2/28/2014 1:29 P.M. ET
Forgotten prospect West off to quick start
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Forgotten pitching prospect Matt West is off to a good start for the Rangers this spring. While other Rangers pitchers were getting knocked around, West pitched a scoreless inning in the Rangers' 11-1 loss to the Royals on Friday afternoon.
West had a 1-2-3 inning earlier in the week during an intrasquad game. On Friday, Norichika Aoki reached on shortstop Elvis Andrus' throwing error but West got Jason Donald to ground into a double play. Eric Hosmer also grounded out as first baseman Prince Fielder made a terrific diving stop down the line.
"I just feel good," West said. "I feel recovered. I'm feeling better every time out."
"He did a heckuva job," manager Ron Washington said. "He came in and did the job. It looked like he was free with his fastball. Hopefully he can keep growing and getting better. He has good mechanics. His arm strength is pretty firm. There is more there but it was pretty firm."
West was the Rangers second-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Houston Bellaire (Texas) High. He was drafted as an infielder but switched to pitcher in 2011. Just when it appeared he was about to flourish on the mound, he developed elbow problems and underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 22, 2012. He pitched in one game in 2013 but did pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
All through the process, the Rangers have West on the 40-man roster in the hope he could come back all the way. The fact that he could hit 99 miles per hour on the radar gun and averaged 95-96 before the injury probably had something to do with it. Right now he is about 90-91 miles per hour.
"Obviously I've been blessed with a good arm and the ability to throw decent pitches," West said. "They know my work ethic so with the little success I have had and my work ethic, it has given them some hope."
Martin sidelined; Rios returns to lineup
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Leonys Martin is sidelined with tightness in his back but Alex Rios was in the lineup on Friday after being limited for a week with soreness in the big toe on his left foot. An anti-inflammation injection helped Rios get the problem under control but it's unlikely the soreness is gone for good.
"But it's the first time in a long time that I haven't had time to think about it," Rios said. "That's a good sign. I've been able to do everything as usual and there are no issues."
Rios is dealing with chronic "turf toe" as a result of playing the first six seasons of his Major League career with the Blue Jays. The toe problem developed from the constant wear and tear on the artificial turf of the Rogers Centre. Rios left the Blue Jays on Aug. 10, 1999 when he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox. The Rangers acquired him on Aug. 9 of last season but the toe problem lingers despite now playing home games on grass fields.
"It was been an issue for seven years and it's not going to go away," Rios said. "I've learned how to manage it and I've learned how to play with it."
Martin is not expected to be out long but this allowed Michael Choice to get his first start in center field. Rios started at designated hitter, going 1-for-3, and Mitch Moreland was in right field. Moreland will likely be the Rangers primary designated hitter during the season but will be used in the outfield this spring to increase his versatility.
Washington, Bogar preparing new celebration
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A familiar sight after Rangers wins the past five years was manager Ron Washington turning to bench coach Jackie Moore and giving him a big hug. It was their personal ritual after every victory and always caught on camera.
Now Moore is gone and has been replaced by Tim Bogar. So now what will the ritual be after the first victory?
"I think what he and I are going to end up doing is we're going to shock the world," Washington said. "We're working on it right now. The first win of the season, watch what we do. We're working on it."
They are also building a strong working relationship, but they have known each other for a long time. Bogar was an infielder with Triple-A Tidewater in 1991-92 and Washington was a coach there.
"He knows me and I know him, so no, it's no issue," Washington said. "We talked almost every single day over the winter. He gave me his spiel on what he likes and he already knows what I like, but I gave him what I like. He's sharp. He's on it. He's on top of it and he's in my ear all the time.
"I get the same thing he gets. But if there's something in those percentages that he thinks is necessary that I should know of or can't take for granted that I'm aware of, he gives it to me. If I've already checked it out, I tell him I've checked it out and I give him the information to let him know that I have checked it out rather than me just saying it. So he knows I'm not as dumb as …."
• Tanner Scheppers makes his Cactus League debut on Sunday against the White Sox in Surprise. Scheppers is scheduled to pitch two innings behind starter Robbie Ross.
• Third baseman Adrian Beltre, first baseman Prince Fielder, catcher J.P. Arencibia and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will not make the trip to Phoenix on Saturday to face the Athletics. But the game could be rained out with inclement weather in the forecast.
• Matt Harrison did some light throwing as well some fielding drills on Friday. Colby Lewis threw a bullpen in preparation for Monday's start against the Indians.
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.