ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan wasn't all that surprised by Justin Grimm's successful major league debut on Saturday. Why? Because Grimm has been on Ryan's radar since spring training.
"I saw him in what we call that prospect game and I had him listed as one of the two top kids I saw pitch that night," Ryan said. "I saw the way he threw the ball and the way our hitters reacted to it and his velocity was good that night and he had a good breaking ball. He got my attention."
Ryan watched, with former president George W. Bush beside him, as Grimm threw a quality start Saturday. He allowed three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The fact that Grimm's command was solid enough to avoid walks pleased Ryan the most. He also liked Grimm's demeanor on the mound.
“I was really pleased with his poise and the way he went about it and how he controlled his emotions because he threw strikes, commanded his breaking ball and didn’t let it affect him the first inning when he got the home run off him,” Ryan said. “I couldn’t have been any happier with his performance.”
Ryan said the club will have to decide soon about how to handle the rotation going forward and whether Grimm fits into that picture. Manager Ron Washington said Grimm is certainly under consideration to stay because of how he performed.
"I don't know what will happen, but will we see him in the future? Yeah, we'll see him in the future," Ryan said.
Ryan liked what Grimm calls a slurve, his big movement breaking ball that had the Astros' hitters swinging and missing a lot.
"That's a good pitch for him," Ryan said. "The Astros didn't seem to be picking it up very well. He was good tonight."
Ryan said at one point the former president asked him about his big league debut. Ryan told him how nervous he was and figured Grimm had to be nervous too.
"He didn't show it," Ryan said.