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MLB announces Clemente Award nominees

Fan voting begins Wednesday for honor that recognizes community contributions

MLB announces Clemente Award nominees play video for MLB announces Clemente Award nominees

Major League Baseball and Chevrolet announced on Tuesday the names of the 30 club nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet, and fan voting will begin Wednesday, Roberto Clemente Day, to help decide who succeeds Carlos Beltran as the winner of the prestigious community honor handed out annually at the World Series.

American League nominees include Nick Markakis of Baltimore, Craig Breslow of Boston, Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox, Nick Swisher of Cleveland, Justin Verlander of Detroit, Jason Castro of Houston, Eric Hosmer of Kansas City, C.J. Wilson of the Los Angeles Angels, Glen Perkins of Minnesota, CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, Jed Lowrie of Oakland, Felix Hernandez of Seattle, Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay, Adrian Beltre of Texas and Todd Redmond of Toronto.

National League nominees include Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona, Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta, Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs, Skip Schumaker of Cincinnati, Michael Cuddyer of Colorado, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Steve Cishek of Miami, Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, David Wright of the New York Mets, Jimmy Rollins of Philadelphia, Charlie Morton of Pittsburgh, Jason Motte of St. Louis, Ian Kennedy of San Diego, Sergio Romo of San Francisco and Ian Desmond of Washington.

The award recognizes the MLB player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Each club nominates one team member in an effort to pay tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.

"I feel extremely proud of the support that Major League Baseball and Chevy provides to our communities," said Vera Clemente, Clemente's widow and an MLB goodwill ambassador who helps present the award each fall. "I know Roberto would be honored to know the way today's players support multiple causes. ... They are truly role models for today's generation."

This year's list includes seven 2014 All-Stars: Beltre, Goldschmidt, Hernandez, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Perkins and Rizzo. One of those, Kershaw could become the only two-time recipient of this award, having received it in 2012.

There were more than 1.3 million fan votes last year, and fans can start voting again on Wednesday at ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media. Voting ends on Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to next month's World Series.

The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel of dignitaries, which includes Commissioner Bud Selig; MLB chief operating officer and Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred; Vera Clemente; Hall of Fame Broadcaster and the Spanish Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers Jaime Jarrin; MLB Network analysts and former Clemente Award winners Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds (also of FOX Sports) and John Smoltz (also of FOX Sports); Hall of Famer, ESPN analyst and former Clemente Award winner Barry Larkin; ESPN analyst and former Clemente Award winner Rick Sutcliffe; FOX broadcaster Joe Buck; Hall of Famer and TBS analyst Dennis Eckersley; TBS analyst Ron Darling (also of MLB Network); MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley; a representative from Chevrolet and others.

Last month marked the 80th anniversary of Clemente's birth. What does it mean to carry on his legacy in this way? Recipients at each presentation always say that it is one of the most important honors of their careers, on or off the field. Just being one of these 30 nominees means a player has made a huge impact.

"When I was a kid, I always wanted to be like [Clemente] in one way, meaning having the opportunity to play baseball, having the opportunity to give back," Beltran said in his acceptance speech last year at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, where he was preparing for that night's World Series game against the Red Sox.

Willie Mays won the first Clemente Award in 1971 when it was known as the Commissioner's Award, recognizing community service around the game. He is one of 14 Hall of Famers on the distinguished list of recipients. After 1972, the award was dedicated in Clemente's name.

Clubs playing at home on Wednesday will recognize their nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while visiting clubs will honor their nominees before another September home game. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and the official dugout lineup cards.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Twenty-seven up and down: Evaluating Texas' position players

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have used 27 position players on a club that is going to finish with offensive numbers that haven't been seen in Arlington in more than three decades.

Some of those players are going to be with the Rangers for a long time. Some of them better be with Texas for a long time. Others will fade into footnote history.

As with the pitching staff, the Rangers have to decide this winter which ones to keep and which ones to discard. Some are not going to be difficult decisions either way.

A look at the 27 to this point, in no particular order.

Elvis Andrus: Three factors shaped the seaon for Andrus: being on a losing team, a different cast of characters around him and poor offseason preparation. But for the most part, Elvis is Elvis. What Andrus has done the past six years is pretty much what he is going to do for the next six seasons. A lot of time, effort and words have been wasted speculated on Andrus' potential and when he will reach it. The reality is he probably has. And it has been good enough in the past.

Adrian Beltre: The Rangers can void Beltre's $16 million contract for 2016 if he doesn't get to 1,200 plate appearances in 2014-15 or 600 plate appearance next season. He should have at least 600 plate appearances this season. Beltre's defensive numbers have improved from last season.

Prince Fielder: The Rangers are hoping the surgery to repair the herniated disk in his neck will help Fielder regain his power. The club has millions and millions riding on it.

Alex Rios: The Rangers have a $13.5 million option on Rios for 2015. The top free-agent outfielders are Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz, and then it falls off quickly: Michael Morse, Michael Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, Norichika Aoki. Tis not the offseason to be casually tossing aside productive outfielders on a manageable one-year contract.

Shin-Soo Choo: He had a difficult season because of his injuries. Thirty-something outfielders often do.

Leonys Martin: He has had hot streaks before, but Martin has started to take off since Tim Bogar took over as manager. It could be a coincidence, but it wouldn't be the first time a young player flourishes under a new manager.

Geovany Soto: It turns out Kurt Suzuki would have been the astute free-agent catcher to sign last winter.

J.P. Arencibia: He can't be a free agent for two more years unless he is non-tendered for the second straight offseason. That seems like a strong possibility.

Robinson Chirinos: This may be the most intriguing decision the Rangers make this winter. Chirinos will be one of Texas' catchers next season. The question is if the Rangers will commit to him as the No. 1 catcher, find someone to share the position with him or find somebody else to be a starter.

Mitch Moreland: A complete season remains an elusive goal for Moreland. But for every 700 plate appearances, he averages .252 with 80 runs scored, 31 doubles, 26 home runs, 84 RBIs, a .316 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage.

Rougned Odor: Odor can play, it's too bad the Rangers had to find out so quickly.

Adam Rosales: Anybody find out who had Adam Rosales in the August Player of the Month office pool?

Luis Sardinas: None of the Rangers' young infielders -- Sardinas, Odor or Jurickson Profar -- has reached their 22nd birthday. There is no law anywhere that says any or all have to be in the big leagues next year.

Michael Choice: This seemed like a great trade for the Rangers in the offseason. In 253 at-bats, Choice is hitting .182 with nine home runs, 36 RBIs, a .250 on-base percentage and a .320 slugging percentage. In Dean Palmer's rookie season in 1990, he had 268 at-bats and hit .187 with 15 home runs, 37 RBIs, a .281 on-base percentage and a .403 slugging percentage.

Jake Smolinski: A malicious injury on the part of the baseball gods.

Daniel Robertson: Craig Gentry without the tremendous physical attributes. The question is if clubs are willing to look past the physical part.

Ryan Rua: Multipositional players who can swing the bat are priceless. Rua is the kind of guy the Rangers needed in May and June.

Jim Adduci: He got the biggest chance of his career, he played his heart out, broke his left pinkie and suffered a concussion. Unbelievable.

Kevin Kouzmanoff: The highest batting average in Rangers history for a player with a minimum of 40 at-bats in a season is .362 by Kouzmanoff. That may the definition of irony or another indication of how Texas' season has gone.

Tomas Telis: He has handled himself well, but he probably needs more time in the Minors.

Josh Wilson: The Rangers' all-time most unlikely Opening Day starters: catcher Hal King (1972); designated hitter Kurt Bevacqua ('78); shortstop Mark Wagner ('82); pitcher Craig Lefferts ('95); left fielder Billy Hatcher ('95); third baseman Craig Worthington ('96); right fielder Warren Newson ('97); center fielder Bo Porter (2001); first baseman Ben Broussard ('08); second baseman Josh Wilson ('14).

Donnie Murphy: Anybody else notice he looks like Mark and Donnie Wahlberg?

Carlos Pena: As a parting gift, we have a home version of Beat the Clock.

Mike Carp: Were the Rangers really evaluating Carp for 2015 or just trying to tread water?

Chris Gimenez: He had a .280 batting average as a catcher for the Rangers. That's tied for the third-highest career average among Texas catchers with at least 90 at-bats, behind Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Napoli.

Brad Snyder: Want to be in the big leagues? Here's a first-base glove, you have 10 minutes to learn the position.

Guilder Rodriguez: Finally, a fun, positive story.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers' bats break out to finish sweep of Braves

Texas pushes across six runs in the fifth, giving Lewis plenty of room

Rangers' bats break out to finish sweep of Braves play video for Rangers' bats break out to finish sweep of Braves

ARLINGTON -- Before Sunday, the last time the Rangers swept a series, Alex Rios, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland were the 3-4-5 hitters, Martin Perez threw a shutout and Texas improved to six games above .500.

That was five months ago. All those key players, and many more, have since been lost to season-ending injuries and the Sept. 14 Rangers look hardly anything like the April 23 Rangers who swept the A's in Oakland. Nonetheless, when Sunday's 10-3 victory over the Braves was over, the Rangers could finally celebrate a sweep again even if all it did was get them back to 35 games under .500.

The Rangers gave up just six runs in three games thanks to strong outings from starters Derek Holland, Lisalverto Bonilla and Colby Lewis, who allowed one run in seven innings Sunday.

"We haven't had a lot of positive to lay our hats on and this was a big deal for us," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "That's a good team over there and we ended up getting three great pitching performances in a row and it gave us the opportunity to get the sweep."

Second baseman Luis Sardinas -- who had been in the Majors all of three days when the Rangers swept Oakland -- went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, the first multi-RBI game of his career in his 36th big league contest.

"Of course it was a good day for me," Sardinas said. "The first thing is I was having a good day with my at-bats. It's been a long time since we've scored that many runs. For us to have men on base and bring them in was something we haven't done lately so that was a good day."

Lewis pitched admirably in seven innings, allowing only Ryan Doumit's seventh-inning solo homer. Lewis scattered five hits, walked one and struck out two.

"He wanted to keep going and he was strong enough to do that," Bogar said. "Watching Colby go out there and pitch the way he was capable of just makes you really understand what kind of guy he is and how important he is to this team."

The Braves left seven men on base Sunday and had men in scoring position in each of the first five innings against Lewis.

"We had our opportunities," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "We hit balls hard, innings one through nine. It was just one of those things that seemed like they were in the right place… I felt like we had pitches to hit all day and we just didn't hit them today."

The Rangers scored three runs or less in 13 of the past 14 games, a stretch in which they averaged just 2.1 runs per game. So a double-digit offensive outburst was a welcome surprise.

Texas got production out of the bottom of the lineup, with the combination of Adam Rosales, Sardinas and Michael Choice reaching base the first nine times they came to the plate. They scored a combined five runs in the first five innings before Choice departed with a strained left hamstring sustained as he headed to second on a two-run double.

Sardinas scored the game's first run after reaching on a fielder's choice. No. 9 hitter Choice, who entered Sunday hitting .176, ripped a ball to the gap in left field; left fielder Justin Upton kicked it toward center trying to field it on the run and Choice was credited with an RBI triple.

Rosales singled and scored from first in the fourth inning, barreling home on Sardinas' double to right. Sardinas added a two-run double in the sixth in his final at-bat.

"It was really nice to see him swing the bat well," Bogar said. "Right-handed it looks like his swing's a little bit stronger, so it was really nice to see him get that left-handed base hit up the middle at the end of the game and give him some confidence left-handed. He's got survival skills. He's a kid that can go up there and battle and battle and maybe get a little bit abused early, but he makes adjustments really fast."

In the fifth, Robinson Chirinos drove in Ryan Rua, who had doubled, with a broken-bat single. Atlanta starter Mike Minor departed after walking Chirinos, the next batter, and the Rangers piled on relievers David Hale and James Russell for five more runs in the inning to put the game away.

"It's easy to go out there and throw strikes after that," Lewis said.

In the end, the combination of an effective Lewis and a prolific offense gave the Rangers the kind of win they haven't had in a long time.

"It's been awhile," Lewis said.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Choice strains left hamstring, will undergo MRI

Choice strains left hamstring, will undergo MRI play video for Choice strains left hamstring, will undergo MRI

ARLINGTON -- Rangers right fielder Michael Choice was carried off the field by an athletic trainer and manager Tim Bogar after the rookie pulled up lame with a strained left hamstring on his way to second base on his two-run double in the fifth inning Sunday.

Choice is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday and, if the injury is serious, could be done for the season with only 13 games left.

Choice grabbed the back of his left leg a little more than halfway to second and limped to the bag. He was quickly removed from the game in favor of pinch-runner Daniel Robertson, who remained in right field.

Choice is hitting just .182 in 86 games this season, but was having one of his best days at the plate all season before he was injured. He was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, the second-most of his career.

Choice, 24, attended high school at nearby Mansfield Timberview and played for UT-Arlington just down the road from Globe Life Park. He was acquired from Oakland in the offseason in a trade for outfielder Craig Gentry.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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With Baker out, Bonilla likely earns another start

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ARLINGTON -- After earning the victory over the Braves in his first Major League start on Saturday, Lisalverto Bonilla will likely get at least one more start for the Rangers.

Bonilla, who became the 22nd Rangers pitcher to earn a victory this season, tossed six innings Saturday, allowing two earned runs on four hits and four walks. He was filling in for Scott Baker, who was scratched with triceps tendinitis.

"It's kind of looking like Bonilla's going to get another chance," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "He faced a pretty good lineup with the Braves and if it comes to it, he's going to face the Angels [on Friday] and that's going to be a real big test. That would be nice to see."

Baker doesn't appear to be ready to return, Bogar said.

"I talked to him a little bit, he's still sore, he's still dealing with it, and at this point, he's got to get out there and be able to throw and that's in five days or six days, so you don't know what's going to happen," Bogar said. "I respect the way he's gone about his business this year. He's done everything for us so we need to take care of him as much as he needs to take care of us."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers turn to Tepesch for opener in Oakland

Rangers turn to Tepesch for opener vs. AL Wild Card leaders

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The Athletics will be playing a Rangers team that has the worst record in the Major Leagues -- but that doesn't mean Oakland will be taking Texas lightly.

With the A's trying to stave off the Royals and the Mariners in the American League Wild Card race, every game has playoff implications. That will be the case when the A's begin a three-game set with the Rangers on Tuesday at the O.co Coliseum.

The A's are just 7-5 against the Rangers this season.

"A lot was made of the schedule in the second half, and it's all about how you're playing. We take nothing for granted," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "The White Sox weren't playing great, and we ended up losing three out of four, so a Major League team is a Major League team, and we have to play our best to beat them."

The A's will send Scott Kazmir to the mound. The lefty is 1-3 with a 8.20 ERA in his last four starts. He's had success against the Rangers in his career, though, going 8-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 16 starts.

Nick Tepesch will get the start for the Rangers, and with no more than three starts left in his season, he's looking to build on the progress he's made.

In his second Major League season, Tepesch is 4-10, but he improved his ERA from 4.86 in 2013 to a 4.47 mark this year, and he has strung together several strong performances in the final months of 2014.

Tepesch has a 3.89 ERA over 41 2/3 innings in seven starts since the beginning of August.

"I think I've gotten to know myself better," Tepesch said. "I definitely feel like I'm better than where I started the year at, or even two months ago. I feel like I'm a better pitcher."

Tepesch had a subpar start last time out, when he allowed three earned runs on 10 hits in only 4 2/3 innings in an 8-1 loss to the Angels last week. 

"I had a bad first inning," said Tepesch, who gave up two runs on four hits in the frame. "Really after that, I made better pitches."

Rangers: Smolinski close, Mikolas may be done
Rangers outfielder Jake Smolinski, who has been out since July 22 with a fractured left foot, was scheduled to run the bases Sunday in a final test before being cleared to return to game action.

"If he passes that test, he's a player by Tuesday," manager Tim Bogar said.

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (right shoulder fatigue) may not pitch again this season. His last start was Aug. 25.

"If he can't continue to throw it doesn't look like with the limited amount of games we have left that you'd probably see him," Bogar said.

Athletics: Vogt's injury continues to linger
The A's are unlikely to have Stephen Vogt back in their lineup for the start of their final regular-season homestand Tuesday.

Vogt has already missed more than a week's worth of games because of a sprained left ankle suffered Sept. 3, and Melvin suggested he's not yet close to returning, though he didn't rule that happening on the homestand.

"I hope so," Melvin said when asked if Vogt might return before the A's hit the road again on Sept. 25. "Yesterday he was a little bit sore, based on what they had him do the day before. But I said from the beginning this may be a while. I'm almost positive he won't be available the day we get back, and a lot of times with these type of things, there is one day that maybe gets you going in the right direction. He's not there yet.

"He's trying to keep himself as ready as he can, but if he was sitting here today, in an emergency situation, he wouldn't be able to play."

Worth noting
• A's catcher Geovany Soto (back spasms) felt much better Sunday and is expected to be available Tuesday.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Bogar believes club can finish strong against contenders

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ARLINGTON -- Coming off a rare series win over the Braves, the Rangers are beginning to see some positives at the end of a relentlessly negative season.

As his team prepares to embark on a road swing against playoff contenders in Oakland and Anaheim, interim manager Tim Bogar believes the Rangers are capable of a decent showing in the final 13 games of the year -- 10 of which are against playoff-contending teams.

"I think we can finish strong, I really do," Bogar said. "I think we can play well from here on out."

Bogar felt like his team played reasonably well despite being swept by the Angels at home in the series before the Braves came to town.

"The Angels are the best team in baseball … It's quite obvious their lineup's a little bit better than ours, but our guys aren't approaching it like we're just going to lay down and die for them," Bogar said. "We feel like if we play well and we don't make mistakes, we've got a chance to win."

With such a young, inexperienced group on the field every night, Bogar is looking beyond the scoreboard to evaluate his club.

"I don't think at this point, that's the true judge of this team," Bogar said, "I think it's when you watch the quality of baseball that they play every night. We might not win a game, we might win a game, but how do we win it? Do we do the things right like we've talked about -- the situational hitting, the bullpen has been fantastic … the starting pitching's been really good."

The Rangers went 3-5 in Bogar's first eight games, batting .233 as a team with a 4.13 team ERA.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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After Rangers miss on review, Braves get call overturned

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers unsuccessfully challenged a play at first base in the second inning Sunday, when Leonys Martin was picked off by Braves pitcher Mike Minor for the third out. Two innings later, the Braves had a call overturned as Andrelton Simmons threw out Luis Sardinas trying to advance from second to third base after Sardinas was originally called safe.

Martin dove back behind the bag and reached out to tag the bag with his right hand, but was called out by first-base umpire Adrian Johnson. Interim Rangers manager Tim Bogar challenged the ruling, but after a review of 2 minutes, 8 seconds, the ruling on the field stood.

The play ended a potential rally as the Rangers would have had men on first and third had the call been reversed.

The Braves' challenge was a much quicker one, lasting just 47 seconds. Michael Choice hit a routine ground ball to Simmons at shortstop, who fired to third baseman Phil Gosselin. Sardinas was called safe at third before Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez successfully challenged the play.

Instead of having runners on the corners with one out and the top of the Rangers' lineup coming up, they had just the man on first with two out. Braves left-hander Mike Minor got out of the inning without allowing the Rangers to extend their 2-0 lead.

Christian Corona is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers fend off no-hit bid to down Braves

Bonilla allows two runs over six innings to pick up first MLB win

Rangers fend off no-hit bid to down Braves play video for Rangers fend off no-hit bid to down Braves

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Tim Bogar said on Friday that he would be "ecstatic" if Lisalverto Bonilla could go five innings in his first Major League start on Saturday.

So what's the next level of emotion beyond ecstatic, after Bogar watched Bonilla go six innings and earn his first Major League win in a 3-2 victory over the Braves at Globe Life Park?

"I don't know ... amazed," Bogar said.

That's one way to describe it. Bonilla simply stated the obvious after his first big league start.

"It was something that was big for me," Bonilla said after the Rangers won their second straight game and put themselves in position for their first series sweep since April 21-23.

"He threw a tremendous game," reliever Neal Cotts said. "I don't know what the expectations were, as far as pitch counts. But he competed and kept us in the game. The offense came through and he got a win."

Cotts, with Neftali Feliz unavailable after working two straight games, retired the side in the ninth for his first save of the season and third of his career. He did so on an afternoon in which rookie pitchers retired 23 of 27 outs for the Rangers. Rookies also accounted for two of their three hits.

"They are doing a lot better," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "By now, they have a little more experience and they are starting to figure it out in the field. That's what we want. It has been a tough year, but as long as we keep playing hard to the last day of the season, that's what you want."

Bonilla, who had made just two relief appearances in the Majors since being called up on Sept. 2, did most of the work, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked four, struck out three and threw just 78 pitches in place of Scott Baker.

"I saw him, at first, being a little erratic trying to get comfortable, trying to settle in," Braves outfielder Jason Heyward said. "Obviously, he settled down and made some pitches. I would say he was wild effectively today -- not in the worst way, though. He was around the plate enough and was off the plate enough."

Bonilla had to step it up because Braves starter Julio Teheran held the Rangers hitless through 5 1/3 innings. Then, the Rangers broke through with three unearned runs in the sixth inning and their young pitchers made it stand up.

The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the third inning with three straight two-out hits. Emilio Bonifacio singled, stole second and scored on a single by Phil Gosselin. Freddie Freeman then sliced a high fly ball down the left-field line that fell for a double, bringing home Gosselin.

That was it off of Bonilla, who allowed just one infield single over his final three innings and retired the last seven batters he faced.

"I was really happy with how he did," Bogar said. "He walked four left-handers, but, for the most part, he pounded the strike zone. It was a pretty exciting game for him. He was using his offspeed pitches to get the outs. He threw his slider very well and used his changeup. If he is locating his fastball and getting it over, it makes the other stuff better -- and he did that today."

Teheran took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, before Luis Sardinas broke it up with a one-out single. After Michael Choice popped out, Leonys Martin hit a fly ball to shallow left that Justin Upton dropped for an error. That left runners on first and second with two outs.

Andrus then singled to drive home one run and Rougned Odor doubled to deep left-center to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

"Teheran was pitching good," Odor said. "We had to make some adjustments, and we were able to get him."

Bonilla left after six. Roman Mendez took over and pitched a scoreless seventh. The Rangers retired the Braves in order in the eighth, as Mendez, Michael Kirkman and Spencer Patton each retired one hitter, leaving the ninth inning to Cotts.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers set rotation amid pitching questions

Rangers set rotation amid pitching questions play video for Rangers set rotation amid pitching questions

ARLINGTON -- Lisalverto Bonilla started for the Rangers on Saturday, while Robbie Ross remained in the bullpen.

Manager Tim Bogar said people shouldn't read too much into that. The Rangers want to look at Bonilla, and he was the logical choice to go when Scott Baker was scratched. If Baker, who has right triceps tendinitis, isn't ready to go next Friday against the Angels, Ross will get consideration for that start.

But the Rangers still have to decide this winter if they'll keep Ross in the bullpen -- where he has had the most success -- or continue to give him a chance to start.

"I like him as a bullpen guy -- and that's what, to me, we should focus on," Bogar said. "But we'll have those discussions when the season is over."

Ross was the Rangers' top left-handed reliever in 2012-13, before winning a spot in the rotation in Spring Training. He made nine starts and was 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA before being moved back to the bullpen. He was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he was used as a starter. He was 4-4 with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts there, including 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA in his last six.

"Being in the bullpen is not a bad place to be, but I would like to start," Ross said. "I feel like going back to Triple-A and figuring it out, I took the right steps -- and I'd like to continue in that direction."

The Rangers have a long line of hopefuls for a rotation that begins with Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. Much depends on what happens with some of the injured pitchers -- including Matt Harrison and Miles Mikolas -- and if the Rangers will be serious bidders for the top free-agent starters.

This will be an unusually strong class of free-agent starting pitchers, including Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields and Ervin Santana. Colby Lewis is also a free agent, and is hoping to return. The feeling may be mutual.

"I would love to have him back," Bogar said.

Ross was 10-2 with a 2.62 ERA over 123 games as a reliever for the Rangers in 2012-13, with opponents hitting .245 off him. This season he is 2-6 with a 6.53 ERA, with opponents hitting .325 off him.

"We'll see what happens," Ross said. "I'd like to be a starter, but we'll see how the rest of the season goes. Take it a day at a time and see what happens."

Lewis will pitch on Sunday against the Braves. The Rangers are off on Monday, and Nick Tepesch will open the three-game series against the Athletics on Tuesday in Oakland.

The Rangers will then follow with Holland on Wednesday and Nick Martinez on Thursday. Texas is moving Holland ahead of Martinez and pitching him on five days' rest. Martinez, who pitched on Friday, is getting extra rest, but either way both should get three starts before the season is over.

Friday is open, but Baker is still the Rangers' first choice if the inflammation in his triceps subsides.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked

Verses that became National anthem celebrates 200 years, is part of baseball's fabric

Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked play video for Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked

Francis Scott Key never got to see a big league baseball game. He died in 1843, some 26 years before the first professional team was established. But you can imagine his joy if he did get that chance. These days, he'd probably sit in a shiny bleacher seat, waiting for a batting-practice homer with a soft, weathered glove raised high ... in his non-writing hand. Maybe he'd inhale a hot dog while jotting down a few pretty lines for his next song. That would come about an hour before he'd hear the iconic bars of his first one, which, contrary to American lore, does not end with the words, "Play Ball." Odds are he'd be pretty happy at the twilight's last gleaming.

This weekend, the celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," is on, and Key's memory is being rightly feted for his poetic description from the "dawn's early light" of Sept. 14, 1814, at the height of the War of 1812.

Hours after being stuck on a ship in Baltimore Harbor as the British pounded Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore, Key saw the skies clear from the smoke and the indelible image that "our flag was still there."

The verses were called "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," and it was put to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven," a British drinking song purportedly written by John Stafford Smith that had been composed more than 30 years earlier and served as the theme of the Anacreontic Society of London, a men's club of amateur musicians.

Soon after Key wrote the words, a local newspaper gave it the title "The Star-Spangled Banner," and in 1931, it became our official anthem. All the while, another grand tradition steeped in collective nostalgia and American togetherness -- the game of baseball -- was steaming along, gaining prominence in our country's conscience.

Not surprisingly, the national anthem and the National Pastime became stitched together forever, like red laces in white horsehide.

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, the playing of the national anthem before big league games did not become an everyday tradition until 1942. Taking that into account (and including a slight margin of error based on the lack of documentation regarding split doubleheaders in the earlier days), the Star-Spangled Banner has been heard right before the first pitch of at least the last 121,000 games. Oh, say can you see, indeed.

So with that in mind, 200 years after the night a 35-year-old Washington, D.C.-based attorney known to friends as Frank found himself under a war-torn sky, with honor in his heart and a pen in his hand, we go around the horn with nine things to know about "The Star-Spangled Banner" and its now-eternal link to the national pastime.

1. A first for everything
The first time the song was played at a baseball game was May 15, 1862, at William Cammeyer's Union Grounds park in Brooklyn. It had been converted from an ice skating venue into a field for summer sports, including what, at the time, was known as "base ball." In the midst of the Civil War, a band played "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The first big league Opening Day to feature the eventual anthem took place in Philadelphia on April 22, 1897. The New York Tribune newspaper included a brief and lyrical account of the game: "Opening Day here was a great success. The weather was delightful and the attendance numbered 17,074. The players paraded across the field, company front, and then raised the new flag, while the band played 'The Star Spangled Banner.' "

In spite of all the pageantry, there had to be some accounting for the four errors that led the Phillies to a 5-1 victory over the Giants at the Baker Bowl.

"The game was rather dull and long-drawn out," the article read, "and on the part of the New-Yorkers was somewhat unsteadily played."

2. An unforgettable rendition
The first national anthem played at a World Series game occurred on Sept. 5, 1918, during World War I, when Major League players were in the midst of being drafted into service. The regular season was ordered by the government to be completed by Labor Day, hence the Fall Classic that year was played in September.

The Cubs borrowed Comiskey Park from the White Sox to take advantage of the larger seating capacity, but things got quiet in Game 1, a 1-0 shutout by Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth. But that game will be forever remembered for what occurred in the seventh inning.

That was when the military band on hand struck up "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the song took on a different meaning. Red Sox third baseman Fred Thomas, for example, was on furlough from the Navy, and he saluted the flag during the playing of the song.

And then the crowd caught on. The New York Times opened its account of the game by writing, "Far different from any incident that has ever occurred in the history of baseball was the great moment of the first world's series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, which came at Comiskey Park this afternoon during the seventh-inning stretch" and then continued with the play-by-play … of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"First the song was taken up by a few, then others joined, and when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field. It was at the very end that the onlookers exploded into thunderous applause and rent the air with a cheer that marked the highest point of the day's enthusiasm."

The Cubs and Red Sox repeated the tradition for the rest of the Series.

3. Making it official
Even though the Secretary of the Navy in 1889 had designated "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the official song to be played at the raising of the flag, and even though President Woodrow Wilson, a huge baseball fan himself, treated it and referred to it as our national anthem, it had failed to stick in Congress after numerous attempts in the 1920s.

Baseball's increased use of the song prior to games, a petition with millions of signatures, and a nice little push from noted composer John Philip Sousa helped finally get the job done on March 3, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover signed into law the establishment of the song as the official national anthem of the United States of America.

4. A lasting tradition
"The Star-Spangled Banner" still wasn't being played before every baseball game in 1941, but on April 26, 1941, the ball got rolling in the Bronx. As The New York Times reported, "With more war new in the making, president Ed Barrow of the Yankees ordered that 'The Star-Spangled Banner' be played before all games at the Stadium.

"Meanwhile, all continued to go well for the Yankees and [Joe] DiMaggio. He singled home a run in the first and scored twice as New York beat Washington 8-3 for its fourth straight victory."

By the following year, with the country deep in World War II, the anthem became the daily staple of baseball that we know today.

And DiMaggio was still hitting.

5. Controversy hits the field
It was October 1968, and the country was fighting in Vietnam and had already lived through the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that year. Protests were boiling over in the streets at home, and the Detroit Tigers were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Jose Feliciano was a 23-year-old blind folk singer from Puerto Rico who had scored a hit on the U.S. charts with a cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire," and Tigers radio legend Ernie Harwell invited him to sing the national anthem at Tiger Stadium prior to Game 5.

Feliciano was accompanied in left field by his acoustic guitar and his guide dog, Trudy, and he launched into an emotional, heartfelt, and, well, different version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." He strummed the guitar in a slightly syncopated, Latin-influenced rhythm, careened back and forth from the traditional vocal melody to something more adventurous, and offered the finishing flourish of "Yeah, yeah."

It was bold and innovative and fresh, but it was also many years ahead of its time. Feliciano was booed heartily by the crowd and caused a public uproar that took years to live down.

"Back then, when the anthem was done at ballgames, people couldn't wait for it to be over," Feliciano told The Guardian last month. "And I wanted to make them sit up and take notice and respect the song. I was shocked when I was booed. I felt, 'God, what have I done wrong?' All I was trying to do was create a soulful rendition. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was going to have the country against me, radio stations stop playing me.

"But in part, it was good -- because I ended up meeting my wife. She couldn't understand the injustice and started a fan club, even though we'd never met. We fell in love and the rest is history."

On Oct. 14, 2012, prior to Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the same stylized, heartfelt version of the national anthem was performed by Feliciano on his acoustic guitar.

This time the crowd roared.

6. "O"-dience participation
The anthem itself is a tradition, and at Oriole Park in Camden Yards in Baltimore, there's a tradition baked into the tradition. When the song rounds third base and heads for home with, "O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave," the crowd screams the "O" together, celebrating their beloved O's.

This started at the old Memorial Stadium in the club's pennant-winning season of 1979. Out in Section 34 of the upper deck, Orioles superfan Wild Bill Hagy would lead fans in chants of O-R-I-O-L-E-S, with the emphasis on the "O." Mary Powers sat nearby and took the inspiration to another level.

"We would accentuate the 'O' in any word that would have an 'O,' and one night when they were playing the anthem, I thought, 'There's an 'O!' in this song,' and the first time I did it, I remember people turning around and looking like, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe she just did that,' " Powers recently told WBAL-TV.

"Well, Wild Bill had a little grin on his face, so the next night, he did it with me, and once he put his blessing on it, everybody started to do it."

Orioles fans still do it -- loudly -- and will likely be doing it in October this year.

7. Setting the (low) Barr
We all know now that Feliciano's rendition was eventually respected, if not appreciated. We all also know now that the version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" performed by comedian Roseanne Barr before a Padres-Reds doubleheader at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego on July 25, 1990, was not.

Barr screeched a fast, off-key rendition of the anthem that drew loud boos midway through, and when she was finished, she grabbed her crotch and spit, as if to mimic a ballplayer. The joke bombed, she was lambasted all over TV and in the newspapers, and she inspired President George H. W. Bush to call the whole act "disgraceful."

Bush's comment was met with bipartisan approval.

8. A hymn of healing
The horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the United States forever, but not only in tragic ways. The courage, brotherhood and human decency shown that day in New York, Washington, D.C., and on a hijacked airplane that would crash in a Pennsylvania field showed our country's strength and will to persevere.

The emotion was palpable 10 days later when the Mets played the Braves at Shea Stadium in the first professional sporting event in New York City since the attacks. Marc Anthony delivered a somber rendition without musical accompaniment and the game was played quietly until the eighth inning, when Piazza's two-run home run gave the Mets the lead and got the crowd going again.

"I remember standing on the line during the national anthem -- actually when the bagpipes and band came out -- I said to myself, 'Please, God, give me the strength to get through this,' " Piazza told the New York Daily News in 2008. "I was fortunate to find the strength to hit a home run in that situation. I'm flattered, I'm honored that people put that moment as a time where it helped the city at least have a little bit of joy in a really tough week."

9. 200 and many more
Every year now, we're treated to incredible musical talent on the baseball field. From the seasoned operatic pipes of longtime Yankees national anthem singer Robert Merrill to commercial acts James Taylor, Paul Simon, Sammy Davis Jr., John Legend, Lyle Lovett, the Grateful Dead, Slash from Guns N' Roses, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, Idina Menzel, Kelly Clarkson and countless others, it's now a grand American tradition to bring out the best in the business to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the biggest baseball games.

But Sunday, the song itself will shine.

At Fort McHenry in Baltimore, a real-time anniversary program will kick off, with artillery salutes, a reading of the song's four stanzas and a replica 15-star, 15-stripe flag raising at precisely 9 a.m. to commemorate the history that Key had witnessed.

And MLB teams playing at home will show a special video montage of "The Star-Spangled Banner." In conjunction with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the program Great Performances, Maryland Public Television has provided the montage originally seen in the PBS production Star-Spangled Banner: The Bicentennial of our National Anthem to the ballparks and to MLB.com and all 30 club websites and official MLB social media channels.

Fittingly, the last game on Sunday will be played at Camden Yards, about three miles away from Fort McHenry, and fittingly, the Orioles will play the Yankees.

We all know what song we'll hear right before the first pitch.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Holland twirls gem as Rangers edge Braves

Chirinos' single in eighth deals blow to NL Wild Card hopefuls

Holland twirls gem as Rangers edge Braves play video for Holland twirls gem as Rangers edge Braves

ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Derek Holland had to hang a Notre Dame flag from his locker and wear a Fighting Irish T-shirt with the familiar leprechaun to his postgame news conference. Turns out outfielder Daniel Robertson is a Notre Dame football fan and won a bet when the Irish beat Holland's beloved Michigan Wolverines last week.

That was the only sporting event Holland has lost in the past seven days. On the baseball field, everything continues better than anybody could have hoped for in his long-awaited knee surgery. The left-hander allowed one run over seven innings for the third straight outing and put the Rangers in position to pull one out in the eighth inning for a 2-1 victory over the Braves on Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Rookie right-hander Phil Klein, one of three relievers used in the eighth, retired two of three batters faced to get out of a jam and ended up getting his first Major League victory. Neftali Feliz set down the side in order in the ninth for his ninth save.

"It was fun. The crowd was really into it," Klein said. "I just tried to make my pitches and get out of the jam. Derek threw a great game, I wanted to see if I could get us out of it, have us score and turn it over to Neftali."

He did, and Feliz has been successful on six straight save opportunities. He has also not allowed a run in his last seven appearances.

"Derek threw a very good game," Feliz said. "I just came in, threw all of my pitches and kept the ball down. The more I throw … I'm getting better and better."

The Rangers put the winning run across in the eighth on three straight two-out singles by Adrian Beltre, Ryan Rua and Robinson Chirinos off Braves reliever David Carpenter. Chirinos delivered his game-winning single in his first game after missing 12 days with a stiff neck.

"We were having some pretty good at-bats," Chirinos said. "I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit and hit a line drive. It's good to be back. … Thank God I had a chance to win the game."

Rua was 2-for-4 with a double and a single, and he also drove in the Rangers' first run with a grounder in the sixth inning, He is 9-for-23 with five RBIs in his last seven games and has seven of the Rangers' last 24 RBIs.

"It has been good so far," Rua said. "I'm getting more and more confident with every single game. I haven't seen these pitchers before, so I'm trying to take short quick swings and barrel up the ball."

Holland had to pitch out of some jams as he allowed eight hits while striking out six. The Braves were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and much of that came with Holland getting out of trouble in the middle innings.

"He just got more intensity," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "He realized right there that he had to make pitches. That just shows how Derek goes after things every day. We weren't probably going to score a lot of runs off [Braves starter Alex Wood] and he stepped up and did what he had to do."

Holland did not walk a batter for the third straight start and has gone 21 consecutive innings without allowing one. The club record is 29 by Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1977. 

Holland is also the second Rangers pitcher to have three straight starts of seven or more innings and no walks. Ferguson Jenkins did so in 1978 while compiling a streak of 28 consecutive innings without a walk.

"That's the thing I'm most happy about is no walks," Holland said. "I'm making my pitches and letting my guys behind me make the plays."

Wood also went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers remain shorthanded in the outfield

Rangers remain shorthanded in the outfield play video for Rangers remain shorthanded in the outfield

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers went into Friday's game against the Braves without a healthy outfielder on the bench. That's unusual in June, it's almost unprecedented in September when the rosters are expanded.

The Rangers' chances of changing that depend on how soon Alex Rios, Jake Smolinski and Jim Adduci come back from the injuries. Right now, Smolinski is the closest, Adduci remains literally in the dark and Rios may have played his last game of the season.

Rios has been dealing with a badly bruised thumb for most of the second half and has been sidelined for a week because of an infection that developed. Rios had the thumb drained last week and had the sutures removed Friday. It will still be at least a few days before Rios can start swinging a bat again.

"It all has to do on how I feel, if it feels completely healed or not," Rios said. "There is the issue of preventing the infection. It's tough. … It's frustrating. I'm a guy who likes to be on the field every day. Not being able to do that is frustrating."

The Rangers aren't sure if Rios will be able to join them on the final road trip to Anaheim.

"I'd like for him to make the trip and if it feels good, take batting practice," manager Tim Bogar said. "It would be nice to get him out there but we're not going to push him. He needs to get it healthy and make sure it doesn't get infected again."

Adduci has been sidelined since Aug. 28. He suffered a concussion when he banged his head on the warning track at Houston's Minute Maid Park and is not yet completely recovered. He has not resumed baseball activities.

Adduci said the headaches have subsided but he is still dealing with some whiplash. He has also been "resting" his brain, which means no extra stimulation.

"No reading, no Jeopardy!, no television," Adduci said. "I'd go back to my room and it would be completely dark. It was like The Shawshank Redemption, going into the hole. I'm going back into the hole."

Adduci made a terrific running catch in foul territory and then fell over second baseman Rougned Odor, who was sliding to get out of the way. Adduci hit his head on the warning track and then slid into the padded wall in front of the stands.

"It was my fault. … I should have called it earlier," Adduci said. "He did his best to get out of the way, like he's taught. He did it the right way. I just called it too late."

Smolinski hasn't played since fracturing a bone in his left foot. But he is taking batting practice and getting close to running full speed. He is planning to run the bases on Sunday, which is usually the last test before a player is ready. He will be on the next road trip and could be ready to play.

"So far the progression hasn't had any setbacks," Smolinski said. "As that keeps going, I should be able to play."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Baker scratched with sore triceps

Baker scratched with sore triceps play video for Baker scratched with sore triceps

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have scratched pitcher Scott Baker from Saturday's start against the Braves because of tendinitis in his right triceps. Rookie right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla will start in his place at Globe Life Park.

Baker has made seven starts and 17 relief appearances for the Rangers. This is his first full season since missing almost two years while recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He last pitched on Sept. 5 against the Mariners.

"His arm is a little sore," manager Tim Bogar said. "He has been getting treatment on his triceps. We're going to skip him and see how long it takes. There are no plans other than to let him get his triceps healthy."

Bonilla was one of two pitchers acquired from the Phillies two years ago for infielder Michael Young. The Rangers acquired him as a reliever but turned him into a starter this season while he was pitching at Triple-A Round Rock. He was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts for the Express.

He made his big league debut on Sept. 4 and has made two relief appearances, but this will be his first start in the Majors.

"I'm very proud to get to start a game," Bonilla said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Jones honored with Bronze Star

Jones honored with Bronze Star

ARLINGTON -- Before Thursday's game with the Angels, bench coach Bobby Jones was formally awarded his Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

Jones, who is in his 40th season as a player, Minor League manager and coach in the Rangers organization, is a U.S. Army veteran who served 14 months in Vietnam, from December 1969 to February 1971.

"It's pretty special," Jones said. "I didn't expect any of this, but it's pretty cool that they're doing it."

Then-Corporal Jones was section chief in a 105 millimeter howitzer battery, providing fire support for the infantry. During his tour of duty, Jones suffered significant loss of hearing in his right ear. Over his 14 months at Fire Base Siberia, in a remote section of Vietnam, Jones said, there were no more than eight days in which they did not see combat action.

"We were under attack, and things had happened," Jones said. "I was in charge of a gun pit with six or seven guys under me -- saw a lot of action."

Upon his return from Vietnam, Jones was handed the Bronze Star in a casual manner. He never had the medal officially presented to him from a senior military officer in a ceremony, as is customary, and did not receive the official citation that goes with it.

"I wasn't presented the medal," he said. "The commanding officer pins it on your chest. Well, I never got any of that. I actually got the medal, but it wasn't presented to me. Not sure why it wasn't presented. I got out and came back in February and was discharged. My first wife had [the medal], and then we got divorced and I never saw it. About four or five years ago, my daughter found [the medal], brought it home and gave it to me."

On Thursday, Jones was officially presented the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement while engaged in conflict with an opposing foreign force. Col. R.J. Muraski, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division, headquartered in Dallas, presented the medal along with the accompanying citation.

"I think it's awesome. Incredible," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "People need to see what Bobby's done for this country and the service that he gave. Bobby and I sat today, and he reminisced about his story when he was over there, and it just makes you realize how fortunate we are that we have people to go over and do the things they do so we can live the lives we do."

The ceremony was part of the Rangers' pregame Sept. 11 ceremonies. The Sheppard Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors. and United States Airmen, joined by members of the Arlington Fire and Police Departments, unfurled a large American flag in the outfield. The 531st United States Air Force Quintet performed the national anthem, which was preceded by a moment of silence.

The reception Jones gets now as a veteran is a little different from when he returned from Vietnam in 1971.

"It's cool now, you get on the airplane and everyone claps," he said. "Back then you come back and everyone's spitting and cussing at us; [you're] ashamed to wear your uniform, basically. This honor is awesome. I really appreciate what everyone is doing.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers drop series finale to division-rival Angels

Rangers drop series finale to division-rival Angels play video for Rangers drop series finale to division-rival Angels

ARLINGTON -- Leonys Martin went 2-for-3 with a walk and his first first-inning leadoff home run on Thursday as he continues to respond to interim manager Tim Bogar's challenge to prove he can be a leadoff hitter.

But he also made a crucial error in center field that cost starter Nick Martinez and turned out to be a pivotal play in a 7-3 loss to the Angels. The late-season evaluation of Martin continues, although the Rangers know he can play defense.

If the overall offense continues to trend upward the way it has from the leadoff spot, the Rangers will be able to salvage something from their late-season travails, which includes losing 11 of their last 12 games.

"I just think [Martin has] kind of relaxed," Bogar said. "I told him he is going to play every day and lead off, and you can see him start to relax. He's taking to the challenge. He's still got a lot to do, and he still has to grow, but his at-bats have been a lot better."

Martin is 12-for-25 with two walks in six games since Bogar relayed the message that he would be giving him a chance to lead off every game, including against left-handers.

"[With] every pitch, I am trying to think as a leadoff hitter," Martin said. "I feel comfortable at home and am trying to have good at-bats, just swing at strikes."

Martin's offensive efforts still couldn't contribute to a victory, as the Rangers fell to the Angels for the ninth time in 10 games at home this season. The Angels are the first visiting team to win nine games against the Rangers in a season in Arlington.

Martinez, who has yet to win a game at home, went six innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts. He also hit Mike Trout twice, which did not make anybody on the Angels' side happy. The second time it happened, Trout flung his bat in obvious irritation as he headed to first.

"Just trying to establish the fastball inside, and it got away from me," Martinez said. "I understand his frustration, but it's not on purpose."

The Rangers plunked Trout three times in two games, including once on Wednesday.

"You go up there to have at-bats, you don't go up there thinking you're going to get hit," Trout said. "He was just pitching inside; they've been doing it the whole series, and I just got hit a couple of times."

Angels reliever Joe Smith hit catcher Tomas Telis with a pitch in the ninth inning, and home-plate umpire Doug Eddings issued a warning to both benches.

"I'm sure Martinez isn't trying to hit him, but when you're pitching inside, you can't just pitch inside with reckless abandon," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have to have the command to be able to do it. I don't think anybody likes to get hit in the arm twice."

The first hit-by-pitch didn't help Martinez. Neither did Martin's error, though he had already provided a lead with his first-inning home run before Erick Aybar's two-run shot made it 2-1 in the second.

Kole Calhoun led off the Angels' third with a line drive to center field that Martin dropped as he charged in trying to make the catch.

"I saw it was a line drive, but it carried a little bit," Martin said. "I ran hard trying to catch it, but I moved my head at the last second."

Calhoun stopped at first but advanced to second on a wild pitch. Trout was then hit and, after Albert Pujols struck out, the runners moved up on a hit-and-run as Howie Kendrick grounded out to short. That put two runners in scoring position, and David Freese lined a single to center to score both and give the Angels a three-run lead.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Scheppers, Ogando begin throwing

Scheppers, Ogando begin throwing play video for Scheppers, Ogando begin throwing

ARLINGTON -- Pitchers Tanner Scheppers and Alexi Ogando have both begun a throwing program. They're just playing catch, but it's their first step toward a good offseason and full recovery.

"It feels good," Scheppers said. "So far I haven't had any setbacks. It feels good, but I've got to continue the process."

Both have been sidelined with elbow inflammation. Scheppers has not pitched in a game since June 10, and Ogando has been sidelined since June 3.

Other injury news:

• Interim manager Tim Bogar said that catcher Robinson Chirinos is almost completely over his stiff neck and could be back in the lineup as soon as Thursday.

• Outfielder Alex Rios is expected to have the sutures removed from his right thumb on Thursday. Rios has been sidelined with an infection in the thumb, and the Rangers aren't sure when he'll be ready to return.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers held to RBI single in loss to Angels

Rangers held to RBI single in loss to Angels play video for Rangers held to RBI single in loss to Angels

ARLINGTON -- This would seem a daunting, overwhelming, almost impossible task for the Rangers in sending out a lineup that includes five or six rookies a night to face the hottest team in baseball. But interim manager Tim Bogar, having just watched his team lose to the Angels, 8-1, on Wednesday night, doesn't see it that way.

"It's just baseball," Bogar said. "We don't have a choice who we play. That's just the way it goes. These guys are capable of beating anybody if we play well. We need to play better. We need to field better. We need to have better at-bats with runners in scoring position, like I've said from the beginning. You can't have the bases loaded and not do anything with it. You can't get guys on early and not execute. You can't come in out of the bullpen and not make pitches.

"It's not so much [that they're] the best team in baseball. They are a really good team. I'm not taking anything away from them. They are a really good team, but for five innings we were right with them."

That's true, but the Rangers were also down, 2-0, before they batted in the bottom of first inning. That's not a good thing for the young lineup, which was getting ready to go up against Matt Shoemaker, who had a 1.31 ERA in August.

The Angels have now won seven straight and 13 of their last 15 while the Rangers have lost 10 of their last 11. The Rangers are hitting .236 in that stretch while scoring just 21 runs and going 11-for-81 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Rua has their only two hits in their last 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

The Angels, on the other hand, are missing Josh Hamilton but still hitting .343 during their winning streak and averaging nine runs per game.

"It doesn't matter who we are playing, we have to try and win ballgames," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We've got a job to do. We've got to go out and compete. It's September, obviously we don't have the guys we want, so they are trying to see guys that have a chance to be here next year. It's not the best scenario."

Shoemaker, who hasn't lost in a month, went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on seven singles and a walk while striking out one. Rua singled home a run in the seventh.

Tepesch lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on a season-high 10 hits, two walks and two strikeouts. He is now 4-10 with a 4.47 ERA.

"Overall I made some good pitches and some bad pitches," Tepesch said. "That first inning they put some good swings on the ball, and I was pitching up in the zone a little bit."

Tepesch put himself in trouble in the first when he hit Mike Trout with a pitch with one out. Albert Pujols then tripled home a run and scored on a single by Howie Kendrick. David Freese and Erick Aybar followed with singles, but center fielder Leonys Martin stopped the rally by throwing out Kendrick trying to score from second.

Tepesch worked into jams every inning, but the only other run off him came in the fifth, after Trout led off with a walk. On a hit-and-run, Trout broke for second and Pujols hit a high pop behind first base that Adam Rosales couldn't hold on to racing out into shallow right field. Trout, who never stopped running, ended up at third, and he scored when Kendrick grounded into a double play.

"That first inning, his pitches were up," Bogar said. "He got the balls over the middle of the plate, and they didn't miss. He pitched well after that."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Levine emerges as candidate for D-backs' GM job

Levine emerges as candidate for D-backs' GM job

ARLINGTON -- Assistant general manager Thad Levine has emerged as a candidate to be the D-backs' GM. Arizona dismissed Kevin Towers earlier this month and Tony La Russa, who heads the organization's baseball operations, is conducting a search for a replacement.

Former Rangers farm director Tim Purpura is also being considered. Once the GM of the Astros, Purpura is working for Texas as a special assistant in ballpark operations.

Levine is in his ninth season with the Rangers assisting GM Jon Daniels in all areas of Major League operations. Prior to that he spent six years with the Rockies.

The Rangers recently lost A.J. Preller, another key member of the front office, who left to become GM of the Padres. Don Welke, who was a special assistant, went with Preller.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers trending toward rookies

Rangers trending toward rookies play video for Rangers trending toward rookies

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had five rookies in their lineup on Wednesday. That's one fewer than they had for Tuesday's 9-3 loss to the Angels, but if everybody is healthy, Texas could start nine rookies in a game.

Interim manager Tim Bogar admitted that it's difficult for a rookie to break into the big leagues but even harder when he is in a lineup already dominated by rookies. That's the challenge facing Rougned Odor, Tomas Telis, Luis Sardinas, Ryan Rua, Daniel Robertson and Michael Choice.

"I think there's two ways to look at that," Bogar said. "[Because we have so many rookies], it's tough, because you don't have a lot of the veteran experience around you to guide you, to help you through some of the things that happen during a game. Also, when you're the only rookie out there, you kind of get hidden in that lineup a little bit.

"Now, on the second line of thinking, now they're not hitting, they're all exposed, and they've only got themselves to kind of lean on, and they don't know from experience where to go with it. Usually, you don't have to be a .300 hitter when you're in a good lineup. You just do the little things that's going to help progress the offense. When you have four, five or six guys that are pretty much the same that way, it's little bit more of a struggle to be competitive every night."

Tuesday marked the first time the Rangers had six rookie position players in the lineup since the final game of the 1982 season. This is by necessity, not by choice; there will not be an all-rookie lineup.

"We're not here to fool around," Bogar said. "When we're playing the A's or the Angels, we have to throw our best guys out there. It's meaningful, especially for the A's. The bottom line is, we do have a little say in what happens to them, so we do have some things to play for."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers can't get Lewis off hook against Halos

Right-hander fires seven solid frames; Beltre hits 18th home run

Rangers can't get Lewis off hook against Halos play video for Rangers can't get Lewis off hook against Halos

ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Colby Lewis did a superb job of holding down an Angels offense that had scored 41 runs in the previous four games.

But Kole Calhoun had already hit a home run off him, so when Collin Cowgill led off the eighth inning with an infield single in a one-run game, manager Tim Bogar decided to make a pitching change, hoping to keep it close.

But that didn't turn out to be the case. Instead the Angels erupted for seven runs in the eighth en route to a 9-3 victory on Tuesday's Harvest Moon Night.

"No, that was all me," Bogar said. "I told him, 'I know you're not very happy with me right now, but I'm going to get the lefty in and have him face Calhoun.' I'm sure as he walked off, he didn't want to. But there was no discussion about it."

Lewis was charged with three runs in seven-plus innings, but he still was tagged with a loss that left him 9-13 with a 5.29 ERA on the season.

"I just want to pitch deep in the game and come out with a win for the team," Lewis said, "It's unfortunate, but it is what it is."

Lewis allowed five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four. He is 3-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, while holding opponents to a .247 batting average. Lewis, who missed 18 months because of flexor tendon and hip replacement surgery, was 6-6 with a 6.54 ERA in 16 starts in the first half with opponents hitting .353 off him.

"I think it's me getting stronger and getting back to where I was," Lewis said. "The adaption part is over. It's all about adapting to the body and finding a way to get it done. That's all I've ever done. The adaption period is over so it's about going out there and performing, and giving the team a chance to win."

The biggest beating to Lewis' ERA was giving up 13 runs (11 earned) in 2 1/3 innings to the Angels on July 10. But in his last two starts against them, Lewis has allowed seven earned runs in 13 innings against the American League leaders in runs scored.

"Colby can compete against any lineup for me," Bogar said. "He's shown that. This is a pretty potent offense we're facing tonight and the next two days, and he seemed to handle them pretty well. So I'm pretty confident in Colby going out there and handling any lineup they throw against us."

"He pitched us tough -- kept us off-balance, got a lot of ground balls," Cowgill said. "I think the last couple times we started slow against him, so he pitches us tough. It's always a battle against him. He throws strikes, keeps it in the zone. Every time we face him it's a battle."

Calhoun gave the Angels a lead right away by hitting an 0-2 fastball over the right-field fence for a leadoff home run in the first inning. The Angels added an unearned run in the fourth after right fielder Michael Choice couldn't handle David Freese's deep fly ball. It went for a two-base error and Freese later scored on a sacrifice fly.

"You'd expect a player to make that catch," Bogar said. "I know Michael probably thinks he should have. It was in the middle of his glove and it came out, so I think that's a play that probably should have been made."

Beltre made it a one-run game in the fourth with his 18th home run of the season. It was also his first since Aug. 10. If Beltre needs that long to hit another one, this will be the first time since 1980 that at least one Rangers player did not hit 20 or more home runs in a full season.

The game stayed a one-run affair until the Angels broke it open in the eighth.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["replay" ] }

Rangers lose challenge on Halos' stolen base

Rangers lose challenge on Halos' stolen base play video for Rangers lose challenge on Halos' stolen base

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers tried to take advantage of one of the quirks of replay reviews in Tuesday night's 9-3 loss to the Angels. It didn't work.

The play occurred in the top of the eighth after Collin Cowgill reached on an infield single. With reliever Michael Kirkman taking over for Colby Lewis, Cowgill then tried to steal second.

Cowgill beat the throw from catcher Tomas Telis and slid in safely with a head-first slide. But second baseman Guilder Rodriguez kept his tag on Cowgill as he slid over the base.

There have been times this year when basestealers have been called out in those situations because after they slide head first, they become disengaged with the base for just a moment. Rangers manager Tim Bogar challenged the ruling by second-base umpire Doug Eddings on that basis, but the call was ruled as stands after review.

Cowgill ended up scoring on a triple by Mike Trout to give the Angels a 3-1 lead in the series opener.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["replay" ] }
{"content":["injury" ] }

Chirinos takes part in hitting, throwing activities

Chirinos takes part in hitting, throwing activities play video for Chirinos takes part in hitting, throwing activities

ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, who is sidelined with neck stiffness and hasn't played in nine days, underwent an MRI on Monday and it came back clean.

Chirinos did some throwing and hitting on Tuesday. If he comes through that without issue, he could be an option at some point during the three-game series with the Angels.

"It's still sore, but it is getting better," Chirinos said. "At least I can hit and throw. The last couple of days, I couldn't hit or throw. It's improving."

In other injury news:

• Outfielder Engel Beltre, who has missed all season with a broken bone in his right leg, has developed a stress fracture in his left leg. He will undergo surgery on Wednesday.

• Pitcher Miles Mikolas, sidelined with right shoulder fatigue, is playing catch but still not off a mound. He is hoping to get there later this week. He hasn't pitched since Aug. 25.

• Outfielder Jim Adduci is still recovering from a concussion and is not ready to play. He has not played since hitting his head on the warning track in Houston on Aug. 28.

Jake Smolinski is starting to take batting practice, but he can only jog. He remains sidelined with a fractured bone in his left foot.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Andrus enduring one tough all-around season

Rangers shortstop is more concerned with club's performance than his own

Andrus enduring one tough all-around season play video for Andrus enduring one tough all-around season

ARLINGTON -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is not having his best season. Among other things, he leads the league in caught stealing and is fourth in grounded into double plays. His defensive numbers are some of the lowest of his career.

Andrus is not concerned with that. What bothers him is the losing.

"It's been a bad year for me and the whole organization," Andrus said. "It's not about me personally, it's about the team losing."

Manager Tim Bogar is concerned that Andrus is letting the losing get to him. That's one of the things they talked about when the two met on Tuesday before the series opener against the Angels.

"Elvis has never been on a losing team," Bogar said. "It's the first time he's gone through this and for some guys it's different. You have to cut him slack. It's hard to stay focused and energized on a team that's not going anywhere. It's understandable. He has to learn to go through it. He has never dealt with it before. It is not a fun thing to go through.

"Next year, Elvis will be back to being Elvis. Shortstop is one of the most important positions and I want him to be our shortstop."

Andrus was not in the starting lineup on Tuesday. Luis Sardinas started at shortstop because Guilder Rodriguez was making his Major League debut at second base. Bogar said he thought Rodriguez might be more comfortable with Sardinas since they played together in the Minor Leagues.

"It's just one day ... it's more for Guilder than anybody else," said Bogar, who had six rookies in his lineup on Tuesday.

The only veterans in the Rangers' lineup were center fielder Leonys Martin, designated hitter Adam Rosales and third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Andrus did not play on Sunday so he has had three days' rest. Like everybody else, Andrus has had his physical issues through the season. Most notable has been the right elbow.

Andrus did not play winter ball for the first time last offseason and was lax in his workouts. He came to Spring Training, developed a sore elbow and it has bothered him all season.

"I was just dealing with inflammation," Andrus said. "But I was able to play through the year. I was still able to throw the ball and make the plays."

Andrus said he has learned from his mistake. He will get back on a more rigorous offseason program this winter.

"I'm not going to let it happen again," Andrus said.

Andrus is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday and for most of the rest of the season either at shortstop or at designated hitter when Bogar wants to get Sardinas back in the lineup.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Rangers visit A's, welcome Astros to open '15 season

Rangers visit A's, welcome Astros to open '15 season

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' 2015 home opener will be against the Astros on Friday, April 10, according to the schedule released by Major League Baseball on Monday.

The Rangers will open the season on the road with a four-game series with the Athletics on April 6 in Oakland. Times have not yet been determined. This will be the 20th time in 44 years that Texas will open the season on the road.

The Rangers will also be making their first appearance in Dodger Stadium since 2001. They have a pair of two-game home-and-home series with both the Dodgers and the D-backs as part of their Interleague schedule.

The Dodgers will be in Arlington on June 15-16 and the Rangers will be in Los Angeles on June 17-18. Texas is at Arizona on April 21-22 and the D-backs come here on July 7-8.

The Rangers also have two three-game series with the Padres. The Rangers host the Padres July 10-12 while going to San Diego on Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The rest of their Interleague schedule includes the Giants here on July 31-Aug. 2 and traveling to Colorado on July 20-22.

The 2015 home schedule also includes four-game series with the Red Sox (May 28-31), Royals (May 11-14) and Yankees (July 27-30). The Rangers will host the Angels on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4. The club also plays its final seven games of the regular season at home, hosting the Tigers for three games and the Angels for four contests from Sept. 28-Oct. 4.

With 15 teams in each league, Interleague Play will take place throughout the entire regular season for the third straight year. Clubs will again play 19 games against division opponents (76 total games) and either six or seven contests vs. non-divisional league opponents in home-and-home series (66 total games). Each club will also play 20 Interleague games (10 home, 10 road), with Texas meeting the five National League West clubs in 2015.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Bogar looks to capitalize on opportunity with Rangers

Interim skipper hopes September audition with Texas leads to full-time job

Bogar looks to capitalize on opportunity with Rangers play video for Bogar looks to capitalize on opportunity with Rangers

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are expected to conduct a managerial search as soon as the 2014 regular season is over. They are expected to consider some highly qualified candidates from within the organization as well as from outside. Since general manager Jon Daniels has a reputation for being methodical and thorough when it comes to major decisions, the search could be a long process involving multiple candidates.

There is also a possibility it could be over quickly, or even before it ever really starts. There is a possibility that the Rangers could have the right man on the job right now in Tim Bogar, a 47-year-old former utility infielder, Major League coach and Minor League manager who is serving as the interim field boss after Ron Washington resigned Friday.

There are those who have watched Bogar through the years who believe that he is ready to be a Major League manager and would be perfect for what the Rangers want and need right now.

"I think he has a real feel for the game, understanding how to run a game." Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Personality-wise, I think he's easy to communicate with, and again, I think when it comes to building relationships, he should have a knack for that also. So it's just about, like anybody else -- and I'm included -- experience. Just give somebody an opportunity and he can run with it. I think he has all the necessary ingredients, absolutely."

"I think this is what he ultimately wanted to do," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I don't think this is the way he wanted to attain it. I think he kind of said it like that. He'll do fine. He's always prepared, and whenever he's given a challenge, he'll do fine. He has a big passion for the game. I don't think there's any doubt that at some point [Bogar] was going to manage one way or another."

Bogar worked under both Maddon and Francona. They are among the many successful managers that he played for, worked with or just studied on television or from the opposing dugout during his 28 years of professional baseball.

A utility infielder during his nine-year Major League career, Bogar also put in his time riding the buses for five years as a successful Minor League manager as well as six years as a big league coach. He has been preparing for this opportunity maybe going back to 1987, when he was an eighth-round Draft pick by the Mets out of Eastern Illinois University. Maybe well before that.

"I love the game and I love the strategic part of it," Bogar said. "One of the things I've said before is baseball is not a tic-tac-toe game; it's a chess game, and not everybody is smart enough to play it. I'm not smart enough to play chess, but baseball is a difficult thing to do, and I've always enjoyed it.

"I've always spent a lot of time studying what's going on out on the field; not only my players, but the other players and on the other side of the field, the other managers: Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa. You watch how they do things ... and the decisions they make. I have always been intrigued by the strategy of this game and how it is different every night."

One of Bogar's first managers was Clint Hurdle, now with the Pirates. Hurdle managed Bogar at three levels of the Minor Leagues in the Mets' system, beginning in Class A ball in 1988 in the Florida State League.

"Blue-collar player, very heady shortstop," Hurdle said. "First relationship we had -- he came to our [Class] A ball club in St. Lucie at a very pivotal time in our season and basically became the glue of our infield. I put him at short, hit him second.

"He was always the guy who asked questions. Great leadership skills in [Class] A ball, working with pitchers and catchers. Game awareness. [I] managed him throughout the Minor League system, and his attention to detail, focus and preparation was exemplary."

Bogar said Hurdle was the first manager to teach him about motivation. From Francona, he learned how to treat people right. Working for Maddon in 2008 when the Rays went to the World Series was a "managerial internship," Bogar said. He has learned from a variety of people, including Washington.

"The common thread I've learned from every manager is they care about their players and their players know it," Bogar said. "One thing I've always thought is you have to get their trust before you gain their respect. To get their trust, you have to care about them. Once they care about you, then they trust you.

"Once they trust you, they respect you. Then you can get them to do whatever they need to do."

How the Rangers perceive Bogar's ability to lead, teach and motivate young players could be the pivotal factor if he gets the job. That is always what Daniels admired most about Washington: his ability to teach, to get his players to play hard every day and maintain a winning culture in the clubhouse. Those areas have been far more important to Daniels than when to bunt and when not to bunt.

Bogar worked closely with Washington, but in some ways, he will be different. He won't be as demonstrative as Washington, waving runners around third base from the dugout or giving pitcher Derek Holland a light slap in the face before taking the mound.

Bogar, who managed young players in the Minor Leagues for five years, has a more reserved personality, but still, like Washington, it is one molded toward his players' best interests and getting the most out of them. He is likely to be as honest and approachable as Washington but in a more quiet, less colorful manner.

"He wouldn't really push anything on to you," said Angels first baseman C.J. Cron, who played for Bogar at Double-A Arkansas last year. "However, if you had any source of questions, he would have an answer for you. He wasn't the kind of manager where it was his way or the highway. He was very good with player interaction and relating to you.

"Last year was probably my worst year. Double-A was probably the biggest jump that I've had in my baseball career. Just talking to him about an approach, and how I can maybe alter it a little bit to alter what they were going to do to me. Just from that aspect, that's probably what he was there for. We just talked about pitchers and what they try to do."

Daniels said how Bogar communicates with his players in the final weeks will be more important than wins and losses. Going in, Daniels said there is a lot to like about Bogar.

"I think he's extremely knowledgeable about the game," Daniels said. "He's done a little bit of everything and had success in every area. He's won everywhere he's been. He's learned from some good people. He's a high-integrity character family guy. He was the natural choice for this spot, but we're going to take a step back and discuss things internally. He certainly gets an opportunity."

It is the opportunity Bogar has been waiting for and maybe just what the Rangers need.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Bogar values numbers, but trusts gut in role as skipper

Bogar values numbers, but trusts gut in role as skipper play video for Bogar values numbers, but trusts gut in role as skipper

ARLINGTON -- Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar was the "quality assurance coach" with the Rays in 2008. One of his duties was to crunch information and data on opposing hitters so that Tampa Bay could implement the drastic defensive shifts that have become the rage in baseball.

That experience suggests Bogar will be the type of manager who devours every possible bit of information spat out by a computer before he makes his on-field decisions. That may not quite be the case.

"I understand all the numbers," Bogar said. "I appreciate them. I study them. I also know your stomach tells you more than the numbers ever will. Numbers lead you in the right direction, but you still have to make decisions based on all the information you have received. Sometimes experience or something you saw in the past will tell you, even if the numbers say otherwise, that the guy is going to hit today or make a pitch."

Former manager Ron Washington never professed to be a big numbers guy. His favorite statistic was the RBI, and he believed in managing by the "gut." That's why Washington left himself open to criticism when one too many runners got thrown out on the basepaths or he ordered one too many sacrifice bunts.

But Bogar said he appreciated Washington's approach to the game.

"What Ron trusted was his eye and his 44 years of experience," Bogar said. "He wasn't against numbers. He used him. But he wasn't going to let them overrule what his eyes tell him. A good manager does that.

"You are a fool if you don't use numbers. But if you trust what you see and feel, along with the numbers, you'll be a lot better off."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Holland makes his first '14 home start a memorable one

Lefty deals seven shutout innings, gets interim manager Bogar first win

Holland makes his first '14 home start a memorable one play video for Holland makes his first '14 home start a memorable one

ARLINGTON -- Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar was willing to answer the "what if" question. What if Derek Holland had been pitching like this all season?

"We'd probably be way better off," Bogar said after claiming his first victory as a manager in a 1-0 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

Holland declined to play the what-if game.

"I don't think about it," Holland said. "It's over. I've turned the page. I want to continue to build on this and finish strong in 2015."

Regardless of what might have happened this season, Holland is giving the Rangers something to finally look forward to for next year.

Holland threw seven scoreless innings in his second start since recovering from offseason knee surgery and the Rangers were able to snap their eight-game losing streak. The victory was Holland's first since Sept. 23, 2013.

"It means a lot, especially getting [Bogar] his first win," Holland said. "This was a team win, everybody giving their best effort to get that first win for [Bogar]."

Holland allowed six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five over 93 pitches. The Mariners were 1-for-7 off him with runners in scoring position. The only hit came because of Holland's defensive mishap. He allowed one run in seven innings in his first start against the Royals on Tuesday.

"I'm always hard on myself, but I definitely feel I could go longer," Holland said. "I feel I still need to improve. I was efficient at first and kept my pitch count down for the most part, but some long innings got to me in the end."

What he did was enough for Bogar.

"He really pitched well today," Bogar said. "I told him after the second inning he didn't have to keep giving the leadoff hitter a base hit but he threw very well. Derek did exactly what we need. He goes out there with intensity. … Two outings, only one run, he has been unbelievable."

This was the Rangers' fifth 1-0 victory of the season and their 17th team shutout, second only to the Rays in the American League. Holland has gone two straight games without walk. This is only the third time in club history a pitcher has gone at least seven innings in back-to-back games, allowed one or fewer runs and not walked a batter.

"When we had those opportunities to get those runs, he really bore down and made some really good pitches in some tough situations," Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson said. "He was pounding the strike zone with the fastball, using that slider to put guys away and the times we had to kind of get something going, he made some pretty tough pitches."

The Rangers got Holland a run in the sixth inning against Mariners starter James Paxton as Leonys Martin led off with a single and stole second. Daniel Robertson's grounder moved Martin to third. After Adam Rosales drew a walk, Adrian Beltre put the Rangers ahead with a sacrifice fly to center.

Holland was then able to hold off the Mariners in the seventh. Robinson Cano led off with an infield single. Holland struck out Kendrys Morales and retired Kyle Seager on a flyout. A passed ball moved Cano to second with Corey Hart at the plate.

Hart hit a little roller that died to the left of the mound. Holland got to it but slipped and fell as he tried to throw to first. That was the play the Rangers were concerned about with his surgically repaired knee and Hart was safe at first.

The Rangers checked on Holland and he was fine.

"I got over there aggressively but didn't keep my body under control," Holland said.

With runners on the corners, Holland waged a nine-pitch battle with Stefen Romero before getting him on a grounder to third.

That was it for Holland. Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless eighth and then closer Neftali Feliz took over in the ninth.

Feliz, who came out throwing nothing but fastballs, got Cano on a grounder but walked Morales and gave up a single to Seager, moving pinch-runner Danny Farquhar to third.

"I felt great, I was just trying to throw the ball down," Feliz said. "Keep the ball down, get a ground ball, get the double play."

The fastballs kept coming as Feliz retired James Jones on a popout that held the runner at third and pinch-hitter Justin Smoak on a fly ball to end the game.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Martin, Sardinas get high priority

Martin, Sardinas get high priority play video for Martin, Sardinas get high priority

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' lineup on Sunday against left-hander James Paxton included Leonys Martin in center field and Luis Sardinas at shortstop. These are two players Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar wants to see daily as the season winds down.

Martin entered the game hitting .218 against left-handers and had been sitting against them lately. But Bogar wants to use him against all pitchers and suggested Martin might play "every inning" for the rest of the season.

"I want to see Martin play," Bogar said. "I want to know if he is going to be our center fielder next year. I want to see him against left-handers. We need to know if we need another guy against left-handers."

Sardinas was one of the Rangers' September callups. This is the third time he has been with the Rangers this season and the two previous times were as a seldom-used utility infielder. Now he is going to get a chance to play regularly.

"It's something we need to do, see where he is at," Bogar said. "Whether it's moving him around the infield or a few days at shortstop, we want to see him play every day. It's more mental than physical. We know where he is as a fielder and where he is as a hitter. We want to see how he handles it mentally."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Minor League veteran Rodriguez gets called up

Minor League veteran Rodriguez gets called up play video for Minor League veteran Rodriguez gets called up

ARLINGTON -- Infielder Guilder Rodriguez, a 14-year Minor League veteran who has spent the past six years shuttling between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock and Oklahoma City, was called up from Double-A on Sunday.

Rodriguez's arrival comes after playing in 1,095 Minor League games in the Brewers and the Rangers systems. A native of Venezuela, Rodriguez was signed by the Brewers in 2001 and acquired by the Rangers in 2008. The switch-hitter batted .281 in 90 games combined between Frisco and Round Rock.

"It's unbelievable," Rodriguez said. "It's a very exciting time in my career. When you sign to play professional baseball, we all want to play in the big leagues. Not too many people have the opportunity. I just thank God for this."

This is more than a courtesy callup. Rodriguez has been a mentor to the Rangers' young infielders during their time in the system. He is up here to help Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor.

"He's just a true professional," Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar said. "He is basically a player-coach and a really good influence on the young Latin players. He has been a big brother to Rougned and Sardinas their whole careers. We see him in the clubhouse perking them up and having influence to get them to do the right thing."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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