a 2009 Texas Rangers: Rangers drop Padilla
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The reports of Vicente Padilla’s exit from the Texas Rangers may or may not be exaggerated, but they are at least delayed. Padilla cleared waivers as expected last Friday, the Rangers did not assign him to the minor leagues as speculated, and he made his scheduled start Sunday in Fenway Park, where he threw a gutty seven innings to nab his fourth win of the season for the lawmen. Starting pitching is certainly a coveted commodity in baseball today, and Padilla has the physical talent to be a far better than average starter. However, claiming Padilla on waivers meant that a team was claiming the financial obligations for the balance of his current contract, which is now known to be more than $10 million including a buyout of a team option for 2010. There were no takers on the waiver wire.

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Players are routinely placed on waivers throughout the season, and teams do not announce the fact. There was no question though that the Rangers leaked the information on Padilla last week, as they were looking to send a message to both Padilla and the organization, that behavior like Padilla displayed in his meltdown start against the Yankees will not be tolerated. There was a “clear-the-air” meeting with Padilla and Ranger officials last Wednesday, though all parties are mum on the outcome.


At least for one start, Padilla to his credit seems to have gotten the message. He breezed through the first two innings Sunday against the Red Sox, aided by four runs of support from the Ranger offense over the first three innings. However, he ran into trouble in the third inning, trouble that was aided by shoddy Ranger defense and a mystifyingly tight strike zone by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. These are the type events that tend to frustrate Padilla, and the expression of that frustration is often hitting opposing batters. Surprisingly, he actually did hit Kevin Youkilis, but it was clearly not intentional. It was an off-speed pitch that Youkilis made no effort to avoid, and Timmons made the rare call of not allowing him to take first base. Padilla held himself together in the third, and went on to complete four more innings before yielding to the Ranger bullpen, which tossed two scoreless innings to secure the win.




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It was a significant win for Texas, as they won the series two games to one, their first series win in Boston since 1997! It also gave them a 3-3 record on their road trip. .500 ball on the road is almost always good, but when the opponents are Boston and New York, the teams with the best records in the American League besides the Rangers’, it is especially good. The only cause for concern is that the three losses came in games in which the Rangers’ starters pitched fewer than five innings. Prior to last week, Texas had just three such starts on the season.

The Rangers are home this week, starting with Toronto. So far this year, Texas has played .667 ball at home (18-9), the second best home record in the A. L. The Rangers in fact play 19 of their next 25 games at home; a stretch that they hope will extend their lead in the West.

By: Richard W. Humphrey
MLBcenter.com Texas Rangers Correspondent

> View all of the 2009 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans