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The Surprise Surprise: Rangers Take Spring Games to San Antonio

By Jared Sandler | @sandlerj

Stat of the Day

.500 (17-for-34): Pedro Ciriaco's batting average after a 3-for-3 performance in the second game of the Rangers' Big League Weekend series versus the Royals.

Covering the Bases

*Jeff Banister told the media in San Antonio that the Rangers rotation would start with two left-handers, followed by Colby Lewis, and then the lone remaining left-hander before whoever wins the final spot. The official announcement of Cole Hamels as the team's Opening Day starter will likely come next week. Who follows is still to be determined.

*Yu Darvish threw 18 pitches off the mound today.

Game Notes RANGERS 1 Diamondbacks 11

On the Bump

*Chi Chi Gonzalez looked good until he surrendered a 2-out, 2-strike infield single which snowballed into a 5-run inning, highlighted by two D-Backs home runs. One big issue is zero strikeouts in three innings. Cheech did a good job getting ahead of the count, but just couldn't put guys away. One focus for Cheech entering camp was pitch-speed separation which, in turn, would lead to more strikeouts. I haven't seen too much improvement on the variance in velocity yet. His chances to crack the rotation on Opening Day are slipping.

At the Dish

*Nice to see Rougned Odor notch a couple of hits in his second Cactus League game back.

*Some young guns got some work as Eric Jenkins, Michael De Leon, and Yeyson Yrizarri each collected a hit.

In the Field

*Both Joey Gallo and Mitch Moreland made outstanding diving plays

*Rougned Odor struggled with the double play ball last year. At times it appeared that he was great making the relay but bad completing the turn and other times it was reversed. Today he faltered with a high throw trying to complete the turn. Something to monitor...

San Antonio RANGERS 13 Royals 6

*A.J. Griffin gave up 3 runs on 2 home runs (neither were Alamo Dome cheapies) in 3.2 innings. The report is that he started to tire at around 50 pitches, but looked great up until that point. Griffin told me he felt good and suggested that left-handed hitters are able to cheat on outside pitches because of the short porch to right field, which might have played a role. It makes sense.

*Cesar Ramos reportedly looked strong, allowing just a run in three innings. I still can't definitively decide which route gives him the best chance to the make the team, but he's definitely improving his stock for the rotation or the bullpen.

*Pedro Ciriaco added three more hits and his candidacy for the utility infielder spot--and in his case, a little outfield, too--is looking stronger and stronger by the day.

The Walkoff

For the first time, we have video of an actual walk-off. This was yesterday, but in case you missed it, here's Lewis Brinson's 3-run home run that capped Texas' comeback victory over Kansas City in the first game of the Big League Weekend series:.

Until tomorrow, Peace Be the Journey

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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