Results tagged ‘ texas rangers ’

Former Express Manager Bobby Jones Promoted to Major League Staff

Congrats to (the now former) Express manager Bobby Jones who will join the Rangers major league staff for 2014 as an assistant hitting coach. Bobby had an overall record of 229-203 (.570) in his three seasons as Express manager (2011-13). Round Rock made one playoff appearance with him at the helm in 2011. He spent a total of 11 seasons as skipper of the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, eight of those with Oklahoma City.

ImageThe Rangers made the coaching staff announcement today in the following press release:




Jamie Reed named Senior Director of Medical Operations; Kevin Harmon promoted to Head Trainer

Arlington, Texas — The Texas Rangers announced today the hiring of former catcher Bengie Molina as first base coach and catching instructor.  The team also promoted Triple-A Round Rock Manager Bobby Jones to assistant hitting coach to complete the 2014 coaching staff. 

Additionally, longtime trainer Jamie Reed has been named senior director of medical operations and Kevin Harmon has been promoted to head trainer.

Molina, 39, spent the 2013 season as the assistant hitting coach for the National League-champion St. Louis Cardinals, his first coaching job since completing a 13-year major league career with the Rangers in 2010.  Acquired by Texas in a July 1, 2010 trade with the San Francisco Giants, Molina had a postseason average of .293 (12-41) with 2 home runs and 8 RBI in the Rangers’ run to a first-ever World Series appearance that year.  His last major league game came as the Rangers’ catcher in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.  Molina hit for the cycle with Texas on July 16, 2010 at Boston’s Fenway Park, when he became just the eighth player since 1900 to hit a grand slam as part of a cycle.

A career .274 hitter for the Angels (1998-2005), Blue Jays (2006), Giants (2007-10), and Rangers (2010), the two-time Gold Glove Award winner was the starting catcher for Anaheim’s 2002 World Series champion club.  He is the older brother of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Rays catcher Jose Molina.

Jones, 64, will be in his third stint on the major league staff, as he served on Johnny Oates’ staff in 2000 and 2001 (third base coach, first base coach) and again under Buck Showalter for the 2006 campaign (first base coach, outfield instructor).  The 2014 campaign will be the 27th season as a coach or manager in the Texas organization for Jones, who is one of the longest-tenured members of club’s baseball operations.  In 24 years as a minor league manager, he has compiled a 1656-1621 record and led his teams to 12 postseason berths, amassing the most games and victories of any manager in the history of the Texas organization.  Originally selected by the Washington/Texas franchise in the 1967 June draft, Jones made his major league debut with the Rangers in 1974.

Reed, who will be in his 12th season with the Rangers, will oversee all medical aspects of the organization on the major and minor league levels.  He will travel on both the major and minor league sides of the Rangers’ system.  Reed previously worked in both the Tampa Bay (1997-2002) and Baltimore (1982-96) organizations and had a stint as President of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

Harmon will be in his 10th season with the Rangers and his first as head trainer.  In addition to his work as a trainer, Harmon has also served as a strength and conditioning coach in a career that began in 1986 spanning stints in the Atlanta, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay organizations.


Tracking the Offseason

The off-season is in full-swing here in Round Rock with only 112 days left to savor the silence. In reality, there’s just under four months until baseball is back at The Dell Diamond and all is right in the world. Silence is overrated anyways.

As is normal in the off-season, there have been a few moves and changes in the Rangers farm system. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with some of your favorite Express players from 2012…

The Rule V draft took place last Thursday in Nashville towards the conclusion of the Winter Meetings. The Rangers selected Marques Smith from the Reds (Double-A Pensacola) and saw Tommy Mendonca selected by the Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento).

Smith split 2012 with the Piratas de Campeche (Triple-A Mexican League) and the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston, Double-A). In 12 games with the Piratas, he hit .261 (12-for-46) with four doubles, one home run and six RBI. He spent the majority of the season in Portland at third base. He batted a solid .293 (82-for-280) with 22 doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 37 RBI in 71 games. He struck out 52 times and drew 23 walks. Smith elected free agency in November and was quickly signed by the Reds before being selected by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft.

Mendonca split the 2012 season between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco. He struggled at times with the Express, hitting just .208 (48-for-231) with 14 extra-base hits and 31 RBI. He struck out 84 times while only walking nine. In his 63 games with Round Rock, only 12 were multi-hit games. He improved in Frisco with a .277 average (28-for-101) in 28 games and improved his OBP and SLG by over 100 points each (.342/.455 vs. .249/.329). He also showed a little more patience at the plate, drawing 10 walks in his 114 plate appearances.


In other Rule 5 draft news, both RHP Justin Miller and LHP Joe Ortiz had their contracts selected by the Rangers and were placed on the 40-man roster. Miller was injured in 2012 and didn’t pitch, but had to be put on the 40-man to be protected before the Rule 5 draft. (For more information on the Rule 5 draft, check out this great article in Baseball America.) Twenty-two-year-old Ortiz had a 1-1 record with a 1.97 ERA (7er/32ip) in 24 appearances with Round Rock last year. He started the season in Double-A Frisco, posting a 1-2 record with a 2.35 ERA (8er/30.2ip) in 27 games. He converted six of 10 save opportunities between the two clubs. Ortiz’s contract was purchased on Nov. 20, the last day to protect a player before the Rule 5 draft.

Now we get into the fun that is minor league free agency. Here’s a list of the following players in the Rangers farm system who have either elected or declared free agency along with the team they have since signed with (where applicable).

Dusty Brown, C – Unsigned
Fabio Castillo, RHP – Giants
Robinzon Diaz, C – Unsigned
Willie Eyre, RHP – Unsigned
Alberto Gonzalez, SS – Cubs
Derek Hankins, RHP – Unsigned
Aaron Heilman, RHP – Unsigned
Luis Hernandez, 2B – Indians
Zach Jackson, LHP – Unsigned
Matt Kata, 3B – Unsigned
Val Majewski (Double-A), OF – Unsigned
Brad Nelson, 1B – Unsigned
Greg Reynolds, RHP – Unsigned
Ben Snyder, LHP – Unsigned
Yangervis Solarte, 2B – Rangers
Ryan Spilborghs, OF – Seibu Lions (Japan)
Johan Yan, RHP – Rangers

For a complete, up-to-date listing of all minor league free agents, click here.

What has been your favorite move of the off-season?

News and Notes (Sept. 7)

Several 2012 Round Rock Express members still are in action this season. The current Texas Rangers roster features eight 2012 Express members:  pitchers Michael Kirkman, Roy Oswalt, Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers and Yoshinori Tateyama, catcher Luis Martinez, infielder Brandon Snyder and outfielder Leonys Martin. Additionally, the Rangers roster includes outfielder Craig Gentry, who was an Express member last season. Other current Rangers who rehabbed with the Express this season are pitchers Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara and infielder Mitch Moreland.

Meanwhile, Double-A Frisco is alive and well in the Texas League playoffs (more on that below). Former Express members Val Majewski, Tommy Mendonca, Guilder Rodriguez and Justin Grimm have seen action through the RoughRiders’ first two games of the playoff games. Right-hander Neil Ramirez also is on Frisco’s active roster.


Rangers Double-A affiliate Frisco is one win away from reaching the Texas League Championship Series. The RoughRiders lead their division series against Houston Astros affiliate Corpus Christi 2-0, winning both home games in dramatic fashion.

Wednesday, the RoughRiders got a one-out RBI double from Chris McGuiness that scored Leury Garcia with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Frisco edged Corpus Christi 6-5. The RoughRiders got hits from all nine starters, including former Express members Tommy Mendonca (1-for-4, run), Val Majewski (2-for-3, RBI, run, walk) and Guilder Rodriguez (1-for-3, RBI, walk). One of Majewski’s hits was a second-inning leadoff homer that tied the game 2-2. The RoughRiders plated three runs in the third to take a 5-2 lead before the Hooks posted solo spots in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to tie the game.

Frisco got another walk-off win Thursday night as Garcia blasted a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory. Rodriguez walked to open the ninth and moved to second on an Engel Beltre sacrifice bunt. Rodriguez then was caught trying to steal third with Garcia at the plate. Garcia, however, had the last laugh as he deposited a Ryan Rodebaugh 2-1 offering over the fence down the right-field line. Mendonca (1-for-2) and Rodriguez (0-for-2) both walked twice; Majewski scored the game-tying run as a pinch-runner in a two-run eighth. Justin Grimm worked two scoreless innings in relief for the RoughRiders, scattering a pair of hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Corpus Christi designated hitter Drew Locke, who played for the Express in 2010, was 0-for-4.

The best-of-five series now shifts to Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field. Game three features former University of Missouri right-hander Nick Tepesch on the mound for the RoughRiders against Hooks right-hander Ross Seaton. Tepesch was 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 14 starts and two relief outings for Frisco during the regular season. He began the 2012 season with Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach, where he was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts. Seaton was 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA in 25 starts for the Hooks during the regular season.

Frisco has not announced starters for the final two games of the series should they be necessary. However, projections have Neil Ramirez going in game four and right-hander Cody Buckel in the series finale. Ramirez began the season with the Express and struggled through 15 starts (6-8, 7.66 ERA) after a promising Round Rock showing in 2011. He was reassigned to Frisco in late June and went 2-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance with the RoughRiders. Like Tepesch, Buckel started the season with Myrtle Beach; he was dominant with the Pelicans, going 5-3 with a 1.31 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 75.2 innings in 13 starts. Buckel was promoted to Frisco in mid-June and was 5-5 with a 3.78 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 69.0 innings in 10 starts and three relief outings with the RoughRiders.


Pitchers Mark Hamburger and John Gaub, both of whom were Express members in 2012, completed their seasons with other Triple-A squads.

Hamburger, who was Round Rock’s pitcher of the year in 2011, was acquired by the San Diego Padres upon his mid-June release from the Rangers. However, he was not with the Padres long, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in one start and four relief outings with Triple-A Tucson. Hamburger was released in mid-July and nabbed by the Houston Astros, who assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. There, Hamburger was 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 17 relief appearances. His lone victory was Aug. 19 at Round Rock when he worked one and one-thirds scoreless innings with one strikeout and one walk in the RedHawks’ 5-2 win.

If you blinked in late May and early June, you likely missed Gaub’s stint with the Express. The veteran lefty started the season with Triple-A Durham (Tampa Bay Rays) of the International League and was released May 20. The Rangers signed him three days later and assigned him to Round Rock, where did not record a decision or allow a run in five relief outings – the first four of which were on the road. Gaub threw 12 pitches in an Express uniform at The Dell Diamond, those coming in one perfect inning June 5 against Albuquerque. He was released shortly thereafter and acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals, who assigned him to Triple-A Memphis. Gaub spent the remainder of the season with the Redbirds, going 0-3 with one save and a 6.68 ERA in 33 relief appearances. He pitched in three games against the Express, including a scoreless inning July 13 at The Dell Diamond.


Several other former Express members currently are in the majors with organizations other than Texas. Here is a look at a couple; we’ll check in with others throughout the remainder of the season.

Luis Cruz (Express 2011) began the season with Triple-A Albuquerque (Los Angeles Dodgers) and hit .381 with eight homers, 46 RBI, 31 doubles and three triples in 74 games with the Isotopes. He was promoted to the Dodgers in early July and did not look back. His call-up was due to an injury to starting shortstop Gordon Dee. Cruz moved to third shortly after the Dodgers’ trade for Hanley Ramirez, who returned to shortstop after playing third with the Miami Marlins. (Remember all the ballyhoo surrounding his move to third when the Marlins acquired Jose Reyes in the off-season?) Cruz is hitting .306 with four homers, 30 RBI and 15 doubles in 54 games with the Dodgers. After leading Dodgers regulars with a .333 average in August, Cruz is off to an 8-for-20 start in five games this month (he had four hits Monday against San Diego). In fact, his August average tied for the National League’s seventh-best mark that month. Cruz has done most of his damage in key situations, hitting .352 with runners in scoring position.

Cody Ransom (Express 2006-2007) made it to the majors for the sixth consecutive season and the second straight with Arizona. This is his 10th big-league season with five organizations (Giants, Astros, Yankees, Phillies, Diamondbacks). Ransom started the 2012 campaign with the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate Reno Aces, hitting .294 with two homers and nine RBI in 10 games before joining the Diamondbacks, for whom he played 17 games (.269, four homers, 12 RBI). He was claimed on waivers by Milwaukee in mid-May but struggled with the Brew Crew (.196, six homers, 26 RBI in 64 games). Arizona reclaimed Ransom off waivers last weekend, and he was 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in his first game back Monday night.

Hernandez Called Up

This today from the Rangers and Express:


Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers announced this afternoon that the club has selected the contract of infielder Luis Hernandez (#3) from Triple-A Round Rock. Hernandez takes the active roster spot of Michael Young, who has been placed on MLB’s Paternity Leave List. A player can be on the Paternity Leave List for a maximum of three days.

Hernandez, 28, will be looking to make his Texas debut. He has spent the entire season with the Express, batting .262 (130-497) with 8 home runs, 21 doubles, 5 triples, and 66 RBI in 124 contests. Over his last 18 games beginning August 5, Hernandez has a .423 (33-78) average with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 14 RBI and 14 runs scored. He began that stretch with 9 consecutive multi-hit games to open what was a 16-game hit streak. The switch-hitter has batted .273 (92-337) against right-handed pitching this year. He has played primarily shortstop in the Pacific Coast League and has also seen action at second base.

Hernandez has a .245 career average in 120 major league games with Baltimore (2007-08), Kansas City (2009), and New York-NL (2010). His last major league game was with the Mets on Sept. 18, 2010.

Young was the starting designated hitter in last night’s game, going 0-for-1 before he was removed for a pinch-hitter. His wife, Cristina, gave birth to baby boy Antonio Barbosa at 9:02 p.m. CDT last night, the couple’s third child. Young is batting .271 with 4 home runs and 50 RBI in 121 games this season.

With the addition of Hernandez, the Rangers now have a full 40-man roster.

Bianucci Making His Way Back

Injured infielder Mike Bianucci doubled for the Rookie Rangers last night as he attempts to make his way back from a hand injury he suffered in late June.

Bianucci has 14 home runs to go along with a .280 average in 78 games with the Express this season before the injury.

There is no timetable for his return, but it could coincide with roster changes made over the next  three weeks.

Martin Back With Express

This today from the Rangers and Express:



Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers announced this afternoon that the club has reinstated right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster to the 25-man roster.  To make room on the active roster for Dempster, the team has optioned outfielder Leonys Martin to Triple-A Round Rock

Dempster was on the MLB restricted list due to personal reasons for three days from Friday through Sunday, covering the club’s series in Toronto.  He is scheduled to make his fourth start for the Rangers tonight since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a July 31 trade.  He is 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in 3 starts for Texas and went 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA over 16 starts for the Cubs this season.  Tonight will be his first outing since last Monday at New York-AL.

Martin was recalled to take Dempster’s spot for the weekend series, recording a walk and strikeout over 2 games and 2 plate appearances.  He has batted .184 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, and 5 RBI in 17 games over two stints with Texas this season.  He has spent the rest of the season with the Express, batting .362 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI in 45 games.

The Rangers still have 39 players on the club’s 40-man roster.

OKC Outlasts E-Train


18 August 2012  |  The Dell Diamond  |  Round Rock, Texas

Records:  Express (59-69), RedHawks (67-60)

– Oklahoma City leads series 1-0
– Oklahoma City leads season series 6-3
– Game 2 of series Sunday at 6:05 p.m. CDT
– Sunday’s scheduled starters:  RR – RHP Justin Grimm (2-1, 4.38 ERA); OKC – LHP Fernando Abad (2-0, 4.03 ERA)

ROUND ROCK suffered consecutive losses for only second time since July 22 … fell to 12-19 in series openers … suffered fourth loss in 62 games when leading after seven inning … recorded 10-plus hits for seventh time in last eight games.

CHAD BELL left game leading 3-1 … denied first win since July 18 at Nashville, first win at The Dell Diamond since July 1 vs. New Orleans … held opponent to fewer than two runs for first time since working six shutout innings July 1 vs. New Orleans  … did not walk a batter for first time in 11 starts with Express.

JULIO BORBON (2-for-4) five-game hitting streak (.478, 11-for-23) … fourth straight multiple-hit game … 13th multiple-hit outing in last 24 games.

LUIS HERNANDEZ (3-for-5) extended hitting streak to 14 games (.477, 31-for-65) … 11th multiple-hit effort in last 13 games (fifth game with three-plus hits).

JOEY BUTLER (1-for-3, walk) seven-game hitting streak (.333, 11-for-33) … hit safely in 13 of last 15 games (20-for-63) … at least one strikeout in 12 straight games (21 strikeouts) … eighth straight multiple-strikeout game, ninth in last 10 games.

BRAD NELSON (2-for-5) snapped 0-for-11 skid with first-inning single.

MATT KATA (1-for-3) hit safely in six of last seven games … eight RBI over last seven games.

YANGERVIS SOLARTE (0-for-4) second hitless outing in last nine games.

RYAN SPILBORGHS (1-for-4) hit safely in seven of last eight games.

ALBERTO HERNANDEZ (1-for-4) hit safely in all three games with Express (5-for-12).

ROBINZON DIAZ (2-for-4) third multiple-hit effort in three games with Express (6-for-13).

Jackson, Martin Lead Express Past Sky Sox

11 August 2012 | Security Service Field | Colorado Springs, Colo.

Records: Express (54-67), Sky Sox (65-57)
– Zach Jackson (RR) tosses 7.1 innings allowing two runs
– Leonys Martin (RR) amasses three RBI, including his seventh home run of the season
– Luis Hernandez (RR) collects two hits; 13-for-28 over his last six games
– Series tied 1-1
– Round Rock continues four-game series Sunday at Colorado Springs – 2:05 p.m. CDT first pitch
– Sunday’s scheduled starters: RR – RHP Greg Reynolds (9-7, 5.02 ERA); CS – LHP Nick Schmidt (4-2, 6.75 ERA)

A look back at July

1B Brad Nelson

By Will Weinstock

In Part III of an Express Tracks series chronicling the highlights of each month of the Round Rock Express 2012 season. This article covers the highlights of July. One game left in July the E-Train are 11-16 (48-62 overall) this month and are now 16.0 games back in the Southern Division. 

Player of the Month: 1B Brad Nelson

Highlights of July:

  • Former Express players OF Hunter Pence and LHP Wandy Rodriguez were traded to the Giants and Pirates respectively.
  • Season-best five game winning streak from July 26-29.

Quote of the Month: RHP Justin Grimm on his MLB debut

“I did not know if I was going to be able to throw a strike or not,” Grimm said. “I was shaking and then hearing the crowd after that first strike, I knew that is where I want to be. 

Impact Hitter: 1B Brad Nelson (.286, 7 HR, 16 RBI in July)

After a disappointing month of June, 1B Brad Nelson has turned it around in a big way in July. In a month that the E-Train struggled to score runs, most nights the offense usually went through Nelson. Since the All-Star Break the 29-year-old has been in a class of his own, hitting .348 with 7 home runs and 14 RBI. With opposing pitchers starting to work around him, Nelson has adjusted well and raised his on base percentage significantly and walked 18 times. Expect him to continue to be an integral part of this team.

Impact Pitcher: RHP Justin Grimm (1-0, 2.57 ERA in July)

Expectations were high for RHP Justin Grimm when he arrived in Round Rock. Grimm obliterated hitters at Double-A (8-3, 1.80 ERA), on his way to making two major league starts for the Rangers. Since coming to the Express the 23-year-old has done nothing to dispel the pedigree that follows him. What has impressed the Express Tracks staff the most is not only his great stuff and numbers, but Grimm’s makeup. You can tell off the bat that Grimm is a player that is out there trying to get better each and every day, and a guy that any team would love to have in their clubhouse. For more on Grimm click here and check out our interview with him last week

Month of the Rehab: Although Express fans never root for injuries at the big league level. One of the advantages of so many Rangers going down so far this season was the large amount of MLB rehab assignments in Round Rock. July might have set a record with five rehabs. LHP Derek Holland came first, and was followed by RHP Alexi Ogando, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Neftali Feliz, and lastly 1B Mitch Moreland. All had their varying degrees of success. But most impressive was Ogando’s sheer dominance. When he pitched onlookers knew the hitters had no chance. In his 3.0 innings of work Ogando gave up one hit and struck out five.

SportsCenter Da Na Na: In a stretch of four nights in late July the Express played three extra inning games. The E-Train won two of those three extra inning games in game winning fashion. The first night the Express came back from a five run deficit in the ninth to win in the 11th inning on OF Ryan Spilborgh’s game winning single down the right field line. Two nights later, another comeback and another game winning single in the 11th inning. The only difference was it was C Elio Sarmiento this time in a 3-2 Express win.

Oh So Sweet: The E-Train have won five of their last six games and are on a roll going into the last full month of the season. August is looking more exciting because of what the lineup could look like in the coming weeks. The lineup has been hitting better of late and will be adding at least one stud and possibly another soon. First, the Rangers optioned OF Leonys Martin to Round Rock when they called up 1B Mitch Moreland yesterday. And there is a chance 3B Mike Olt could be promoted to Triple-A for a late season challenge. The following lineup should be taken with a grain of salt, by no means are they derived from inside information or knowledge. However, this is what the Express lineup could look like if the Olt is brought up to Triple-A. Enjoy.

LF Borbon (.300, 8 HR, 40 RBI)

CF Martin (.344, 5 HR, 22 RBI)

3B Olt (.277, 28 HR, 80 RBI at Frisco)

1B Nelson (.281, 18 HR, 63 RBI)

DH Spilborghs (.293, 6 HR, 40 RBI)

RF Butler (.280, 14 HR, 49 RBI)

2B Solarte (.278, 7 HR, 40 RBI)

SS Hernandez (.232, 7 HR, 47 RBI)

C Martinez (.268, 2 HR, 21 RBI)

Overall Records:

(MLB) Texas Rangers: 59-42, 3.5 game lead

(AA) Frisco Roughriders: 17-20, 8.0 games back

(Advanced-A) Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 22-15, 1.0 game lead

(A) Hickory Crawdads: 21-17, 1.0 game lead

(Short Season) Spokane Indians: 4-2, 1.0 game lead

(Rookie) Texas Rangers: 19-13, 1.0 game lead

Justin Grimm Q & A

Express Tracks writers Andrew Brown and Will Weinstock talked with RHP Justin Grimm about Arlington and the different type of pitches he has in his arsenal.