Must-click link: Jonah Keri on the Rangers and pitching injuries

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Jonah Keri has a long, fascinating piece up today about the Texas Rangers and their approach to pitching and pitcher injury prevention. It’s not some analysis piece from afar: it’s based on his original
reporting and research conducted over the past year, and it’s a
must-read.

The short version: the Rangers have largely rejected the current dogma about babying pitchers and limiting their workload. Not that they’ve gone back to the 60s, mind you. Rather, they’ve started from scratch, thinking about what it really takes to pitch in the Texas heat and focus on the kinds of training and drills that make success in that environment — and in the modern offensive environment — more likely. Sprints instead of distance running. Throwing batting practice between starts. Figuring out each pitcher’s fatigue point rather than mindlessly deciding that everyone wears out at 100 pitches.

It’s probably too early to tell how successful these methods will ultimately be. My personal sense is that some pitchers will break no matter how much you baby them and others will last no matter how hard you work them because that’s just the way genes roll.  But as Keri notes, the Rangers aren’t content to treat pitcher usage like it was religion or something (“and thou shalt only throw 100 pitchers lest ye be damned”). They’re using reason and observation and are trying new things.

Clear some time this afternoon and give Jonah’s piece a read.

Angels sign Chris Carter to minor league contract

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The Angels have signed 1B/DH Chris Carter to a minor league contract, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes that Carter will earn a $1.175 million salary if he makes the major league roster and he can earn another $600,000 in incentives.

Carter, 31, struggled mightily with the Yankees last year before being released in July. He hit .201/.284/.370 with eight home runs and 26 RBI in 208 plate appearances. The Athletics signed him later that month, but spent the rest of his season with Triple-A Nashville.

The Angels dealt C.J. Cron to the Rays on Saturday, so Carter helps add depth in that area.