With the rain and gloom I decided to go downtown and see if I could fake my way in to the noon WBC game — Canada vs. Italy — without paying. I can’t just flash my credential because WBC credentialing is different than spring training credentialing and I missed that train a few weeks ago. Not that I’d prefer the press box. To be honest, I’d rather just hit the stands.
I got to Chase Field and the credential worked for parking — free spot in the media lot for the next 12 hours or so, babies — but it didn’t work at the gate. I suppose if I called some folks I could get some, but given that it’s only $15 general admission for this early game and given that I’m truly not going to cover it like a reporter I’d feel weird about it. I got a get-me-in ticket, camped out in a hotel lobby and I’m going to head into the park here in about a half hour for Canada-Italy. After that it’s USA-Mexico.
I may or may not have in-game posts here (depends on how well the internet works in the ballpark), but follow me on Twitter for in-game snark. I’ll have a big “my day at the WBC” post tomorrow or — depending on how ugly my night is and how bad my travel is tomorrow — on Monday.
Now, all I need to do is to figure out if I should by some Mexico merch for my anti-U.S. heel-turn before tonight’s game. Thoughts?
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.