Pitching Prospect Has Big Chance Tonight

Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News

With starting pitchers ramping up to the beginning of the season in a couple of weeks, they're starting to be stretched out more in their Cactus League starts, and tonight is a big night for the Rangers' top pitching prospect Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez.

The Rangers face the Reds Monday night in their first of several primetime Cactus League games this week, and Gonzalez is scheduled to take the mound for the Rangers with a limit of five innings against the Reds.

Gonzalez is aiming to make the Rangers' Opening Day roster as the team's No. 5 starter, along with a few other candidates, and while he's had a good spring, he'll need to finish on a very high note to give himself a shot given the fact the guys he is competing against all have big-league experience while he's never pitched about Double-A.

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So far this spring, he's given up four earned runs in 8 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts and four walks. He'd be well served, probably, to head to the minors to start the season and see how things shake out. It wouldn't only be good for his development but also for his contract status and his MLB service time clock starting.

But if Gonzalez goes out and sets the world on fire, and then does it again in his next outing, it could get very interesting for the 23-year-old.

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