THE NEWBERG REPORT — SEPTEMBER 28, 2007
Mark Teixeira’s season won’t last any longer than the Rangers’ season, but you can’t blame him. Teixeira, who has homered in Atlanta’s last three games, including last night’s 6-4 loss to Philadelphia that eliminated the Braves from playoff contention, is a .320/.403/.621 hitter as a Brave, with 17 home runs and 55 RBI in 52 games.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether Atlanta gears up to try and lock Teixeira up long-term this winter, and even more interesting to see if he’d be receptive to the idea, forgoing the chance to shop himself in free agency in a year.
Texas has caught Oakland in the AL West standings. The two clubs are tied for third in the division, with the A’s hosting the Angels this weekend to wrap up their season, while Texas travels to Seattle for three.
The Rangers’ next official game will be in Seattle as well, as Texas opens the 2008 season at Safeco Field, making it an inexplicable seven years out of eight that the club opens on the road. The Rangers will also finish the regular season on the road — for the fifth time in the last six years. Seriously, what’s going on here?
Texas opens at home on April 8 against Baltimore. Houston, Philadelphia, and Teixeira’s Braves will be the National League teams to visit Arlington.
The Yankees and Red Sox each visit Rangers Ballpark for just one series.
The Rangers finished 2007 with a 47-34 home record, tied at the moment for fifth among AL teams in home wins.
The club has set a franchise record by turning 177 double plays, eclipsing the old mark of 176 set in 1975.
Righthander Scott Feldman will replace righthander Josh Rupe on the Surprise roster when the Arizona Fall League gets underway in October. Rupe is coming back from elbow surgery (though he did pitch three Arizona League innings late in August), while Feldman will continue to work on his new three-quarters delivery.
Vicente Padilla will pitch this winter in Nicaragua. Jason Botts will play in Mexico, and Luis Mendoza might as well. Playing in the Dominican Republic will be Joaquin Arias, Omar Beltre, Joaquin Benoit, Nelson Cruz, Frank Francisco, Freddy Guzman, Robinson Tejeda, Edinson Volquez, and Bill White.
According to Eric Nadel, a published report that Marlon Byrd will play in Mexico was false.
Baseball America’s ranking of this season’s top 20 Northwest League prospects, based on input from league managers and scouts, not only contains three Rangers righthanders — Fabio Castillo (number 5), Tommy Hunter (number 7), and Jake Brigham (number 20) — but according to BA writer Alan Matthews, another two would have made the list if they’d amassed enough innings at Spokane to qualify. In fact, Matthews said that Michael Main would have been the number one prospect in the league if he’d qualified, and Neftali Feliz would have been somewhere in the top 10.
Midwest League rankings will be revealed today. Kasey Kiker, Zach Phillips, Omar Poveda, Johnny Whittleman, and Marcus Lemon all have a chance to figure in somewhere. Brennan Garr put up dirty numbers as well, but relievers generally don’t show up on these lists.
Torii Hunter last week: “I’m hoping the Texas Rangers make some moves and I’ll be right there. . . . Whatever moves they’re making, if they’re good, then I’m going to do it because they really do have a better chance than anybody [of signing me].”
Torii Hunter this week: “I don’t favor Texas. My family doesn’t even favor Texas, but we’re just going to kind of wait and see.”
Guess even sheriffs have to be politicians.