02/21/12 6:30 PM EST
Lewis not worried about contract
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Rangers plan to hold onto Uehara
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitchers go through their first official workout on Thursday. Reliever Koji Uehara is expected to be there and beyond.The Rangers have had trade discussions with other teams about Uehara, but a deal does not appear likely. General manager Jon Daniels said he doesn't have any trades in the works as Texas prepares for Spring Training. "There are always some deals in the spring, moves here or there," Daniels said Tuesday. "But we're ready to go with this group of guys. I have no moves planned or anything like that." Uehara was acquired from the Orioles at last year's Trade Deadline for first baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter. The Rangers were looking for multiple prospects in return and had talked to the Athletics, Orioles and other teams. But right now Uehara returns as one of the Rangers' right-handed setup relievers. He pitched in a combined 65 games last year and was 2-3 with a 2.35 ERA. In 65 innings, he struck out 85 and walked nine. He had a $4 million vesting option kick in for this season by pitching in at least 55 games. "The guy had a tremendous year last year," Daniels said. "One of the attractive things about trading for Koji last year was he was not just a rental. He was a two-year fit. That was an attractive element to the deal and still is." Daniels also said "nothing has changed" in regard to free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. The Rangers are not planning on signing him.
Rangers acquire De La Cruz from Indians
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers acquired left-handed reliever Kelvin De La Cruz from the Indians and placed him on their 40-man roster on Tuesday. He was designated for assignment by the Indians last week.De La Cruz, 23, has never pitched above Double-A. He was 5-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 16 starts and seven relief appearances for Double-A Akron last season. Left-handed hitters batted .143 off him, and De La Cruz could emerge as a candidate for the Rangers bullpen this spring. "He's another quality arm we can look at to see where he fits," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's done very well against left-handers," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We see him in the bullpen and have some scouts who feel he is more suited to that role." The Rangers now have 59 players in camp, including 32 pitchers. The primary candidates for left-handed relief are Joe Beimel, Mitch Stetter, Michael Kirkman, Ben Snyder, Martin Perez and Miguel de los Santos.
Moreland, Napoli take their cuts
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland and catcher Mike Napoli took full batting practice on the back field off manager Ron Washington, and neither had any problems. Moreland had surgery on his right wrist on Dec. 1, and so far he is having no problems swinging the bat."I'm just testing it here the first few days and seeing how it goes," Moreland said. "But I have been hitting, and it's all good. I haven't had any restrictions. The trainers say if I feel good after the first few days, I'll be full go. Right now, I'm feeling really good and ready to go." Napoli is recovering from a sprained left ankle that he sustained during the World Series. He hasn't done any catching yet, but he was able to swing the bat with authority on Tuesday. "When I threw to him, I didn't have his ankle on my mind," Washington said. "He was getting through the ball fully and when I put it in a bad spot, he was driving it with authority. The main thing was he was staying behind the ball and driving it to the opposite field. It didn't look like he had any residual effects."
Font is back
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wilmer Font threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session on Tuesday. The 21-year-old right-hander from Venezuela was once a top prospect for the Rangers but missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.The Rangers still have a high regard for him, and he is still on their 40-man roster. He was 5-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 16 Class A starts in 2010 but has yet to pitch for Double-A Frisco. He is pitching without pain as the Rangers get ready to open camp but will likely be on a limited throwing program even though he was throwing well on Tuesday. "He was bringing it pretty good and was down in the zone," catcher Luis Martinez said. "He was throwing the ball well when he got hurt," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I'm just happy to be pitching," Font said. "It was difficult, but I learned a lot of things while I was out. I learned how to pitch and I learned how to build up my body. My goal is still to pitch in the big leagues."
The Rangers have 20 top Minor League prospects participating in an early minicamp. Among those attending are two outfielders signed last year out of the Dominican Republic: Nomar Mazara and Ronaldo Guzman. The Rangers are still going to stretch out some of their young pitchers in camp to prepare them for a starting role in the Minors. That includes left-handers Martin Perez and Robbie Ross, and right-hander Neil Ramirez. But Perez in particular could win a spot in the bullpen as a left-handed reliever. The Rangers have told right-hander Tanner Scheppers that he will work exclusively in relief this spring. He has been a starter in the past, but the Rangers want him to focus on relieving and Daniels said he is a candidate to make the bullpen.
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.