03/12/12 7:55 PM ET
Yu will make MLB Network debut Tuesday
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Nathan feels strong, but allows home run
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rangers closer Joe Nathan said he felt good on Monday. Maybe too good."My arm was so alive, it's been a long time since I felt like this," Nathan said. "The ball was just up. The ball was really exploding out of my hand." There was damage as a result. Nathan walked two batters and gave up a three-run home run to Miguel Olivo in his one inning of work against the Mariners on Monday afternoon. Nathan was the losing pitcher in the Rangers' 6-4 loss. "My stuff was good," Nathan said. "That's one thing I'll take out of today, the ball was really exploding out of my hand. I've just got to throw strikes and work ahead in the count. Everything was just up. When I throw on the side in my next bullpen [session], I need to hone in and focus on getting the ball down."
This was just Nathan's second outing of the spring. He pitched a scoreless inning against the White Sox last Wednesday, setting down the side in order on just seven pitches."He just couldn't get the ball down today," manager Ron Washington said. "He hung a slider to Olivo. He had trouble carrying the ball down in the zone."
Harrison seeks to remedy reverse platoon split
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison faced an interesting situation in his third inning of work on Monday. He had runners on second and third with two outs with Mariners cleanup hitter Jesus Montero at the plate.Montero bats right-handed and the Mariners had Mike Carp, a left-handed hitter, on deck. But Harrison, instead of pitching around the right-handed hitter, went after Montero and got him on a grounder to second to end the inning. "Right now, I'm not going to try and walk him," Harrison said. "I'm going to make my pitches, get ahead and go for the strikeout. If at that point I walk him, fine. More than likely during the regular season I might be more cautious." Harrison, over a three-year trend, has become better against right-handed hitters than lefties. It's why the Rangers weren't really interested in putting him in the bullpen instead of Alexi Ogando. Right-handed batters hit .351 of Harrison in 2009. They hit .273 off him in 2010 and .249 last year as he became more effective against them with a sinker. Left-handed hitters have been the reverse. They went from .210 in 2009 to .235 and then .275 last year. "It should be better," Harrison said. "It's better pitch selection and location."
Washington deploys Young in fifth spot
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Rangers had the middle of their order on display against the Mariners. That included Adrian Beltre batting fourth, Michael Young batting fifth and Nelson Cruz in the sixth spot.Manager Ron Washington said that's the way he wants to use those three during the regular season behind Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton. Washington likes the idea of a professional hitter like Young batting between Beltre and Cruz, his two right-handed power bats. "He's a professional hitter," Washington said. "He's not up there try to hit the ball out of the ballpark all the time. He can do a lot more. He protects Beltre and Cruz protects him. Beltre protects Hamilton." Young hit .351 with a .547 slugging percentage in the No. 5 spot last year. He hit .331 but with a .429 slugging percentage in the cleanup spot.
Kinsler nears return; Napoli's injury lingers
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Rangers are starting to get some of their players healthy, but second baseman Ian Kinsler and catcher Mike Napoli were out of the lineup again on Monday against the Mariners.Kinsler was sidelined for a second straight day with mild stiffness in his lower back. He took batting practice on Monday and should return in the next day or two. "There is no need to push him," manager Ron Washington said. "We just want to make sure everything is well." Napoli, who came into camp still dealing with a high left ankle sprain, was out of the lineup for the third straight day with a strained left groin muscle. The Rangers aren't sure when he'll get back in the lineup. "We're just playing it cautious until that subsides," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. On the plus side for the Rangers, Craig Gentry (hamstring), Brad Hawpe (hamstring) and Conor Jackson (bruised eye) were able to play on Monday against the Mariners. They didn't start but came into the game for the final three innings.
Left fielder David Murphy came into camp wanting to work on his defense and made a nice diving catch on Brendan Ryan's popup into short left-center in the first inning on Monday. He also threw out Ichiro Suzuki trying to score from second on a single in the sixth. Neftali Feliz pitches for the Rangers against the Rockies on Wednesday and rookie Martin Perez pitches against Oakland on Thursday. Catcher Dusty Brown is day to day with some arm fatigue. Manager Ron Washington on pitcher Greg Reynolds, who has pitched four scoreless innings this spring: "He's been doing a good job getting outs. He has a good sinker and a good breaking ball. He's working and trying to show what he can do." Former Rangers infielder Mark McLemore is in camp as a special instructor.
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.