could be facing a gigantic 80 game suspension from Major League Baseball for his alleged involvement in the purchase of human growth hormone. In addition to a 50-game penalty for a first positive test of HGH, baseball's drug policy mandates a suspension from anywhere between 60 to 80 games following a first conviction for "possession or use of any prohibited substance." There's nothing new to report on Jerry Hairston Jr. and his alleged involvement with the drug, and he still vehemently denies doing anything wrong. Hairston has been busy working on trying to snatch up on of the two bench jobs available on the 25 man roster and it'd be a terrible shame to see his chances evaporate by having the gavel of MLB come down upon him for something like this.

Injury Report

John Rheinecker (back spasms) threw off a mound yesterday for the first time in almost two weeks.

Joaquin Arias (sore shoulder) won't play in the field today but could return Thursday.

What's On Tap

The Rangers are scheduled to send out John Koronka (starter), Kameron Loe, Franklyn German, Francisco Cruceta, and Wes Littleton to pitch against the Diamondbacks this afternoon in Surprise.

Future Rangers Top Stories