BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Spring training reaches the halfway point this weekend. The Rangers made their first roster cuts on Thursday, and more will come next week. Four pitchers were reassigned. LHP Kelvin De La Cruz was optioned to AA Frisco in the morning, then traded back to Cleveland in the afternoon for “cash considerations.” His trade reduces the team’s 40-man roster to 39. RHP’s Matt West and Wilmer Font were optioned to Class A Myrtle Beach. RHP Fabio Castillio was reassigned to minor league camp.
Assistant general manager Thad Levine termed the moves “thinning out the herd.” With starters expected to go at least four innings at this point in the spring, there are fewer manjor league innings available for pitchers.
There will however be plenty of innings this weekend, weather permitting. This is the annual baseball weekend in Las Vegas when the Cubs come to town and play exhibition games against a high profile team. The Rangers were chosen to be this year’s opponent. A contingent of 20 position players (including Josh Hamilton) and 12 pitchers went to Las Vegas for the weekend. Meanwhile back in Surprise, the team will play split squad games with the Diamondbacks and Brewers. Derek Holland and Matt Harrison are the scheduled starting pitchers in Las Vegas. However, there is the possibility of rain in both Las Vegas and Phoenix this weekend, and the team is already looking at contingency plans to keep their pitchers on schedule if games are not played this weekend.