Anthony Andro of the Star-Ledger reports that Ivan Rodriguez is going to catch the first pitch thrown out by Nolan Ryan before Game 3 of the World Series tomorrow.
Look, I know it’s Pudge, and that Pudge will always and forever thought of as a Ranger — and yes, I’m fully prepared to admit that I may be overrating — but does anyone else think it’s, well, sorta wrong for an active player under contract to be participating in pregame ceremonies for another team’s World Series game?
This is not like those situations in which a player — say, Derek Lowe, for example — takes part in his old team’s championship ring ceremony on Opening Day the next season. At least those guys were part of what is being celebrated. Rodriguez had nothing to do with the 2010 Texas Rangers’ success. He was the Nationals’ catcher and remains under contract with them for 2011. In very real terms he was competing against the Texas Rangers in 2010, in the same way all teams are competing with one another for the World Series title. Should he really be shaking hands, doing the photo ops and participating in the ceremony for the Rangers when he’s still a Nat?
I know Pudge is loved in Texas, but until he retires, he’s just a guy the Rangers used to know. And in some way, this feels like a guy inviting his ex-girlfriend to his wedding.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.