02/22/11 7:13 PM EST
Rangers invite Brazoban for pitching depth
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Rangers seek long reliever
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers may have a consolation prize for one pitcher who doesn't win a spot in the rotation: long reliever/spot starter.It's the role that Dustin Nippert left behind when the Rangers decided not to offer him a contract. The role remains vacant, but needs to be filled. "I would imagine we need some length," manager Ron Washington said. "I can't have a bullpen of sprinters. We need some guys who can go the distance." As with all other spots, there are candidates. David Bush is one. He is a career starter, going 54-67 with a 4.65 ERA in 184 starts. He made nine relief appearances, but this could be his role. Others include left-handers Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Tommy Hunter and Michael Kirkman. If Brandon Webb is healthy, then no more than two of those four will make the rotation. One could end up in long relief. The Rangers would have to decide if they want one of their young pitchers working in long relief or pitching every fifth day in Triple-A Oklahoma City. "That will be taken into consideration on an individual basis," Washington said. "If that's where they need to be, it's what's best for the big league club." The perfect guy might be Scott Feldman, who has started and relieved in his career. But he is still recovering from knee surgery and likely won't be available as an option until at least May 1.
Rangers sign seven more players
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have signed seven more players to one-year contracts. Most notable were pitchers Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter, and first basemen Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis. They also signed catcher Taylor Teagarden and pitchers Fabio Castillo and Wilmer Font.That leaves seven players on the 40-man roster who have not agreed to contracts, including shortstop Elvis Andrus. The others are pitchers Eric Hurley, Pedro Strop, Alexi Ogando and Omar Beltre, outfielder Craig Gentry and infielder Andres Blanco. The Rangers would like to reach agreements with all seven players before the first Cactus League game on Sunday against the Royals. Any player not eligible for arbitration can have his contract automatically renewed at a salary determined by the club if the two sides cannot reach an agreement. "We feel we have plenty of time," assistant general manager Thad Levine said.
Rangers' Hurley suffers strained hamstring
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Eric Hurley has a mild strain of his right hamstring that could delay his throwing program here at Spring Training.Hurley had been throwing extremely well this spring until the hamstring started bothering him. "It's preventing him from throwing in the bullpen, but we don't expect it to be a meaningful setback," said Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine. Still, Hurley just hasn't had a lot of physical luck in the past two years. He has missed 2 1/2 seasons with a torn right rotator cuff and a broken left wrist. Hurley needed three different operations last year just to get the wrist fixed properly.
Pitcher Brandon Webb had another good long-toss session on Monday. The Rangers' plan is for him to have a light session on Wednesday, heavy sessions on Thursday and Friday, and a light session on Saturday. At that point, the Rangers will re-evaluate his situation and have him throw off the mound again. ... Third baseman Adrian Beltre's running continues to be limited by a mildly strained right calf muscle. ... The Rangers first intra-squad game is on Thursday. They will have another one on Friday, take a break on Saturday and then open their Cactus League schedule on Sunday against the Royals.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.