DJ Peters’ need to please makes Rangers trainers compare him to a puppy

ARLINGTON – It’s been four weeks since the Rangers caught the mountain from a man DJ Peters on waivers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He produced a handful of stupendous circuits, which was expected. He did some movie-worthy takes, which, frankly, was a pleasant surprise.

What they haven’t seen yet: Hard evidence that Peters can strike regularly enough to be a daily contributor. When asked for an assessment of Peters’ first month on Saturday, manager Chris Woodward instead told a story about his enthusiasm, which brought to mind a comparison to a puppy. The puppies are really cute. But they can also be problematic.

“[Hitting instructor Luis Ortiz] called him a Labrador Retriever, ”said Woodward. “He just constantly wants to make you happy and wants to learn. You throw something at him and his tail wags and his tongue sticks out the whole time. He’s just relentless. He’s constantly trying to figure out things on the offensive side.

“This guy is better than anyone,” he added. “But he has work to do.”

About it: What the right-handed hitting Peters has to do is run over the lefties. When the Rangers caught him, he was about three weeks away from a swing adjustment that led to 41 straight swings against lefties with no duds. It was in the minor leagues, however. At the major league level, he struggled to keep up.

In Rangers’ 5-2 loss to Houston on Saturday, he was hitting free in three appearances at bat, including two against southpaw Framber Valdez. Since arriving in Texas, he’s 5 for 31 (0.161) against the lefties and is without a hitting in his last 12 at-bat against them. Yes, this is a small sample, but it highlights that there is still work to be done.

An example earlier this week in Cleveland summed it up. With runners on base and Nathaniel Lowe on bridge, Peters became too aggressive against a southpaw who was more likely to get around him and chase the southpaw across the bridge. Peters, who was looking for a fastball, instead threw three breaking balls, then landed softly.

“We talked about it after the fact; he told me his game plan and he stuck to it, ”said Woodward. “And I said to him, ‘This is great, you stuck to it.’ But maybe there was a little flaw in that game plan. I gave him other things to think about. He wasn’t likely to get a fastball early. He wanted it all. He wants to learn.

Iron Man: With Jonah Heim on COVID-IL and the Rangers concerned about Yohel Pozo’s appeal ability, Jose Trevino has worked harder than any Texas wide receiver in nearly a decade.

Trevino started for the sixth day in a row on Saturday and the seventh game in a row (after Sunday’s postponement). Last Rangers wide receiver to start six straight: AJ Pierzynski in 2013. Last to catch seven or more consecutive games: Gerald Laird in 2007.

Director Chris Woodward said the weather conditions at Globe Life Field make it easier for a Ranger catcher to perform this kind of duty.

“I don’t know how Pudge [Rodriguez] has been doing it all these years, ”said manager Chris Woodward. “But it helps that we’re inside. We just couldn’t do that across the street.

Briefly: INF Andy Ibáñez’s 11-game streak came to an end when he left the game after two hits without hitting due to strain in his left hamstring. Rangers will reassess him on Sunday, but manager Chris Woodward said he was “not too optimistic”. … Evan Carter, the 2020 Rangers second-round selection who has been out since June with a back injury, will not return to the active Class A Down East roster this season. The plan now is for him to be ready for the Arizona Fall Training League. … INF Maximo Acosta, Rangers’ No. 8 hope in The Dallas Morning News’ mid-season standings, underwent thoracic exit syndrome surgery Wednesday in Dallas and will be out for the remainder of the year. Acosta, 18, was playing his first professional season in the rookie-level Arizona Complex League.

AJ Alexy is getting ready to pitch for the Great Lakes Loons.  Alexy joined the Rangers minor league system on July 31, 2017, as part of the Rangers trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  (Photo by Great Lakes Divers)
Hickory Crawdad manager Josh Johnson during the pre-game roster exchange with the Greensboro Grasshoppers at First National Bank Field on Sunday August 8, 2021 in Greensboro, NC

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