Spring has Sprung for the Texas Rangers

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Yes, Ranger fans we really did wait all off-season for this. Three straight losses. Step back, breathe into your paper bag and repeat after me – “It’s really early.”

True, Derek Holland was scratched with a sore shoulder. Colby Lewis got shelled in the first outing, and we now know one of the first things on the equipment truck headed to Arizona was Yu Darvish’s personal MRI machine. I wonder if it’s monogrammed?

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The first week of the spring has gone about the way one would expect from a 95-loss team with a brand new manager and a year’s worth of injury issues. Players are getting their first nibbles of BannyBall after a decade of That’s The Way Baseball Go and so far, it’s an acquired taste. Initial impressions of new manager Jeff Banister are favorable, but Ron Washington is a tough act to follow. He was well liked by most all of the players and the familiarity showed. Banister’s personal motto of Never Ever Quit says he might be a fairly intense guy. That seems like a transition in attitude that might take some adjustment. It’s an obvious contrast – Wash always threw batting practice; every time you see Banister, there’s a fungo bat on his shoulder.

Banister’s not just the new Texas Rangers manager, he’s a new manager. Still under warranty. It will be telling if his career spent solely with the Pirates system will translate into a reversal of fortunes in Arlington. But the faithful should let him get his sea legs before we go jumping out of windows or burning Jon Daniels in effigy. It’s not just a long season, it’s a long spring.

As for starting out of the blocks with three losses – two fairly monumental – 12-2 to the World Champion Royals and 12-3 to the Giants, well those prone to panic need to remember that the bulk of these guys are getting their first competitive baseball in many, many months. It only now seems the Rangers have more guys on the field than on the Disabled List. Those returnees will take a bit to get blood pumping, shake the rust off and all the other clichés necessary at the start of a less than impressive first week.

The end of March is when we’ll really know something. The Rangers visit the Mariners and the As, and the Angels drop in for a game in Surprise. By then pitchers should be loose, hitters should be swinging, the squad should be comfortable with the new regime.  That’s when Rangers fans will have a much better idea of how close that sky really is to the ground.

Next: Tepesch Struggles in Spring Debut

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