During the 2014 Texas Rangers Fan Fest at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Ron Washington participated in one of the question and answer sessions.
Ron Washington started off the session with talking about the fielders and how they backup the pitchers. He said last year, the Texas Rangers defense got the outs they should have. Errors do happen, but the pitchers and fielders work hand in hand.
Steve Busby asked Ron Washington about pitching going into the 2014 season.
“We need continued growth from Perez, Darvish will be in his third year and I think he’ll be more open to suggestion this year because of his experience, Hopefully we can keep him healthy (Ogando) the whole year. Because he does have pitches, if he can stay healthy, he can get outs, So far it looks good on Harrison. So hopefully we get him for another 200 innings. Although Derek fell down the steps and tore up his knee , we do have the opportunity to have him back at some point this season and that will be a shot in the arm also, We’ll continue to look on the outside to see if there are any other pieces fit.” said Ron Washington
Ron Washington was asked also about long offseason. He said as soon as the season ended they went down to Arizona and they started preparing for the next season.
After a few questions from Steve Busby, fans were then allowed to ask questions. The first question was about the potential return of Colby Lewis.
“Colby Lewis got a new hip, and we have some film on him throwing and he’s excited and we don’t really know how it that’s going to continue to go when the competition starts right now Colby is excited and we’re excited and if for some reason we can have him in that line up because of a miracle he’s certainly going to make a difference in our pitching staff there’s no doubt about it, right now he’s on schedule to compete and be ready and we just need to see how the hip reacts as to competition starts through spring training but i’m certainly have a spot open in the rotation and i certainly hopes he takes it.” said Ron Washington
Washington also talked about Adam Rosalas coming in as a utility player. He’s looking forward having him and the infield coach working with him. Washington is excited about working with him during the season.
The question about Neftali Feliz being the closer next season was asked. Ron Washington said that Feliz wants the closer role. Washington said he’s not giving the job to anyone and that they will have to come and work for it. Washington does hope he can come back strong and hopes he can do it. He does think Feliz has prepared and he has the mind for it.
“Going to let him come in during spring training and he will be one of the guys we look at but he will have to win the job, we are not giving away jobs in Texas” said Ron Washington
Also, Washington said that Yu Darvish will be the opening day starter.
“I think that’s obvious, it’s going to be Darvish” said Ron Washington
Ron was asked about when Derek Holland will return
Washington said “We don’t exactly know we hope right after the All-Star break, but knowing Derek and seeing Derek a couple of days ago he was in the trainers room on the table already trying to bend his leg, that’s the type of work ethic Derek has”
Also, top catching prospect Jorge Alfaro was discuss and the possibility of him being called up.
“Right now he’s our top prospect catching wise, to make a statement we’ll see him this year annotates him. He has the ability to play at the major league level, one day. And I think we need to let him let us know when that day will be, He is a talent and he will play the big leagues one day” said Washington
Mitch Moreland was also another topic. Washington talked about the new lineup with Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Alex Rios along with the bottom of the line up with Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto. He talked about how Mitch Moreland will fit in that lineup. He’ll play some first base when he give Prince Fielder a day off. He also talked about how Prince Fielder is another Beltre and he’ll have to wear his “armor” when he gives Prince Fielder a day off. Ron and Mitch have talked, and Mitch is preparing for the season as a DH and where ever else Ron Washington places him.
Ron Washington also talked about Alexi Ogando‘s role next year. Washington said that Ogando has the mindset that he wants to be a starter. Currently, that is the plan for Ogando going into spring training.
“We are going to let him come into spring training are going to get him stretched out, we are going to let him start and see where it goes, one thing we do, if that doesn’t work, he can pitch out of the bullpen. One thing we want to stop doing is, in which we had to do in the past over the years because of injuries, is yo-yo him back and forth.” said Washington
Also, one of the most rememberable parts of the question and answer session was when a kid asked Ron Washington why he Ian Kinsler.
Ron explained that the Texas Rangers had a chance to pick up Prince Fielder back when he was being courted by Detroit. He said that Detroit was offering up Fielder, and in return they wanted Kinsler. Ron said it wasn’t a quick decision, and they had to put heads together to discuss it. He said a player like Prince Fielder doesn’t come up very often, and they couldn’t pass it up. He said Kinsler is a class act and he expects him to have a great year in Detroit.
The session ended with Busby asking Washington if he would like to return in November to discuss winning the World Series. He’s looking forward to another great year, and looking back last year was tough because they didn’t make it. He said they felt the pain like the fans felt it, but they went out there every day and did their best. They finished the season trying to win 8 games in a row, they won 7, one short of making the playoffs.
The 2014 season looks pretty bright with the new additions the Texas Rangers have brought on board. This should be another exciting year of baseball in Arlington. Fan Fest was an excellent experience and a great way to kick off the 2014 season.