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05/06/09 9:12 PM ET
Benson returns, will work out of bullpen
Righty has made 197 starts with no career relief outings
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Kris Benson was activated off the disabled list on Wednesday and immediately went into the Rangers bullpen. Benson, who has been sidelined with elbow inflammation, will be used as a reliever for the first time in his Major League career. He has made 197 starts, including two for the Rangers, but has never been used in relief. Among active pitchers, only Tom Glavine (682), CC Sabathia (260) and Jake Peavy (205) have made more starts in the Major Leagues without having made one relief appearance. Ben Sheets, who is still unsigned, is also on the list with 221 starts. Scott Feldman took Benson's spot in the rotation and the Rangers are going to stay with him for now. Benson was 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts before going on the disabled list. "I understand Feldman has thrown well the last two times out and they want to continue the flow of the rotation," Benson said. "I'm ready to do whatever they need. If they need me to throw multiple innings or get a couple of guys out, it doesn't matter. I'll definitely have to make some adjustments but I've been around long enough." Manager Ron Washington said Benson will be used in long relief for now. Benson, Jason Jennings and Derek Holland are all former starters who can give the Rangers multiple innings if needed on a given night. Washington met with Benson before Wednesday's game with Oakland and asked the nine-year veteran if he felt he could make the adjustment to the bullpen. "He said that's something he has to find out and we have to find out," Washington said. "He'll figure it out. His comment was he'll go down there and talk to Eddie Guardado." Benson said the last time he was used in relief was as a freshman in college at Clemson. "I just do what I'm asked to do," Benson said. "I've been in the league long enough to know the manager's decision is what goes. I'm not going to buck the system or wave any red flags if I don't get my way. I want to be a starter, but I'll do whatever it takes to help this team. I'd rather be in the bullpen here than the rotation at Triple-A."
Luis Mendoza was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Benson.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.