The Texas Rangers continue to be unsettled by a struggling bullpen, and they’re once again making a change at closer.
Manager Jeff Banister said Saturday that the team was removing Matt Bush from the closer’s role and going with a “no roles bullpen” for the foreseeable future.
Matt Bush won't be the #Rangers closer today and Jeff Banister said club is moving to a no roles bullpen at the moment.
— Stefan Stevenson (@StevensonFWST) July 1, 2017
Sam Dyson started the season as Texas’s closer, but was ultimately removed from the role in April after blowing three saves in six appearances, allowing 13 runs in 4.1 innings. Bush replaced him, blew four of 14 save opportunities in that span, and ultimately lost the job after giving up four hits and three earned runs to the Chicago White Sox in just a third of an inning on Friday.
The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros begin a four-game series on Monday, and Texas will have a little extra motivation entering the games.
According to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant, a tweet from Houston third baseman Alex Bregman that was sent on Sunday is being used by his opponents as bulletin board material.
Here’s a look at the tweet:
— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) April 30, 2017
The Rangers interpreted that tweet as an acronym to say “beat the s— out of the Rangers.”
Grant says the Rangers printed out a blown-up version of the tweet and had it on a bulletin board in the clubhouse and on card tables around the clubhouse.
Bregman is batting .250 to start the season for the Astros. His team entered the series leading the AL West with a 16-9 record, five games ahead of the Rangers.
The Texas Rangers have developed a reputation for producing jaw-dropping, gut-busting, over-sized food items at their ballgames, and this season will be no different.
Actually, there will be something new this year that is worth a headline — their 2-foot long, $27 tamale hot dog.
GuideLive.com says the Rangers will be selling an “MVT” at games this year that will feature their 24-inch “Boomstick” hot dog inside of a tamale. The “Most Valuable Tamale” as it’s known is topped with chili, nacho cheese and sour cream.
First, the M.V.T. (Most Valuable Tamale). It's a 24" tamale filled with a hotdog and covered with nacho cheese.
(Pic via Delaware North) pic.twitter.com/1HTDmBV7HV
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) March 27, 2017
If you’re planning on eating and ordering one of those, we recommend you bring an entire family and wear some pants with an elastic waistband.
Photo: Rich Anderson/Flickr
- Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers may have to prepare for their catcher to hit free agency at season’s end.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers have tabled contract talks with Jonathan Lucroy, potentially opening the door for his departure at season’s end.
In #Rangers contract extension news: Jonathan Lucroy says talks with him have been tabled. Nothing new on Yu Darvish extension.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) March 25, 2017
Lucroy was the Rangers’ big trade deadline acquisition last July, and has a long track record of being one of the game’s more reliable catchers. He hit 11 home runs in 47 games after the Rangers acquired him, and though the catcher position is demanding, he’s still fairly young by baseball standards at age 30.
It’s worth noting that Lucroy might not be the only big-name catcher hitting the open market at season’s end.
With Edwin Encarnacion off the table, the market for first baseman Mike Napoli seems to be developing more quickly.
According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Texas Rangers are the frontrunners for Napoli’s services.
The #Rangers are now considered front runners to land Mike Napoli
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) December 23, 2016
Napoli is coming off a resurgent season in which he hit 34 home runs for the Cleveland Indians en route to the American League pennant. He hit just .239, but with a .335 OBP, he still has solid on-base skills to go with that power. He has also played for Texas before, where he was very popular as part of another pennant winner in 2011. Regarded as a good teammate, it’s probably no coincidence that his former teams have all looked into bringing him back into the fold.
The Texas Rangers are keeping one eye on the Edwin Encarnacion situation.
The free agent slugger remains without a team, but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels didn’t rule out a pursuit.
— Casey Stern (@CaseyStern) December 14, 2016
Translation: it’s all about the money. The Rangers likely see Encarnacion as too expensive at the moment, but if he remains on the market with only modest interest and his price tag comes down, Texas may engage in some negotiations.
It remains unclear where Encarnacion could land. The Toronto Blue Jays remain in touch, and this team has also been linked. What is clear is that his market hasn’t developed like he hoped it would, and that’s why teams like the Rangers are lurking on the periphery.
At least four Texas Rangers prospects could be facing charges in the Dominican Republic over an alleged hazing incident involving an underage teammate.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported on Monday that a group of players are expected to be charged for allegedly holding down a teammate and masturbating him. The players who have been questioned include the younger brother of Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, also named Rougned, and 19-year-old catching prospect Yohel Pozo. The players involved have been ordered to not leave the Dominican Republic.
More from Passan:
Video of the alleged assault, which took place toward the end of October, was captured and posted on Snapchat, according to sources. A 10-second clip of video, obtained by Yahoo Sports, shows the alleged victim in a Rangers shirt and Rangers shorts laying on a bed with his arms held behind his back and his legs pinned down. At least four men are seen in addition to the alleged victim, whose penis is exposed, grabbed and maneuvered underneath a hand towel. All of the men in the video, including the alleged victim, are seen laughing.
The alleged assault was one of a number of hazing incidents of Venezuelan and Colombian players, some of whom were younger than 18, according to sources. More tenured players shaved the head of at least one new player and forced at least one other to take his clothes off, and sources said police are investigating at least one more allegation of forced masturbation.
The Rangers reported the alleged incident immediately after a staff member informed the team of it, and the players were questioned by Dominican police on Nov. 9. The players have been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, and the team issued the following statement to Yahoo Sports:
“The Texas Rangers became aware of an incident at our Academy in the Dominican Republic and we acted promptly to open an investigation. We have reported the incident and are cooperating fully with Major League Baseball and the authorities in the Dominican Republic. With this being an ongoing investigation, we will have no further comment at this time.”