4 bench players in unconventional lineup Wednesday
By Dave Sessions
Special to MLB.com |
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister's lineup card in Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Mariners looked like it could have been left over from Spring Training, given the number of regulars he was resting. Banister emptied his bench and used all four of his reserve players, playing Ryan Rua at first base, Justin Ruggiano at left field, Bryan Holaday at catcher and Hanser Alberto at shortstop.
Holaday and Ruggiano -- who hit an RBI double -- made their Rangers debuts, and the unconventional lineup allowed Ian Desmond, a converted shortstop, to play in center field for the first time in his Major League career.
Desmond, who was 1-for-4 with a run scored, played in left the first two games and said he's getting used to being an outfielder.
"The little things are important to me -- backing up bases, making sure I'm backing up the other outfielders, staying alert to what situation's going on, where I'm going to throw the ball, when to be aggressive and when not to be with my arm," Desmond said. "All those things are coming, it's just a matter of time and a matter of experience."
The Rangers were facing a left-handed starter for the first time this season in Wade Miley, giving Banister another reason for putting the right-handed bench players in.
"They need to be able to find a rhythm coming out of Spring Training also," Banister said of his four bench players. "I think it benefits us to get those guys engaged … there's a certain rhythm that all players need to get, whether you're a bench player or whether you're a regular player. We don't have an off-day until the 18th, so the ability to create a day for some of those guys and allow our non-regulars to get the at-bats that are appropriate, it just seemed like today was the day."
• The Rangers are sponsoring 19-year-old NASCAR driver Brandon Jones' car in Friday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, wrapping the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in Rangers logos and colors and outfitting Jones in a fire suit designed to look like a Rangers uniform.
"It does look awesome, for sure," Jones said.
Jones threw out one of two ceremonial first pitches Wednesday and said it was his first Major League game.
• The morning after they seemed to exchange heated words on the field following a hit-by-pitch, Seattle manager Scott Servais and Banister had almost nothing to add regarding their abbreviated confrontation.
Both were diplomatic; Banister said, "Baseball can be played emotionally."
When asked if emotions would carry over from the previous night, Servais said simply, "I'm worried about our team, our 25 guys and our coaching staff, making sure we're ready to play every day. That's all I can really concern myself with."
• Holaday played at nearby TCU, winning the 2010 Johnny Bench Award given to college baseball's best catcher, and said he wasn't exactly sure how many friends he'd have in attendance to see his first game as a Ranger on Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm assuming my friends have jobs, so hopefully they're working," he said.
• The Rangers signed right-handed pitcher Burke Badenhop to a Minor League contract Wednesday. Badenhop pitched for Cincinnati in 2015, posting a 3.93 ERA in 66 1/3 relief innings. He was with Washington in Spring Training, but he did not make the big league club. In eight Major League seasons, Badenhop is 20-27 with a 3.74 ERA.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.