03/05/12 8:40 PM ET
Darvish slated for second spring start
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Holland, Ogando pleased with their work
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando broke out their Spring Training projects on Monday in their first outing of the Cactus League.Holland worked on his off-speed stuff, while Ogando focused on his slider and throwing his fastball inside. Both felt they took a first good step in a 7-6 loss against the Royals at Surprise Stadium. Holland allowed one run on four hits in two innings of work. The big pitch came with runners at the corners and one out in the second. Holland got out of the jam by getting Alcides Escobar to ground into a double play. Holland did so with his changeup.
"That's the big thing I've been focusing on, me more consistent with my off-speed pitches," Holland said. "I've got a good fastball, but I've got to establish the off-speed stuff. Today I kept everything down, that was the important thing. I was also able to throw everything for strikes."Holland showed in Game 4 of the World Series what he can do when all three pitches are working. He held the Cardinals to two hits over 8 1/3 innings in the Rangers' 4-0 victory. "That's the goal, work on the off-speed stuff," Holland said. "His mental approach will take him to another level," manager Ron Washington said. "He has the stuff to win." Ogando was told by Washington that he needed pitch inside more this spring. Ogando said he tried that on Monday and he pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed one walk and hit while striking out two. "He did a good job moving the ball all around the zone," Washington said. "It's coming along well and my slider works better when I come inside," Ogando said. The Rangers led 6-1 after four innings before the Royals rallied. The Rangers led 6-5 with two out in the ninth when Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run double for the Royals off of reliever Kelvin de la Cruz.
Reliever Cotts added to big league camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Neal Cotts received a promotion on Monday. The Rangers have added him to their big league camp.A few weeks ago he was studying finance at Illinois State. Now he is officially a candidate to win a job in the Rangers' bullpen, despite not having pitched in the Major Leagues since 2009. "It's definitely an opportunity to get back in the swing of things," Cotts said. "Physically I feel I can pitch. I don't know at what level, but for the last two years I felt I could get back out there. The medical issues held me back." Cotts' last game in the Majors was with the Cubs on May 25, 2009. He had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on July 2, 2009, but that wasn't the biggest problem. In 2010, he had four different surgeries on his right hip. That's what scared most teams away and Cotts was resigned to completing his college degree before the Rangers were willing to give him a chance. They signed him to a Minor League contract right before Spring Training, but without an invitation to camp. He did pitch in the intrasquad game last Friday and a scoreless inning convinced the Rangers to bring him to big league camp. "I had a lot of no's before these guys were interested," Cotts said. "It's just fun to get out there and compete again." He pitched the sixth inning against the Royals and allowed two runs on four singles. Mitch Stetter, another left-handed relief candidate, allowed two runs on three hits in the fifth inning. Alex Gordon, in a lefty vs. lefty matchup, hit a home run off him. "We're just looking for results, that's all," manager Ron Washington said after the 7-6 loss. "We're looking at how they throw the ball. We didn't do too well against lefties today, but it was the first time out there."
Hamilton in center, Torrealba catches
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton started in center field on Monday against the Royals, while Yorvit Torrealba was behind the plate. Hamilton started in left field in the Cactus League opener on Sunday, but his presence in center on Monday was reaffirmation from manager Ron Washington that he plans to use him in both spots during the regular season."He's going to play left and he's going to play center," Washington said. "You'll see Hamilton in center during the season. He won't be just in left, but I don't have a number on it." Torrealba caught after being sidelined and limited for four days because of a virus. Mike Napoli, who started on Sunday, will be back behind the plate on Tuesday against the D-backs. He will catch Matt Harrison.
Beimel faces hitters in return to action
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Joe Beimel threw a scoreless inning in an intrasquad game against Minor League hitters on Monday morning. It was his first appearance against hitters this spring after missing a week because of stiffness in his left elbow.Beimel struck out Yangervis Solarte, got Chris Robinson to fly out and Kyle Hudson on a ground out. He threw 15 pitches, including 11 for strikes. Three other pitchers got work in the game. Martin Perez threw two scoreless innings, Wilmer Font threw one scoreless and Neil Ramirez allowed two runs in two innings. The Rangers also had four pitchers throw live batting practice early Monday morning: Joe Nathan, Neftali Feliz, Yoshinori Tateyama and Mark Lowe. Feliz is scheduled to pitch on Thursday against the White Sox in Surprise and the other three are expected to get into a Cactus League game later this week.
Rangers, D-backs will employ DH
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitchers will not have to hit when they play the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has agreed to let both teams use the designated hitter even though the game is being played in the National League park.Gibson agreed to use the designated hitter rule because he wants his pitchers focusing on their mound work and not worried about their hitting just yet. But manager Ron Washington said Gibson wasn't going to let the Rangers use the DH without his team using it as well. "Kirk is not going to give you an advantage, even if it's a Spring Training game," Washington said. "If his pitchers hit, mine are going to hit. That's just the way Kirk is. He's a winner. He's just a winning dude. He'll try to beat you every time."
Brad Hawpe (sore right hamstring) remains sidelined but is taking batting practice as well as ground balls at first base. Manager Ron Washington on Joe Nathan, who is two years removed from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery: "Joe is bouncing around here like a 22-year-old. He's been a good leader and having no problems with his arm. He'll get his eight or nine innings down here and be ready to go." Shortstop Elvis Andrus started a double play in the third inning on Monday by making a diving stop to his left and flipping the ball with his glove to second baseman Ian Kinsler. Said Andrus, "You have to practice that. If you don't practice that down here, you can't use it during the season. You have to practice the fancy stuff. You never known when you'll have to use it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.