ARLINGTON, Texas – The Opening Day roster for the Texas Rangers is filling up quickly.
Texas manager Ron Washington announced that both right-hander Tanner Scheppers and left-hander Joe Ortiz had made the team, leaving the Rangers with just one vacant roster spot.
Texas will open the season with either an additional outfielder in Julio Borbon or another bullpen arm in either Josh Lindblom or Cory Burns. The roster will have to be adjusted by April 9, which is day No. 5 starter Nick Tepesch is slated to make his first start.
Ortiz, 22, was a spring star for the Rangers, posting a 0.82 ERA in 10 spring appearances.
“He got outs,” Texas manager Ron Washington said of Ortiz. “He got outs by attacking. He wasn’t afraid of the strike zone. He wasn’t afraid of the hitters that walked up there. He just made his pitches, got outs and got off the field.”
Washington said he was unfamiliar with Ortiz when spring training started. But Ortiz, who had a 2.15 ERA between Frisco and Round Rock last year, started the camp strong and never let up.
Now he’s getting ready for his first Opening Day.
“In the beginning of the spring training I told everyone that no one knew who I was,” Ortiz said. “I hope that everyone knows who I am now. You’ve just got to keep working hard and keep throwing strikes.”
While Ortiz was strong from the start, Scheppers wasn’t. Offseason toe surgery and a balky hamstring contributed to a rough start, but he finished spring strong and is on his first Opening Day roster. Washington said Scheppers is the one power right-hander the club has in the bullpen now.
“It’s a dream come true,” Scheppers said. “Spring didn’t start off very strong. I didn’t give them any reason to put me on the team. As the spring progressed, I started feeling better. I’m just blessed to be able to go out there Opening Day.”
Washington said no decision has been made on Borbon, who is out of options. Washington also said he’ll likely know Saturday who’s going to get the Opening Day start in centerfield.