Rangers Minor League Notes (2/25)

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Just over a week before pitchers and catchers officially report to minor league camp, approximately 40 pitchers and a handful of position players are on-hand for pre-camp workouts. Lone Star Dugout has notes from Thursday's back-field action, including a Q&A with Marcus Lemon, who was recently assigned to Major League camp.

Still more than a week remains before pitchers and catchers officially report to minor league Spring Training, but a number of players are getting a head start.

More and more players are showing up each day, and prospects like Martin Perez and Blake Beavan made their first appearance at camp early Thursday afternoon.

In all, approximately 40 pitchers and a handful of position players [mostly catchers] are on-hand for the daily workouts.

• Throughout Spring Training, this daily feature will highlight the goings-on around the back fields of minor league camp. There will be daily observations and notes from both workouts and games.

Because things are currently a bit slow on the minor league side, a daily prospect Q&A will also come with this article.

• With their first game coming up in less than a week, the Major League team has gotten into the full swing of things. The big league team stayed on the field until approximately 2 p.m. on Thursday [a long day] taking batting practice and doing situational/fundamental work.

• The Rangers often have their pitchers throw live batting practice sessions, and they spread the live BP over three different fields on Thursday afternoon. Prospects like Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and Omar Beltre were all in action.

• As he has done for the past two seasons [and particularly in 2009], slugger Mitch Moreland continued to turn heads in batting practice. The Mississippi State product has done nothing but improve since joining the Rangers' system, and he looks more and more like a definite big league hitter.

• Not a whole lot happened on the minor league side of things on Thursday. The players ran, pitchers threw long toss, and hitters took batting practice.

• A number of minor leaguers, including Martin Perez and Blake Beavan, threw bullpen sessions during the workout. The above picture is from that workout.

• The next report from minor league camp won't come until Monday afternoon, as I am traveling to Los Angeles to see some college baseball. I am seeing a pair of future first-round picks in Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) and Gerrit Cole (UCLA) tonight, and there will definitely be a story about that match-up.

Daily Videos

Watch Video - HD (Harrison, Scheppers, Mathis, Feliz throw in bullpen)
Watch Video - HD (Omar Beltre throws live BP to Kinsler and Andrus)
(Omar Beltre throws in the bullpen)
(Omar Beltre throws in the bullpen)
(Omar Beltre throws live batting practice)

Daily Prospect Q&A: Marcus Lemon

Jason Cole: What are your thoughts on getting an invitation to big league camp?

Marcus Lemon: I was really excited to get the opportunity to come out and work with the big league guys. Guys like Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and everybody else. I'm just really excited. Washington has been working with me in the morning, and he let me know the day before position players officially started. I was really excited. I can learn a lot from these guys.

Cole: The Rangers have a young team, and they developed most of the roster. You've played with most of these guys on the way up, haven't you?

Lemon: I've played with quite a few. I played with Borbon and a lot of the pitchers that are up–Holland and Hunter. Even with some of the big league guys who rehabbed last year. Kinsler–I got a chance to play with him for a couple games. And Hamilton. It's actually real welcoming to come here. All these guys are real nice. You already know them because you've already played with them. It's nice. I'm not as nervous being here because there are a lot of guys my age and guys that already know me.

Cole: Given the fact that you already know most of these guys, does it make things a little easier for you?

Lemon: Oh, yeah. We've got some of the best young and veteran guys here. They really welcome you with open arms. They are great guys. They take you in and they make sure you are taken care of. And I mean everybody. All the players are great. All the coaches and in the clubhouse–they make sure you are taken care of. The Texas Rangers organization–big league side and minor league side–they take real good care of you.

Cole: I've heard you have been out here at 8:30 every morning taking ground balls with Ron Washington. Have you ever done that in the past, or was that new to this year?

Lemon: We've always had early work like at instructs and even here at the beginning of Spring Training. But this is the first time I've had an opportunity to work with Washington every single morning. We've been working out for about three weeks. And probably for the last two weeks, he has had me here at 8:30 every morning. It has helped. I've never been this consistent with a routine, so now that I have it, I'm going to try and keep it up throughout the season.

Cole: Given his background as maybe the best infield coach in baseball, how has he helped your game defensively?

Lemon: He has helped me a lot. He has given me a lot of–I'm sure a lot of the things he used and good advice that is helping me right now. Maybe some things that I didn't know. Even the way that he's telling me is really helping me. He breaks it down for me so I can understand. Just working on a lot of little things. Slowing the game down.

Cole: Have you gotten most of your work at second base so far this spring?

Lemon: Yeah, since I've been out here. The majority of my work has been at second base.

Cole: You played center in the Fall League, mostly out of necessity of the team. But will that continue at all this year?

Lemon: I'm not sure. I'm ready for anything. They told me to be ready, and you never know. Just like in the Fall League. They asked me if I could play center and I said, ‘Yes.' I have no problem. Wherever they want to run me, I'll go.

Cole: You had a great run in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason. Do you feel like you've gained some momentum from that performance to carry into this spring?

Lemon: A lot of people say it was a great Fall League, and I had a lot of fun. I felt like it helped me, but it's a new day. It's a new season. Even though that's great, it is about today and now and I've got to keep working on everything. That was yesterday–that's in the past now. I've got to keep on moving forward.

Cole: When I talked to you after the Fall League had ended, you attributed your power to the strength training you'd been doing. How much of that did you do over the offseason, and how long of a break did you take after you were finished playing?

Lemon: Coming to the Fall League, I didn't get as much time off as I would've liked. I took a month off or so, and then I was right back at it lifting the weights. I was doing two-a-days at home. I'd have a morning workout and an afternoon workout, and then I started mixing in going to the field.

It's easy, when you're at home and when you have the equipment that is real easy for you to get to, sometimes you become lazy and lackadaisical. You think, ‘Oh, I'll do it later.' So I decided to come out here early because I knew I would get up early, I had to come here, and I had to work out. We have great trainers here and they were pushing me. Sometimes you need someone else to push you to really push yourself to the limit.

Cole: How long have you been out here for?

Lemon: Since February 1st.

Cole: How many people were out here at that point?

Lemon: Minor league or major league–I was the only position player that wasn't rehabbing out here. There were pitchers and catchers, but I was the only position player.

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