The Rangers have tasked new hitting coach Luis Ortiz to coax more power out of Mazara, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Ortiz worked with new Rangers manager Chris Woodward last year when both were on staff with the Dodgers. Ortiz, an assistant hitting coach in 2018, is familiar with Mazara as a minor-league hitting instructor for the Rangers back in 2012. Mazara, who turns 24 in April, has hinted at becoming a more dangerous hitter, but remains stuck at the 20-homer level. His .436 slugging percentage in 2018 was a career best, but still just 65th among outfielders with at least 475 at-bats. He appeared to be on his way to reaching a higher level last year when he had 15 home runs, 58 RBI and a .450 slugging percentage at the break, but a thumb injury lingered over the second half, putting a pause on a breakout. The thumb has healed, and Mazara took vigorous swings at Texas' mini-camp this week. That alone should help, but the Rangers are hoping Ortiz can bring more out of Mazara.
Mazara and the Rangers agreed to a one-year, $3.3 million contract Friday to avoid arbitration, Levi Weaver of The Athletic reports. Mazara receives a modest raise in his first crack at arbitration. The 23-year-old has yet to fully deliver on his offensive potential with even an above-average batting line, but he did post a career-best .258/.317/.436 slash line (good for a 96 wRC+) and hit exactly 20 homers for the third straight season, a respectable performance for a player his age.
Mazara will not require surgery on his right thumb, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Mazara dealt with a thumb injury for much of the second half of the season, which is reflected in his .221/.277/.397 line over that 37-games stretch. The outfielder was examined by a specialist Tuesday, who confirmed his thumb is fully stable and won't require any additional treatment at this time. Mazara will allow the swelling in his thumb to subside over the next few weeks before getting into an offseason program. He's expected to be ready to go for the start of spring training.
Mazara is out of the lineup Sunday against the Mariners, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Coming out of the All-Star break, Mazara was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a sprained right thumb. Though he returned to action in mid-August and has retained an everyday role for the Rangers, Mazara hasn't looked fully healthy, which has been reflected in his putrid .221/.277/.397 second-half batting line. He'll get a day off in the season finale and will likely have his thumb re-examined in the coming weeks, at which point it will be decided if surgery is necessary. Any procedure probably wouldn't impact Mazara's availability for the start of spring training.
Mazara went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored in Sunday's win over Seattle. Mazara was one of six consecutive batters to reach base in the four-run sixth inning, during which he laced a two-run double that snapped a stretch of 35 at-bats without an RBI. His .337 OPS during the RBI drought suggests Mazara is fading down the stretch for a third straight September, but overall he has a .797 OPS during the month this season.