Rangers team president and CEO Nolan Ryan tried to convince anyone who would listen that the Rangers' offseason of few moves wasn't as bad as many thought.
Ryan said again Monday on his first weekly appearance of the season on "Galloway and Company" on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that everything has turned out well and there was no reason to panic. The Rangers started Monday with the best record in baseball at 24-13.
"We filled some needs, and we filled it with a veteran presence," Ryan said of the Rangers' offseason.
The Rangers' major offseason moves were free-agent signings Lance Berkman as a designated hitter, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and reliever Joakim Soria. Berkman is batting .303 with three home runs and 18 RBIs. Pierzynski, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle, is batting .263 with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
More importantly, Pierzynski has guided a pitching staff that includes two rookies in the starting rotation and a remodeled bullpen to the second-best ERA in the major leagues at 3.39, trailing only St. Louis (3.03 ERA).
"He's had a big impact on that pitching staff," Ryan said. "And his presence is a big reason why we're in first place."
Ryan also talked about the dominant start of Yu Darvish, who is 6-1 and leads the major leagues with 80 strikeouts in 52⅔ innings, which are Ryan-like numbers.
Darvish threw 127 pitches in a recent start against the Boston Red Sox, bringing to light a question of whether he should pitch more to contact. Ryan is in the camp that Darvish should keep doing what he's doing so well.
"The way he's throwing, you can't question that," Ryan said. "You would like to see him be more efficient with his pitches, but that's being real critical."
The 25-minute segment on "Galloway and Company" with Ryan didn't go without a conversation about Hamilton, who left the Rangers after a dismal end of the 2012 season that included a slump at the plate and a dropped fly ball in center field in the final game of the regular season as Oakland took the AL West title away from Texas.
Hamilton, who got big money from the Angels, is batting .203 with four home runs -- all against Houston -- and 13 RBIs. He has 44 strikeouts in 148 at-bats. The Angels are off to a brutal 14-23 start and are 10 games behind the Rangers in the division.
"That whole club is in a funk right now," Ryan said. "It isn't playing well. They're not having having good at-bats. They're not pitching well."
Ryan said he does believe Hamilton will turn things around, but it is up to him.
"He'll get hot," Ryan said. "Until he gets deeper into the count, he's going to have problems. Josh is going to have to make some adjustments."