The city of Mesa, Arizona averages just 7.52 inches of rainfall per year. They picked up a good portion of that total today.
The Rangers and Angels were victims of a rare rainout on Thursday afternoon in Mesa. Anaheim led 1-0 after two innings when the game was called after a 51 minute rain delay.
Of course, the big story of the day concerns Kameron Loe's injury, and how it will affect his chances of making the rotation. Looks like things might not be as bad as they first looked. T.R. Sullivan reports that Loe first suffered back and neck spasms while stretching on Wednesday, and was scratched from his start today mainly as a precautionary measure. Kameron felt he could still pitch, but Ron Washington wisely decided against it.
As it turns out, he couldn't have picked a better day to get hurt on; the rainout would have ended up cutting his outing short anyway. If Loe has no setbacks over the next couple of days, he could pitch on Sunday against the White Sox in Tucson.
Evan Grant has more details about Wright's poor start on Wednesday, with Ron Washington saying that Jamey was mechanically "out of whack," a long-time issue for him. Wright is scheduled for just one more start before next Wednesday, which is the deadline for the Rangers to add him to the 40-man roster. Whatever his mechanical issues are, he doesn't have much time to work them out before his last rotation audition. Grant does hint that the Mets would probably be ready to snap him up if the Rangers balk, as they're having all kinds of starting pitching problems.
In the meantime, Bruce Chen will get his big opportunity to pass both of his main competitors on Friday, as he starts against the Milwaukee Brewers. I've never been particularly high on Chen, and he was absolutely horrible last year. However, he was quite good for Baltimore in 2005 (3.83 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 197 1/3 innings), and has a somewhat more palatable track record than Jamey Wright, as well as being 2 1/2 years younger than him. Chen is more homer and fly ball prone, but strikes out more and walks fewer batters than Wright. Neither of these guys is particularly great, but I'd rather have Chen than Wright at the back of the rotation if Loe doesn't win the job.
Of course, if recent history is any indication, Texas will probably run half of the organization's pitchers through the #5 spot before the season's over anyway.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers are targeting Cincinnati's Chris Denorfia and San Francisco's Jason Ellison as platoon partners for Kenny Lofton in center field, among others. I'm going to assume this means the front office isn't real high on Marlon Byrd right now. Also, Matt Kata will play in center field on Friday night for Texas. While he's never played the position in a regular season game, he's practiced and played in the outfield extensively over the last two years in the minors and in Mexico. If he makes the team, Kata and Hairston will give the Rangers an extremely versatile defensive bench.
Rick Bauer's stock has plummeted further than I thought. Apparently, he's drawing zero trade interest from other clubs despite Texas having a "number of talks" with other teams, and may end up staying in the Rangers organization after all - in the minors, that is. He would still have to clear waivers for Texas to send him to Oklahoma City, though, as he's out of options.
Franchise cornerstone Michael Young made his first game appearance on Thursday since his frightening beanball incident. Mark Teixeira played the entire game in Wednesday's 11-7 loss to the Giants. He had been sidelined for over a week with a sprained left knee, and felt he needed to stress-test it for a full nine innings.
The first pitch for Friday night's game is set for 9:05 PM CST, and can be heard on KRLD 1080 AM in the Metroplex.
11 days until Opening Day.