Jennings, Gabbard and Turnbow are all throwing batting practice now but this places all of them behind the curve in the battle for roster spots. I think it is likely that all three start off in the minors and are not added to the 40 to start the season. If this is the case for Turnbow, look for Eyre and Rupe to take the last 2 bullpen spots with Madrigal assigned to AAA to close until he is called up. Both Rupe and Madrigal have 1 option year left while Eyre does not.
Kris Benson, strengthening his injured shoulder all off-season after pitching 60+ innings in AAA ball last season, is ahead of every pitcher in camp. He pitched two innings today and has been up to 98 pitches in a bullpen session. I still say he starts off in the minors. Not sure I mentioned this in a previous post, but I thought that Benson would be a better option than Jennings due to his career #s, despite being older, and that he had better velo at least as of 06. Fangraphs did not have any velo info for 04 and 05, his best years, so I was not able to see if his declining #s in 05 and 06 were due in part to a decline in velo/health. Nor did fangraphs have any data on 07 or 08 as he only pitched in the minors in 08 and not at all in 07. However, Benson hit 91 on the gun today, which means that he is throwing at the same velo as he was in 05-06. He said his arm strenght was back to normal after today's outing. IF jennings proves healthy, the rangers could have 2 decent back rotation options in case of injury though Jennings can opt out after 4/27 and Benson can do so as of 5/5. However, look for Benson to opt out (or be traded) if not added to the 40 by then and Jennings to stay at least until the end of May as he likely won't be at full strength until mid-April.
After having zero press since he was shut down (not sure if he had another surgery or not)last season, AJ Murray appeared in todays ST game, going one inning with 2 SO. I though he might be done after last season but it is likely that he ends up in the minors as well fighting for a roster spot at AAA. His fastball was in the 85-87 range last season likely limiting him to a loogy role if that due to his inconsistent command.
Byrd is still not running, after reporting to camp at only about 70% after last october's microfracture surgery on his knee, but is taking batting practice. I still imagine that he starts off the season on the 15-day dl (rehabbing/playing in extended and then on to a full season club for some games) taking a conservative route to his recovery. IF so, this improves the chance that both Catt and Jones are still with the club on opening day.
David Murphy and Kinsler appears to be 100%- finally some good post-surgery news. Andrus' wrist seems to be improving as he played today as well. Wash said that Arias' arm still looked weak at shortstop in an intrasquad game on Tuesday. Look for him to be outrighted off the 40 a/s opening day and assigned to AAA or traded if he is claimed off waivers. TR Sullivan thinks that Andrus will make the active roster and start at SS when the season begins despite the loss of one controllable year as a result. I don't really care, as the ranger's like to tie up guys before they become arbitration eligible anyways, so look for them to do that with Elvis before arb hearings after the '11 season.
Bannister is shelved with forearm soreness but it does not appear related to his surgically repaired elbow. I don't believe he had a chance to make the active roster even if he was healthy as he needs to work on his control probably starting off at AA.
Camp notes: Diamond has apparently ditched his CB as his breaking ball and gone back to his slider. There is some question about the evolution of Diamond's use of breaking balls in his career. Some were surprised when he started throwing a curveball once he returned to AA last year. However, BA suggests that the curveball was his primary breaking pitch until the 2006 season when he switched to a slider. Could be that he was trying to see which pitch he felt comfortable with, or could throw strikes with, after his surgery, and decided the slider gave him the best chance to throw strikes. He could not throw the curve for strikes to be sure. What is sure is that he threw both the slider and the curveball in 05 and neither is a new pitch only the order of preference and pitch frequency has changed.
OT: RH RP Borowsky retired; Odalis Perez was released. If anyone signs him, it will be after the WBC to see how he looks. He may have to wait to sign until after the season begins if he wants anything more than a minor league contract.
UPDATE, WED, 2/25/ 1130pm:
Jeff Wilson also just did an injury update on the DMN blog that I will post in full.
Basically, Turnbow, Jennings, and Gabbard will be ready in that order, the first two ready to pitch in a game next week, and Gabbard more likely the week after or longer. So, lets say that Turnbow is 7-10 days behind and Jennings about 2 weeks behind the other pitchers, which isn't so bad.
"Right-hander Jason Jennings will throw a simulated game Sunday and get on a schedule that will put him into a spring game next week. "He looked very good," pitching coach Mike Maddux said after Jennings' bullpen session Wednesday.
Derrick Turnbow is one step ahead of Jennings in his road to recovery from a rotator-cuff injury that didn't require surgery. The former All-Star closer threw a simulated game Wednesday and is set for game action.
John Bannister, who has been suffering from stiffness in his right forearm, will throw a simulated game Friday.
Left-hander Kason Gabbard is continuing at "Gabby pace," Maddux said, but is not ready to pitch in a game. He had elbow surgery last season."