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Rangers Notebook | Kroger Caravan; Nelson’s New Home

Sports

Former Ranger Nelson Cruz | Image by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Texas baseball players will likely be appearing at a supermarket near you in January, and former Ranger Nelson Cruz found a new home on Wednesday, looking to reach some career milestones as he enters the twilight of his MLB career.

MEET THE RANGERS

The 2023 Texas Rangers Winter Caravan will traverse through nine DFW-Arlington towns for 18 different autograph appearances by current and former players and broadcasters.

The first of the 18 stops for the caravan was Thursday in Sherman at the Kroger on North Loy Lake Road. Rangers’ catcher Jonah Heim, former relief pitcher John King, and long-time voice of the team Matt Hicks were at the supermarket, the team reported.

“At each of the ten Kroger appearances, fans will receive a free Coca-Cola Texas Rangers Winter Caravan Scarf,” the team reported. “The scarf giveaway will be limited to one person per stop as supplies last.”

The remaining Kroger locations (see CARAVAN SCHEDULE below) include McKinney, Forney, and Mesquite, and the autograph sessions will feature nearly 20 different Rangers, including newly signed free agent pitcher Jacob deGrom and last year’s manager, who comes back to the team as the third base coach this season, Tony Beasley.

All the autograph sessions are free and open to the public at Kroger locations. The schedule of which Rangers will be at each location is subject to change. Autographs may be limited depending on demand.

NELSON’S NEW HOME

Nelson Cruz hit 10 home runs and scratched out over 100 hits last year at age 42.

Cruz — known to some as “Broomstick” (@ncboomstick23) — signed a one-year deal on Wednesday to try his hand as the designated hitter for the San Diego Padres for 2023, according to MLB.com. He is a seven-time all-star and Rangers’ legend.

The deal is worth $1 million and gives the Friars a right-handed DH complement to Matt Carpenter, 37, who bats from the left side and signed a one-year deal last month.

Cruz got his start in the MLB with the Brewers in 2005 but made his name in the game as a Ranger for eight seasons between 2006 and 2013.

He hit 157 of his 459 career home runs as a Ranger. He still has an outside shot at 500, which would put him on a list with only 28 other major leaguers — most of whom are in the MLB Hall of Fame — who have reached the milestone.

Cruz hit 14 postseason home runs for Texas, including six in six games during the 2011 American League Championship Series against Detroit. He earned the ALCS MVP for his effort and helped Texas to the World Series for the second consecutive year, this time falling to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cruz homered in the Rangers’ first four games, helping spark a four-game winning streak to start the 2011 season. That season, he hit 29 home runs and drove 87 runs. Three years later, Cruz led the AL after he homered 40 times as a member of the Orioles in Baltimore.

If Cruz does make the San Diego roster, then the next time he is penciled in to play, he will tie Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson as the oldest position player in Padres’ history, MLB.com reported.

The Padres and Rangers will meet for a three-game set in the middle of July, but those contests are all in the Gaslight District in San Diego.

2023 TEXAS RANGERS WINTER CARAVAN SCHEDULE

Wednesday, January 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Kroger, 4750 W. Bailey Boswell Road, Fort Worth, TX 76179

Scheduled to Appear: Tony Beasley, Jon Gray, Josh Sborz

Friday, January 20, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Kroger, 500 Marketplace Blvd., Forney, TX 75126

Scheduled to Appear: Donnie Ecker, John King, Mark Mathias, Josh Sborz

Friday, January 20, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Kroger, 3600 Gus Thomasson Road, Mesquite, TX 75150

Scheduled to Appear: Donnie Ecker, John King, Mark Mathias, Josh Sborz

Tuesday, January 24, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Kroger, 2925 Custer Road, Plano, TX 75075

Scheduled to Appear: Joe Barlow, Brock Burke, Dane Dunning

Wednesday, January 25, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Kroger, 1631 SW Wilshire Blvd., Burleson, TX 76028

Scheduled to Appear: Brock Burke, Nathaniel Lowe

Thursday, January 26, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Kroger, 5101 W. Sublett Road, Arlington, TX 76001

Scheduled to Appear: Brock Burke, Dane Dunning, Jonathan Hernandez, Josh Smith

Sunday, January 29, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Kroger, 9150 N. Tarrant Parkway, North Richland Hills, TX

Scheduled to Appear: Mitch Garver, Jake Odorizzi

Sunday, January 29, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Kroger, 4620 State Highway 121, The Colony, TX 75056

Scheduled to Appear: Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney

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