2/16/2013 4:01 P.M. ET
Brigham excited to be back with Rangers
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Jacob Brigham is back in the Rangers' clubhouse 6 1/2 months after the club traded him to the Cubs for catcher Geovany Soto. Brigham had gone 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts at Double-A Frisco before the July 31 deal.
But he made just two starts for Double-A Tennessee in the Cubs organization before being shut down with a strained right forearm. He did not pitch after Aug. 7, and when the season was over, the Cubs traded him back to the Rangers for right-handed pitcher Barrett Loux and a player to be named later.
"It was crazy," Brigham said. "Initially I was sad when I was traded. I always dreamed of breaking in with the Rangers. But it was an opportunity, and at the end of the day, you just want to be in the big leagues. Getting traded back is a blessing in disguise. I'm excited to be back with coaches who know me and know what I need to work on, and playing with guys I've known my entire career."
Brigham heard about the trade right before Thanksgiving. The Cubs told him they needed to make the trade because of "roster issues." They did not tell him it was because of his health.
"They didn't say that," Brigham said. "That was never said. Whether it was the case or not, I don't know."
Brigham, 25, was a sixth-round pick by the Rangers out of high school in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and comes into camp as a candidate for the bullpen. He said he is fully recovered and "100 percent healthy."
Washington addresses Rangers before workout
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers went through their first full-squad workout on Saturday afternoon. Texas started the day with a team meeting and manager Ron Washington giving his usual "Welcome to Spring Training" address to his players.
Washington kept it short.
"It was just about us being together, caring for each other, playing for one another and staying healthy," Washington said. "I'm the leader; they draw off my energy and how I go about my business. I set the example. I'm always comfortable in front of my team."
A few of the coaches spoke, but none of the players. Usually Washington goes around the room and asks any players if they have anything to say. Instead, Washington looked at about 9-10 veteran players and asked them if "they believe." He received a unanimous response in the affirmative.
Nelson Cruz was one of the players who Washington asked. Cruz did not address his teammates during the meeting about his off-field issues concerning allegations he was a customer of a Miami-area wellness clinic that reportedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs. The matter is under investigation by Major League Baseball.
"It was a little different meeting than in past years," pitcher Matt Harrison said. "The biggest thing is believing in what we are doing and taking care of the little things. If we do that, the big things will take care of themselves."
As far as what happened last year when the Rangers blew the American League West title in the final week and lost in the Wild Card game, Washington said, "We didn't finish the way we wanted to and we didn't meet expectations. But the thing about baseball is it's the start of a new year and everybody has a chance. We certainly have a chance."
Rangers want Berkman focused on health, hitting
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman forgot to bring a glove to camp, but he doesn't need one right now. Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers want Berkman focused on hitting and building strength in his surgically repaired right knee.
"He's been in this game a long time," Washington said. "He'll go at his own pace. If we need to we can get him at-bats in a Minor League game so he can see some pitching."
Berkman has played both first base and outfield in his career, but the Rangers signed him primarily as a designated hitter. He may play some first during Spring Training, but it's doubtful that he'll play in the outfield.
"Could I get out there and catch a ground ball?" Berkman said. "Absolutely. I think I could do that if I was in a wheelchair. As far as playing in games, I doubt they're going to run me out there the first week or so, but I think I could do it."
• Pitcher Josh Lindblom had to return home for a funeral for a family member and missed throwing live batting practice on Saturday. He is expected back in a day or two.
• Manager Ron Washington reminded the Rangers during his pre-workout meeting that he wants his players running the bases aggressively again. Said Washington: "The handcuffs are off and the ankle chains are off. Let's see what you can do."
• Washington said both right-hander Tanner Scheppers and left-hander Michael Kirkman are throwing the ball well early in camp.
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.