The Texas Rangers, long the bridesmaid and never the bride. Come the 2009 season and the Rangers franchise is looking to change that in a big way. Nolan Ryan has imposed something that the team has lacked over the years of its existence; toughness. The Rangers are the only team in MLB that have not gone to the playoffs with just two division titles under their belts.
In his second year as team President, Ryan is just about everywhere you go at Arlington Stadium. When Ryan took over last season, he was more than a little miffed about the pitching situation on the team and in the majors in general. Ryan is so serious about the teams pitching that he held two mini camps this offseason, one in November and another in January. At the end of last year, Ryan hired pitching coach Mike Maddux (who had pitched for the Ryan owned Round Rock Express) away from the Milwaukee Brewers. With pitch counts holding most pitchers down, Ryan feels that today’s pitchers are being coddled because of the contracts that they demand but as far as Maddox and Ryan are concerned, “Guys that train for a mile ain’t running more than a mile,” Maddox said recently. Maddox, under Ryan’s authority, has skipped the pitch counts and will be working to extend the pitchers through the end stretch of the season in the Texas Summer heart.
Look for the Rangers, who are now just 3 games out of first place in the AL West behind the LA Dodgers and have solid pitching from the entire staff to include Rookie Derek Holland who recently allowed just two hits and a walk over 8 ½ innings.