Rangers taking PFP to heart

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Pitchers’ fielding practice might as well be a four-letter word to some pitchers who have to endure the drills on the four back fields as the Surprise Recreation Complex.

But the numbers say the PFP drills are paying off.

Texas pitchers, who began PFP work Wednesday, cut their position error total from 16 in 2011 to seven last season. It’s something that Texas manager Ron Washington stressed to his team before Wednesday’s workouts and the message is getting across.

“There’s no doubt about it that it’s part of fundamentals,” Washington said. “It’s something we’re certainly going to do the best we can. We’ve got to execute it when the game starts.”

Texas pitchers also helped turn 15 double plays last season and Washington wants to see that number increase this year. He’d also like to see the pitchers impact baserunners more in 2013. They struggled in that regard last year as the Rangers allowed 106 steals, with many coming because of the pitcher. The Rangers allowed 85 steals in 2011.

Washington believes that’s more of a mindset for pitchers.

“We do work on that here but once you get out there on the mound, we as a group try to separate an opposing pitcher’s attention span,” Washington said. “Some guys just can’t hold runners. If you can’t hold runners, you can make a pitch. That’s what we’re getting at.”