Guthrie getting chance on other side of Surprise with Texas
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Jeremy Guthrie still pulls into the Surprise Recreation Campus each morning for spring training. Except he is now with the Texas Rangers instead of the World Series champion Royals.
“It’s definitely strange, obviously, to come into the complex and turn the different direction, and different side of Surprise Stadium,” said Guthrie, who the previous three springs went left into the Royals parking lot instead of to the right.
While the setting is somewhat familiar, the future is uncertain for the 36-year-old right-hander who in 2014 started Game 7 of the World Series for Kansas City but was left off its postseason roster last year.
Guthrie signed a minor league deal just last weekend with the Rangers that included an invitation to spring training with the team that last season used 12 different starters. He had other similar offers, including one to return to the Royals.
“It was extremely difficult. I toiled with the decision for a few days, the offers kind of came in late from everyone,” Guthrie said. “I spent all offseason wondering what might happen. ... I really went with what felt right for the moment.”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said it was made clear to Guthrie that he would have a shot at competing for a starting spot. There is also the possibility to pitch in long relief if he doesn’t make the rotation.
For Guthrie, the situation is similar in a way to 2007, when he went to spring training with Baltimore after being released by Cleveland with only 16 major league appearances the previous three seasons.
“I got claimed off waivers by Baltimore with no real career in the works for the Indians. I had three or four call-ups, all in relief,” he said. “With no options, I had to make that team. I was the 25th guy on that roster to make it in ’07 and became a relief pitcher. A couple of injuries later, I’m starting games and did for the past nine years.”
Guthrie admitted to being more relaxed then, but described himself as still confident and relishing the opportunity he has now.
“The game’s been very good to good, and I feel like I was given a great opportunity at the start of my career,” he said. “But I’ve had to earn the things that have been a part of my career, so I’m happy to continue to take that approach.”
He is 91-108 with a 4.37 ERA in 305 career games (272 starts) for Cleveland, Baltimore, Colorado and Kansas City. And he made quite an impression on former teammates along the way.
Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez said Friday that Guthrie was a leader for all the pitchers last season, and brought a lot of energy to the entire team.
His impact clearly extended beyond the pitchers during his 3 1/2 seasons with Kansas City.
“I wasn’t even a pitcher, but he still showed me the ropes, and just did a lot of things that a lot of veterans don’t do,” said Eric Hosmer, the 26-year-old first baseman for Kansas City. “He’s helped many, many younger guys through their development.”