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Baseball’s lone Ranger needs to hit reset button after COVID crushed his 2020 season

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As baseball's offseason takes shape, we will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2020 roster and where they fit in the future. We'll go through the roster by uniform number, lowest to highest for position players, highest to lowest for pitchers, and alternate daily.

Today: Pitcher Ranger Suarez

Career rundown

The 25-year-old lefty has spent parts of the last three seasons in the majors, working mostly in relief. He was a starter in the minors.

He is the only player named Ranger in major league history. He has two brothers, Rayner and Rosmer, and a sister, Rangerlin.

"We have a family tradition that every name starts with the letter R," he said.

How he became a Phillie

The Phillies signed him out of Venezuela for $25,000 in 2012.

2020 season

Suarez was quite the find out of the bullpen in 2019. He went 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 37 games. He gave up just 12 hits and one run while striking out 10 and walking just two in 15 innings over his last 15 appearances. That finish excited team officials heading into 2020.

Suarez pitched himself into the running for the fifth starter's job in spring training and he might have won the job if the game didn't shut down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health crisis continued to negatively impact Suarez when he tested positive while working out at the Phillies' facility in Clearwater during the shutdown. Except for a little dizziness that lasted just a few days, Suarez never felt sick. But he could not put together two negative COVID tests and therefore remained quarantined, in his hotel room, for a month. He did not throw during that time.

 

Suarez finally got back on the mound in August and made it back to the majors in early September. The Phillies were hoping that he would help a beleaguered bullpen, but he struggled mightily and allowed 14 baserunners and nine runs in just four innings of work.

What lies ahead

What started off with promise in February turned out to be a lost year for Suarez. He gets to hit the reset button in spring training and should be better with a normal ramp-up to the 2021 season.

Suarez still hopes to be a starter and it would make sense to again look at him in that role in spring training, even if he ends up in the bullpen. If nothing else, it would allow him to make up some of the reps he lost in his COVID-plagued 2020 season.