Griffin tightens grip on Rangers' rotation job

Righty regains confidence in changeup, curve this spring

Griffin tightens grip on Rangers' rotation job

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A fourth starter has been identified in Rangers camp. A.J. Griffin was given the front-line starting pitcher treatment Thursday when the Rangers let him do his work in a Minor League game. Dillon Gee, who is still in competition for the fifth spot, started against the Dodgers in the Cactus League game.

Griffin started for the Class A Down East Wood Ducks against Modesto and allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits and two walks while striking out six. Griffin threw 76 pitches while working in unusually cool temperatures and high gusts of desert wind on the back field.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dyson, Claudio on track after WBC '17 run

Rangers' bullpen in solid shape after duo's strong showing in tourney

Dyson, Claudio on track after WBC '17 run

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever Sam Dyson threw just 12 pitches in a scoreless inning for the United States against Japan on Tuesday in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

That's why Rangers manager Jeff Banister was fine with Dyson pitching in the championship game Wednesday against Puerto Rico. Banister relayed that to Team USA manager Jim Leyland.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Loney a long shot to make Rangers' roster

Veteran first baseman can opt for free agency Wednesday

Loney a long shot to make Rangers' roster

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- James Loney is the consummate professional. He has forged an 11-year career by being a solid hitter, accomplished defender and outstanding teammate.

These are attributes worthy of respect and admiration. They may not be good enough to earn him a spot on the Rangers' Opening Day roster, and he understands that.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Will Rangers have room for Scheppers in 'pen?

Will Rangers have room for Scheppers in 'pen?

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The numbers suggest Tanner Scheppers has had a good spring to this point.

He has pitched in five Cactus League games and allowed one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He has struck out four and has been healthy from the beginning.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Robinson among top prospect performers

Robinson among top prospect performers

J.D. Davis is heating up at the perfect time. As the season draws near, hits are coming in bunches for the Astros' No. 13 prospect.

The 23-year-old third baseman went 3-for-4, his first three-hit game of Spring Training, in Houston's 8-4 win over the Twins on Wednesday.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers can lean on versatility in left field

Rua, DeShields, Profar give Texas options at multiple positions

Rangers can lean on versatility in left field

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' competition in left field is coming to a close in Spring Training.

It may end without a winner or loser being declared. Ryan Rua, Delino DeShields and Jurickson Profar have all put themselves in position to be on the Opening Day roster.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Loney gets big hit in Rangers' early surge

Loney gets big hit in Rangers' early surge

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout hit his first home run of the spring, but it wasn't enough to prevent the split-squad Angels from falling to the Rangers, 7-4, on Wednesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

James Loney's two-run double off Angels starter Alex Meyer capped a three-run outburst for the Rangers in the first, though the Halos scored three times in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 3. The Rangers restored their lead on Jurickson Profar's tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the second and went ahead 5-3 on Drew Robinson's RBI double in the third.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After Classic stint, Beltre returns to Rangers

After Classic stint, Beltre returns to Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There was a large wreath of roses standing next to Adrian Beltre's locker when he returned to Rangers from the World Baseball Classic Tuesday.

The banner across the wreath said, "Rest In Peace, D.R."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chirinos' contract extended through 2018

Chirinos' contract extended through 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers showed they hold Robinson Chirinos in higher regard than the average backup catcher when they signed him to a contract extension through 2018 on Tuesday with a club option for 2019.

"He is one of the leaders on this team," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He is an underrated player. The leadership, the work ethic, and the standards he set are well-known throughout the clubhouse and the game. He is a guy others look to. He is a leader among a talented group of players that we've put together."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamels gets in a rhythm against White Sox

Hamels gets in a rhythm against White Sox

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Veteran pitchers Cole Hamels and James Shields put on a good show at Surprise Stadium Tuesday night, though neither was around when Michael De Leon singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 4-3 Rangers victory over the White Sox.

The Rangers scored the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning when White Sox pitcher Jace Fry uncorked a wild pitch with a runner on third base. De Leon then knocked in the game-winner.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989 and for MLB.com since 2006. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beasley to sing anthem on Opening Day

Beasley to sing anthem on Opening Day

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tony Beasley is back as the Rangers third-base coach after being out all of last season while getting treatment for rectal cancer.

Beasley will celebrate his return by performing The Star-Spangled Banner on Opening Day at Globe Life Park.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gomez leaves game with jammed shoulder

Gomez leaves game with jammed shoulder

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez left Tuesday's 4-3 victory over the White Sox with a jammed left shoulder.

The Rangers don't think it's serious but will know more after further examination on Wednesday.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gallo shut down due to tight hamstring

Gallo shut down due to tight hamstring

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers infielder Joey Gallo has been shut down because of tightness in his left hamstring.

The Rangers don't know how long Gallo will be down. He had an MRI on Tuesday and the club was waiting for Dr. Keith Meister to read the results. It is the same hamstring that forced Gallo out of playing winter ball after just three games in Venezuela.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bush open about rocky past, focused on future

Bush open about rocky past, focused on future

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of a terrible day for Rangers reliever Matt Bush and he continues to be asked about it.

It's still a compelling story even as Bush tries to move forward with his life and get ready for his second Major League season. He is willing to answer the questions because he understands he has an important message to deliver.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Classic a great experience for Rangers' Perez

Friendship with King Felix, pitching for Venezuela a boon for lefty

Classic a great experience for Rangers' Perez

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Martin Perez has a new best friend and it's a pitcher on one of the Rangers' biggest rivals.

Perez returned to the Rangers from the World Baseball Classic on Monday and said the highlight of the experience was being able to spend time with Mariners All-Star pitcher Felix Hernandez. The Rangers left-hander, expected to be their No. 3 starter going into the season, said he and Hernandez talked about everything.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Why the AL West could be the game's most fun division

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Why the AL West could be the game's most fun division

Heading into the 2017 season, most pundits will likely either peg the Astros or Rangers as de facto "favorites" to win the American League West. 

But beyond those two Texas rivals, who will once again battle it out for the Silver Boot, there's a lot to see throughout the rest of the division. In fact, considering the fun factor of all five organizations this season, it is this author's opinion that there's reason to believe the AL West will be the most entertaining of all in the upcoming year. 

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Pitching shines early in Rangers' walk-off loss

Pitching shines early in Rangers' walk-off loss

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For all the attention he's received as a pitcher this spring, Christian Bethancourt reminded the Texas Rangers he can hit, too.

Bethancourt -- who is transitioning into a pitcher/catcher/outfielder hybrid -- hit a solo homer in the ninth inning Monday night, giving the Padres a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Rangers at the Peoria Sports Complex.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Texas open to in-season contract talks with Yu

Texas open to in-season contract talks with Yu

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are not facing a deadline at the end of Spring Training in their contract discussions with pitcher Yu Darvish, as general manager Jon Daniels said that those discussions could carry on into the regular season.

Some clubs are opposed to having contract discussions once the season starts, but the Rangers are willing to do so.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

On any level, Hoying proud to give it his all

Outfielder debuted in Majors in 2016 in seventh professional season

On any level, Hoying proud to give it his all

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have their own Hall of Fame to honor former All-Stars, Most Valuable Players and -- maybe someday -- a Cy Young Award winner.

Outfielder Jared Hoying isn't likely to join them. But he would deserve to be a charter member of another Hall of Fame.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banister continues to stress improving defense

Club has committed six errors over past two games

Banister continues to stress improving defense

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers committed five errors in Saturday's game against the Reds, and manager Jeff Banister wasn't happy about it the next day.

"There were a couple of situations where the urgency and intensity level weren't where they should be," Banister said.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gomez, Rua homer; Gamboa tosses five innings

Gomez, Rua homer; Gamboa tosses five innings

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Home runs by Carlos Gomez and Ryan Rua carried the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.

Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa went five strong innings for the Rangers, allowing two unearned runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked one, giving the Rangers something to consider as they ponder the last two open spots in their rotation.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross throws bullpen session, nears game action

Righty scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday

Ross throws bullpen session, nears game action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Tyson Ross is ready to start a serious Spring Training.

Ross threw another bullpen session on Sunday without any issues, and he is now ready to take the next step. Ross will start throwing to hitters in batting practice this week, with his first session scheduled for Wednesday.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Darvish on track to get Opening Day nod

Rangers haven't announced who will start April 3

Darvish on track to get Opening Day nod

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was coy when asked about starting on Opening Day against the Indians.

"I'm fine with that," Darvish said. "I think Cole Hamels could do the job, too."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banister praises Claudio's work for Puerto Rico

Banister praises Claudio's work for Puerto Rico

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The most significant outing by a Rangers pitcher this spring came not in Arizona or San Antonio, but at the World Baseball Classic.

Team Puerto Rico witnessed first-hand why Alex Claudio was so valuable to the Rangers last season. The left-handed reliever with the funky delivery pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in Puerto Rico's 6-5 victory over Team USA.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Puello hits 3-run HR; Gee solid through three

Puello hits 3-run HR; Gee solid through three

SAN ANTONIO -- Exhibition baseball in San Antonio concluded Saturday, with the Rangers topping the Indians, 8-4, before an announced Big League Weekend crowd of 28,674 at the Alamodome.

The teams played to a 4-4 tie until Chris Narveson yielded homers to the Rangers' Scott Heineman and Alex Burg in the seventh inning.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzalez to seek second opinion on elbow

Gonzalez to seek second opinion on elbow

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez is going to get a second opinion on his right elbow before deciding his next step. Gonzalez was diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL on Friday by Dr. Keith Meister.

"Whatever it is, I'm going to be out six weeks at least," Gonzalez said. "I want to make sure, and I have the option for a second opinion. I'm going to wait for a second opinion just to get that through my mind and see what the next doctor has to say."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guzman among top prospect performers

Guzman among top prospect performers

Michael Kopech continues to rack up the strikeouts and put together his most electric performance in a White Sox uniform on Friday afternoon against the cross-town rival Cubs.

Kopech -- the No. 16 overall prospect and No. 3 in the White Sox system -- used his upper-90s fastball to strike out five in two innings. The 20-year-old gave up just one hit and struck out the side in the seventh, his second inning of work. He also gave credit to his catcher, Geovany Soto, for the dominant outing.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Griffin strengthens case for rotation spot

Righty shakes off homer-friendly conditions in Alamodome

Griffin strengthens case for rotation spot

SAN ANTONIO -- A.J. Griffin grinned at Lonnie Chisenhall as they passed each other in the hallway following Friday night's game and said, "I was laughing, too."

Griffin was referring to the 280-foot home run Chisenhall hit off him in the first inning of the Indians' 3-2 victory. In any other ballpark, it would have been a very playable fly ball to shallow right.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.