Thursday Newsletter time: Plan C at third base has become Plan A for Texas Rangers
Andy Ibanez benefited from an injury to Josh Jung and the trade of Isiah Kiner-Falefa to make the Opening Day roster.
If they’re being honest about their offseason planning, the Texas Rangers probably had Andy Ibanez listed as Plan C at third base.
Plan C is now Plan A, but Ibanez gave the Rangers some reason for optimism this spring with his all-around play. He wasn’t a liability defensively and is still working to be better, and he also batted .345.
Yeah, it was spring training and spring training is the worst time to evaluate players, but Ibanez has improved.
“If Andy does really well, both offensively and defensively, he could find himself playing pretty much most of the time,” manager Chris Woodward said.
“Andy's made a lot of progress there. I know he could play first and be versatile enough to go to the outfield if we needed him to. He's played really good at second base, but right now I really wanted him to focus just to see what it looks like when he's focused on one spot.”
The Rangers have new Plans B, C and D should Ibanez struggle. Plan B is Brad Miller, who for now will be in a platoon with Nick Solak in left field. Next up would be Davis Wendzel and Josh Smith at Triple A Round Rock.
Wendzel and Smith were two of the Rangers’ best players in spring training but need more time in the minors. They are playing for Triple A Round Rock.
Meeting the media
Double A Frisco held its media day Wednesday, and our man John Moore was there.
It goes without saying that Jack Leiter, the 2021 first-round pick, was the star of the show. He will make his professional debut Saturday night at Riders Field.
Leiter is going to try to treat it like any other outing, he said while reaching into the big bag of pitching cliches. But he’s going into the start confident in his training and routine, and will try to narrow his focus to the moment instead of the big pitcture.
Off-speed pitches were his focus in spring training. His start Saturday will be his first since the 2021 College World Series in June.
“I’m pretty happy with the way it went,” Leiter said. “If I can prepare myself every week like I have in the past, positive or negative results, you can sleep well at night knowing you did everything you could to prepare.”
First baseman Blaine Crim, right-hander Zak Kent and left-handers Cody Bradford and Cole Ragans were among the other players at media day. Bradford, from Baylor, is scheduled to start the season opener Friday night.
Check out our videos from Frisco media day at the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast YouTube Channel (and subscribe for free).
The 2022 season starts Friday. It’s time to catch up on the final few days of spring training to get warmed up for the season opener. Here’s the latest from the Rangers Newsletter, in case you missed it.
T.R.’s Memoirs: Issues in center field
Dogs in my neighborhood early Wednesday morning, probably. Enjoy. See you Friday.