Cactus League: The Rangers Are 9-4

This is a little late, I know, but I wanted to offer up a few thoughts on the 5-4 win over Cleveland.

  • Martin Perez had his first official start of Spring Training today, although he's pitched in some minor league games prior to the outing. He went 4 strong innings on 48 pitches with only 1 earned run on 5 hits and 4 strikeouts. No walks. I had seen some concern expressed in recent days by some that Perez was seemingly getting hit hard in games, but he was solid today. Not only did he induce 5 groundouts, but he showed an ability to miss bats as well. That's Martin Perez at his best, and as we get closer to the games actually counting, I think we'll see closer to what we saw today after the real season begins.
     
  • Prince Fielder had his first home run of camp today. He was 2-for-2 on the day.
     
  • Joey Gallo decided to one-up Prince with home run of his own. He was 2-for-2 as well, and not that we're counting, but after a pretty slow start, Gallo now has his OPS up to 1.243. That's not really meaningful, except it means that he's not striking out nearly as much and when he's swinging, he's not missing the ball a whole lot. It's nice to see.
     
  • The more these games go on, the more I think it's going to be very difficult for the Rangers to keep Ryan Rua off of the roster. While these games may not actually count for anything in the standings, they absolutely mean everything to players like Rua who are fighting for a roster spot. He was 3-for-4 on the day, and his OPS is up to 1.288. Perhaps more noteworthy was that he played 1B, a position that just might put him over the top if he's able to handle it capably. The Rangers are certainly going to have times where they want to sit Mitch Moreland against left-handers, and if Rua can field the position when needed while also providing some pop from the right side of the plate, he's got some value. Combine that with the way he's hitting the ball right now, and I just think he's on his way to forcing the Rangers to keep him up for a second straight season.
     
  • I'm starting to wonder if the Rangers might actually end up keeping Pedro Ciriaco over Hanser Alberto. Alberto is only 23, and Texas might feel that he is best served getting everyday playing time at Triple-A Round Rock. I could be completely wrong on this, but it's a gut feeling, so I wanted to throw it out there.