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By: Jared Sandler

*Here’s this week’s edition of the “Hello, Win Column!” podcast with Mike Bacsik and me.

Game Notes RANGERS 10 Royals 0

My biggest takeaway from this game involves a guy who didn’t even play. Rougned Odor was in the dugout the entire game, despite the fact he wasn’t in the lineup or supposed to play at all. Most Major League guys might stay for a few innings and then bounce and some, with permission, might not even show up at all. Yet, early in the game, it was Odor who was first out of the dugout celebrating with his teammates. And when the final out was recorded securing a Rangers win, it was Odor, still there for the final out, who was first out the dugout to form his side of the handshake line. Impressive. Leadership.

Pitchers

*Derek Holland got 1.2 innings out of 37 pitches. He didn’t allow a run, walking one and surrendering three hits. Chris Gimenez, his battery-mate today, told me the ball came out strong and was happy with Dutch’s outing. Holland shared some thoughts, too.

*Jeremy Guthrie, who was supposed to pitch second, was scratched as a precaution due to lower back stiffness.

*In order for Sam Freeman to win a roster spot, he needs to prove he can get lefties out. He walked Mike Moustakas and got Eric Hosmer also reached, but at no fault of Freeman’s, who got him to hit a lazy fly ball to centerfield that was ultimately dropped for an error by Lewis Brinson.

Position Players

*Jurickson Profar would likely be my answer to “Who is the most impressive player in camp so far?”. Profar made another nice play in the field and showed off the arm and at the plate, singled, walked, and reached on a 50-50 error. He’d be the easy answer to the question, “Who is the most impressive player in camp?” but….

*…Nomar Mazara continues to impress. He added two more hits and is now 5-for-6 (8-for-9 including the intrasquad) and he continues to hit the ball with a loud sound that scouts love.

*Ryan Rua, who went 0-for-2 yesterday but could have easily been 2-for-2 with two doubles if not for great defensive plays, went 1-for-3 with a double that one-hopped the left field wall.

*James Jones hit a bomb to straightaway CF on an 0-1 count. He’s competing for a roster spot, directly with Drew Stubbs, I’d imagine, to serve as a backup outfielder. He’s got a cannon of an arm and plays the outfield well. Hitting has always been an issue for him.

Housekeeping

*A.J. Griffin threw a simulated game today. It will be his first dose of action versus live hitting since undergoing Tommy John surgery two years ago. If all checks out during this session, his next test will likely be Cactus League action.

*Principal owner, Ray Davis, said the team is looking for a way to raise and lower the additional protective netting so that fans behind the dugout can still have the same interaction with players during batting practice. Good move.

*The Rangers’ academy in the Dominican is among the worst in the country. Davis said the team is close to purchasing land and building a state-of-the-art facility.

*The Rangers and the Royals each extended their agreement with the city of Surprise and the Surprise Recreation Campus seven more years. The contract now expires in January of 2030.

The Walkoff

The Rangers’ Spring Training free throw tournament, “Bracketology,” is underway. Here’s Jeff Banister on the idea of this team-building activity:

Banister credited the entire coaching staff for the idea and cited Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll, as a source of influence.

Rules

*59 players. 60 pieces of paper in a hat with “bye” being one.

*Draw two names out of a hat and they match up.

*5 shots, not including one optional warm up.

*One player shoots five. Next player shoots five.

*Most makes win (one shot apiece tiebreak until winner is decided if needed

*Winners advance to the “Winner’s Bracket” and losers go to the “Loser’s Bracket.”

*Double elimination until the Final Four.*Entire team is there watching/heckling/cheering.

*When I asked Banny if the coaches are playing, he said: “Not yet.” Foreshadowing?

Predictions

*Banny believes Jeremy Guthrie will win the whole thing.

*For what it’s worth, my pick is Ryan Rua

Today’s Results

Myles Jaye over Sam Dyson, who shot it granny-style

Josh Hamilton over Lewis Brinson

Patrick Kivlehan over Mitch Moreland (Banny: “Mitch is more of a rebounder than a shooter.”)

Jeremy Guthrie over Rougned Odor

Until tomorrow, Peace Be the Journey

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