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Jeffress gets positive assessment from coach

South Boston News
Jeffress / July 20, 2017

Texas Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail delivered a positive assessment of reliever Jeremy Jeffress Monday night, especially noting his ability to throw a sinkerball to get out of trouble.

“Jeremy’s good. I feel right now he’s our savior for the guy that can come in, throw a sinkerball and get the ground ball double play. He’s been hot the last three days in trouble situations. (Because) it’s been a situation, where if . we need him, he’s the guy that can come in and get us the ground ball we need to get two outs with one pitch,” said Brocail.

Brocail said the Rangers are viewing Jeffress as a closer for one inning, when the trouble starts.

“That’s kind of where we were at, the last few outings with Jeremy,” he said.

Texas saw that skill in Monday’s game when Jeffress got a double play to squelch more potential trouble from the Orioles in the opening game of a four-game set. Jeffress allowed one inherited runner to score in a 3-1 loss, but he still showed some damage control skills.

Brocail said Jeffress has done a good job.

“He’s starting to realize when and when not to throw his off-speed, he’s starting to realize his delivery, the crispness of his delivery and getting down in his lane and maintaining a good slot, so he can get that sink,” he said.

Texas is still in contention for one of two American League playoff wild card spots. Brocail, discussing Jeffress’ role, said, “Jeremy’s closed (in the Show). …Right now, we’re in a situation where it’s closer by committee. I’m sure he’s going to set up, he’s going to close some games, he’s going to come on in long relief, if we need it.”

Brocail admitted the Texas bullpen has seen some struggles this year and seen numerous roles change. The hope is for more consistency, and see the players do their job in whatever role they are handed the rest of the way.

Jeffress saw some action in the late innings, but Texas could not rally against the Orioles bullpen. Baltimore started the series with two wins in a row on Monday and Tuesday. The four-game set concludes tonight in Camden Yards.

Jeffress went home to see his family during the all-star break.

Jeffress was not used in recent action, as the Rangers’ starters had generally been going deep in a short stretch of the campaign before the Texas club got to Baltimore.

Things changed a bit when the Rangers lost two in a row Jeffress noted, “That’s always good to see …our starters getting deep in the games, especially when we’re ahead and winning.”

Jeffress recently had to go on to the ten-day disabled list. Between that - and a recent stretch when the Rangers had more reliable efforts from their starters - Jeffress had not seen much duty until Monday.

Jeffress had a stint on the DL after a problem with his ankle in a recent season. He also suffered a neck strain, but the most recent incident came while he was warming up.

“I threw a breaking ball warming up in the pen. It actually didn’t feel too good,” said Jeffress. He recalled he felt very stiff the next morning and could hardly get out of bed.

Jeffress got a different perspective while he was on the Dl.

Jeffress stayed focused, keeping his mind on the game.

“I think the biggest thing in that situation is just make sure you work hard on your rehab. Just keep your mind focused …it’s not the end. Some people can get down and feel like it’s over. But just stay confident and trust in your trainers and your staff, that they’ll get you back right,” said Jeffress.

Texas is still in contention for a wild card in the American League West, even as the Houston Astros enjoy a significant lead in the division. Jeffress is a professional, and he’s trying to stay positive.

“As long as we keep playing the way we are, whenever my name is called, the best thing I can do out there and get outs,” said Jeffress.

Jeffress is aware of crucial situations when he’s out there on the mound, although this is not always the case this season.

“I’ve thrived on those situations. I’ve always loved being in those situations,” said Jeffress, who likes to use a power sinker to get ground balls.

Jeffress hopes to stick with the Rangers next season, but he readily admits there are uncertainties. “The only thing you can do is keep pitching like you know how,” said Jeffress.

Everyone in the clubhouse wants to win, and the veteran is trying to continue to craft a team-first attitude.

COMET VISIT: Jeffress recently got a chance in Washington, DC to catch up with the Halifax County High School varsity baseball team, which eventually finished second to Briar Woods in the state 5A varsity baseball final. The Rangers had a weekend series at Washington that same weekend, so it all worked out.

Jeffress said it was phenomenal to see coach Kenneth Day and the current Comets. He said it’s unfortunate the Comets could not close it out, but he understands the special nature of Halifax going deep in the playoffs. The 2017 team is only the third edition in school history to record a runner-up finish. HCHS won it all in 1984.

“Coach Day, he’s a phenomenal coach, he loves every player, he takes care of every player. He makes sure every player is getting what they need….and making sure they play their game when they go out on the field,” said Jeffress.

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