ARLINGTON (AP) – Doug Fister won’t have to wait as long this season to make his first start. The right-hander feels he is in a good spot for his Texas Rangers debut in their second game.
Fister was solid in a brief tuneup for the regular season and the Rangers, back home in Texas two days after breaking camp in Arizona, beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 in an exhibition game Monday night.
“Yeah, it’s right where I want to be,” said Fister, who struck out two and allowed one run on one hit over two innings. “It was a good sign tonight — weak flyball, some groundballs. It’s right where I want to be.”
Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor each hit a long two-run homer off Reds starter Tyler Mahle. Leadoff batter Delino DeShields added an infield single and a bunt single for the Rangers, who went 0-10-1 in their last 11 spring training games in Arizona.
“Today it didn’t go well with locating the ball, but that happens. Just on to the next one,” said Mahle, a 23-year-old right-hander expected to start the third game for the Reds. “As a whole, yeah, I’m happy with where I’m at.”
Adam Duvall homered off hard-throwing Texas reliever Matt Bush, and Scooter Gennett’s two hits for the Reds included a three-run triple.
Fister was unsigned last season until May and didn’t make his first major league start until June 25 in Boston’s 75th game. This offseason, he was the first of 166 major league free agents to finalize a big league contract and the first to switch teams. He is scheduled to start Friday at home for Texas against World Series champion Houston.
“It’s definitely something that I don’t look past, I don’t take for granted by any means,” he said. “It’s a blessing to have a jersey on, to be able to play every day.”
Fister felt he was able to command the zone and expand it when necessary while throwing 21 of 33 pitches for strikes against the Reds.
“Liked the rhythm and tempo by which he pitched,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “The first inning, went out and just dominated with the sinker. Yes, it’s nice to see that.”
THIRD UP FOR REDS
Mahle allowed six runs and 10 hits without a strikeout in four innings, but that won’t change his status in the rotation. In 14 2/3 innings over five previous spring training games against major league teams, he struck out 15 and had a 3.68 ERA.
“The command just wasn’t as good with the fastball but he’s always on the attack and he got his work in,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s going to be fine.”
ANOTHER NEW STARTER
Matt Moore, another offseason addition to the Rangers’ rotation, was credited with the win despite allowing Gennett’s bases-loaded triple. All three of his outs came on strikeouts, but Moore gave up three hits and walked a batter while throwing 34 pitches against seven hitters. The Chicago Cubs had five runs and eight hits against him in two innings last Wednesday.
Banister said he exchanged some texts with minor league coach Howard Johnson, and described some of them as “pretty lighthearted.” Johnson, who played 14 major league seasons, is resting at home in Arizona after sustaining several fractures in his cheekbone when he was hit by a line drive in the dugout Saturday. “Our thoughts are with HoJo and his family,” Banister said. “Pretty upsetting thing to watch.”
Weather permitting, the final spring game for both the Reds and Rangers on Tuesday afternoon. There was a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms starting around noon and through the afternoon.
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