Jonathan Hernandez Impresses as Rangers Summer Camp Officially Opens

Chris Halicke

The Texas Rangers received some somber news on Thursday when they found out LHP Brett Martin tested positive for COVID-19. Not only was Martin a near-lock for a spot in the bullpen, but he is also a Type-1 Diabetic. 

"He was the one guy I was worried about most because of the diabetes," Woodward said. "I talked with him. We just want to make sure his taking all the right precautions. He feels good. And we will continue to monitor him."

Four pitchers competing for jobs in the bullpen threw simulated games as workouts officially kicked off on Friday. Jonathan Hernandez, one of the most impressive pitchers in Arizona during Spring Training, seemingly picked up right where he left off.

"Absolutely filthy," Woodward said of Hernandez. "He faced four guys, struck out four guys, and only one guy made contact on a foul ball. Standing behind, his command was probably the most impressive. He's got elite stuff as we know, upper-90's with a ton of movement on his fastball, really good slider, and I thought his changeup was really good today. 

"The command—he was hitting his spots, throwing the ball up and down. It was almost unfair at times. He executed a lot of really good pitches."

Woodward got a much different-yet-refreshing point of view, watching his players work from behind a protective screen behind home plate alongside pitching coach Julio Rangel and bullpen coach Doug Mathis. Many variables will make these workouts anything but typical. However, Woodward doesn't seem too phased by the limitations on players and staff.

"It's hard to say anything is weird right now. I expect weird," Woodward said. "It's all different. I can't point to one particular situation. What I've told our guys is that we've just got to roll with the punches. That's kind of our motto."

The other pitchers who worked on Friday afternoon were Jose Leclerc, Luke Farrell, and Cody Allen. Mike Minor was set to throw four simulated innings, but the club is still waiting for him to be cleared after undergoing intake testing. 

A number of hitters got some work in today, including Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Willie Calhoun, Greg Bird, and Rougned Odor. The hitters are considered to be a bit behind the pitchers due to the lack of live pitching over the shutdown. Even so, in his first at-bat of the day, Odor planted a 3-2 fastball from Jose Leclerc in the right field seats.

"He made a good adjustment. He was 3-0, then Jose threw two fastballs by him. And he made the adjustment," Woodward said of Odor. "It's going to be interesting to watch in this camp because we obviously have data on our guys and it will be interesting to see which of them makes the adjustments earliest."

Only 42 of the 57 players on the 60-man roster participated on Friday. The Rangers are still waiting on all of the results from intake testing. While Brett Martin gave the club permission to announce his positive test, that may not be the case for all players. It is truly a case-by-case basis. Players must give club's the green light to publicly disclose positive COVID-19 tests.

Here are all of the participants that worked out on Friday:

Morning Workout—25 total

Pitchers (18)

  • Kolby Allard
  • Wes Benjamin
  • Jesse Chavez
  • Demarcus Evans
  • Luis Garcia
  • Ian Gibaut
  • Nick Goody
  • Taylor Hearn
  • Jimmy Herget
  • Wei-Chieh Huang
  • Corey Kluber
  • Derek Law
  • Jordan Lyles
  • Lance Lynn
  • Joe Palumbo
  • Tyler Phillips
  • Joely Rodriguez
  • Alex Speas

Catchers (3)

  • Nick Ciuffo
  • Tim Federowicz
  • Sam Huff

Infielders (3)

  • Andy Ibanez
  • Josh Jung
  • Yadiel Rivera

Outfielder (1)

  • Eli White

Afternoon Workout—17 total

Pitchers (4)

  • Cody Allen
  • Luke Farrell
  • Jonathan Hernandez
  • Jose Leclerc

Catchers (4)

  • Robinson Chirinos
  • Jeff Mathis
  • Blake Swihart
  • Jose Trevino

Infielders (4)

  • Elvis Andrus
  • Greg Bird
  • Isiah Kiner-Falefa
  • Rougned Odor

Outfielders (5)

  • Willie Calhoun
  • Shin-Soo Choo
  • Rob Refsnyder
  • Danny Santana
  • Nick Solak

The Rangers are planning for another simulated game on Saturday, with the first real intrasquad game tentatively set for Sunday afternoon. 

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