Brand new dad Rua relishing first Father's Day

Outfielder's wife gave birth to son Rowan on March 29

Brand new dad Rua relishing first Father's Day

ARLINGTON -- Ryan Rua had his usual busy, pressure-packed Spring Training for the Rangers this year as he tried to win a spot on the roster and in the Opening Day lineup for the third straight season.

This spring had an extra twist. While Rua was battling with Delino DeShields, Jurickson Profar and others for the starting left-field spot, his wife Courtney was back in Ohio getting ready to give birth to their first child.

"On the field, I didn't think about it that much," Rua said. "Off the field, it was always on my mind, whether we were in the clubhouse and texting or when the day was over and you had the rest of the afternoon or evening to hang out. We were always in communication. It could have happened at any time."

It happened at the end of Spring Training, which worked out perfectly for Rua. He had a secure spot on the team when he flew back to Cleveland on March 26. Three days later, Ryan and Courtney welcomed Rowan Randy into the world on March 29, and Rua was back with the Rangers on Opening Day.

"I got to be there and witness the whole thing and spend another day with him before I flew back to Texas," Rua said. "It was the best of both worlds. Everybody says it's life changing and I don't think you really understand it until you see one of your own … part of me and part of her. It's an unbelievable experience, something you will never forget."

This is the first time Rua is celebrating Father's Day as a dad, but the good thing is his son has been able to follow him as much as possible on the road this season.

"Luckily my mom is a flight attendant, so they have been coming on the road," Rua said. "The biggest thing is having them with me, whether it is a good game or a bad game, being able to go home to them, clear my mind and not worry about baseball. Just enjoy the family time."

To Rua, that's the best part about being a father right now, but there is so much more to look forward to with Rowan. Having been with the Rangers for the past four years, he has seen what it can be like as a Major Leaguer with a son.

"The thing that always stood out to me is the guys who have had their sons in the clubhouse or taken them on the field," Rua said. "Playing catch or throwing with them in the outfield, or throwing batting practice. I got to see it with Prince [Fielder] and Mitch [Moreland] and Adrian Beltre and those guys. For the kids, it is a lot of fun. But for me and those guys, it's an awesome experience as well."

There are also the lessons he learned from his own father Randy in Amherst, Ohio, that he wants to impart to Rowan.

"Whatever he ends up doing or wanting to do, it has to be something he loves," Rua said. "I am not going to force anything on him or make him do anything he doesn't want to do. Whether it's sports or something else, if he loves it, we are going to love it, too."

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.