Inbox: Ogando a candidate to sub for Feliz?
Rangers beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers fans' questions
Why would the Rangers not use Alexi Ogando in the rotation while Neftali Feliz is out? He was an All-Star last year. With the bullpen in good shape, why not put him back in the rotation?
-- Mary P., Fort Worth, Texas
Ogando has not pitched more than two innings in a game since Spring Training, so he is not "stretched out." That means he is not ready to pitch at least five innings in a game. To get Ogando ready to start, the Rangers would probably have to send him to the Minor Leagues for two to three starts to get him ready for a return to the rotation.
At this point, the Rangers will likely give Scott Feldman a chance to fill in for Feliz and see if free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt will consider pitching for them. But if Feliz is going to be out for an extended period of time, the club will explore the possibility of putting Ogando in the rotation.
I've noticed Mike Adams' primary pitch has gone from a cutter to a sinker. Any insight on the reason for the change?
-- Eli H., Dallas
Both are fastballs. The cutter runs inside on left-handed hitters, and the sinker runs away from them. Adams said he was concerned about being too dependent on the cutter and wanted to make sure he could cover both sides of the plate. That's why he has gone to the sinker more lately.
I read and I hear about manager Ron Washington taking care of his players by giving them a day off here and there. Is Washington ever able to find the time to take care of himself, or is it a daily grind, even on the days when the team does not play? What does Wash do to keep himself fresh?
-- Ken B., Arlington
The manager knows how to take care of himself, for the most part. He works out every day and spends a couple of hours a day by himself listening to music and reading. He also helps hitting ground balls to his infielders almost every day and throws a round of batting practice, two other activities that help him relax.
It doesn't really make sense to me to pinch-hit Brandon Snyder for Mitch Moreland when Moreland was the only reason the Rangers had a chance in a 5-4 loss to the A's on May 17. I know it's a matchup thing, but that seems a little too much.
-- Adam T., White Oak, Texas
That was a 4-4 game at the time. The Rangers had two on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Snyder pinch-hit for Moreland, who had hit two home runs earlier in the game. Both were off Brandon McCarthy, a right-handed pitcher. The Athletics had brought in left-hander Jordan Noberto, who throws 95 mph with a good curve. Obviously, Washington wants the right-handed bat in there with a chance to win the game. That's Snyder's role, and the guy has been hitting well.
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I started thinking about all the times that the bat flies out of Josh Hamilton's hands and ends up in the stands. Let's say there is a situation where the batter wants his bat back, the fan does not want to give the bat back to the player and the team cannot negotiate a deal that is acceptable to the fan. Who has the legal right to the bat?
-- Tim K., Minneapolis
Legally? In my opinion, the hitter. It's his property, bought and paid for. A little old lady is walking down the street with a bag of groceries. She trips and falls, and a tub of ice cream rolls out of the bag right to you. Do you have a right to that ice cream?
Sure, you paid money for the ticket to the game and they announce that you have a right to keep any balls hit in the stands. They don't say the same about bats. That is the player's property. That's my unprofessional opinion, having never made it across the street to the University of San Francisco School of Law. The reality is that Hamilton usually lets the fan keep it or makes a nice offer that can't be refused.
As an avid Rangers fan, I wanted to know why baseball players spit so much. I played a lot of softball growing up on women's teams, as well as co-ed teams; I've never seen so much spitting in my life. Is it a male bonding thing or something? Pro baseball is a family game, and it would really be great to see this activity lessened and stopped, especially when I'm enjoying a fresh hot dog/hamburger. Please!
-- Jennifer F., Grand Prairie, Texas
Sometimes it's because they are chewing tobacco or some other diversionary delight. Now that the tobacco hit squads are intent on eradicating that egregious sin, maybe the spitting will subside. It may just seem more prevalent because television is so intent on showing so many closeups between pitches. Maybe they do it because there is so much time between pitches, which also gives players more time to spit. So the logical solution is less time between pitches so that we have fewer dramatic, tension-racked closeups on TV and less spitting.
Do you have any idea when 103.3 FM is going to realize that there are Rangers fans south of I-20 who want to listen to the games on the radio and do what they need to do to get a stronger signal? I'm tired of not being able to hear what's going on in the game because of static.
-- Beth V., Ennis, Texas
I have no idea why this inexplicable problem persists, but I'm still getting multiple complaints about it. Again, the best solution is Gameday Audio from MLB.com, which allows you to get every single Major League game -- not just the Rangers -- for $19.99 per season. That's the best solution.
Will Round Rock's Mike Bianucci or Tommy Mendonca ever fit into the Rangers' plans as an everyday player? Are they Triple-A players essentially?
-- Rick M., Gallatin, Tenn.
The All-Star Game will be in Kansas City this summer, and I'm predicting that Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will be there, so nobody should ever be resigned to being a "Triple-A" player, regardless of what the infallible scouting report suggests.
Bryan LaHair is hitting .310 with 10 home runs and 21 RBIs in 41 games with the Cubs after spending six seasons and 653 games at the Triple-A level. Both Bianucci and Mendonca have power in a game suddenly lacking such hitters. They both have work to do in cutting down strikeouts and eliminating holes in their swings and there is no room in Arlington for either right now, but this is hardly a now-or-never proposition.
It seems that Ian Kinsler has been striking out too much lately. They have mostly been on arguable third-strike calls, but is it safe to say that he is in a bit of a slump?
-- Daniel S., Denison, Texas
Kinsler had 15 walks against eight strikeouts in April and now has four walks against 15 strikeouts in May, so his pitch selection/recognition is definitely off. He struck out four times on Saturday against Houston, and a couple were on questionable check-swing calls. Is he in a slump? Half of the starting lineup seems to be struggling right now. It's been a tough month for several Rangers players.
I think Nelson Cruz has always been a streaky hitter, but when he's on a hot streak, does he still step away from the plate with his front foot and try to pull everything? How can a guy with such an open stance not realize he has to go the other way when the pitch is near the outside corner? He is standing way too far away from the plate. Why doesn't Washington bench him until he makes progress on technique in batting practice?
-- Ron K., Tunkhannock, Pa.
Going to an open stance is what helped Cruz turn his career around and become a productive Major League hitter. It allows him to see the ball better with both eyes and have better pitch recognition. The Rangers have been preaching to him the need to go the other way, and Cruz does understand the importance. He's just not getting it done as well as he has in the past.
As far as benching Cruz, if the Rangers sat everybody in a slump, Colby Lewis would be in the lineup. Washington does not "bench" players, especially those who helped the Rangers reach back-to-back World Series.
Elvis Andrus and Kinsler work really well together on turning double plays; who are some of the better keystone combos you've seen over the years?
-- Michael S., Texarkana, Texas
Tinker to Evers to Chance was the best, but they weren't much fun to interview.
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.