2/17/2014 7:20 P.M. ET
Rangers sign Scheppers, eight others
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have signed pitcher Tanner Scheppers and eight other pre-arbitration-eligible players, and now have 29 of 41 players on the Major League roster under contract for 2014.
Scheppers agreed to $515,000 after making $493,600 last season, when he went 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 76 games and was one of the best setup men in the American League. He will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season.
Also signed were pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla, Cory Burns, Wilmer Font and Roman Mendez; infielder Luis Sardinas; and outfielders James Adduci, Engel Beltre and Michael Choice. All signed right at or just above the $500,000 league minimum.
Rangers handling Profar with care
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Infielder Jurickson Profar said that his right shoulder is fine, but the Rangers are still going to take it slow with him.
Profar, who has tendinitis in the shoulder and was given an anti-inflammatory injection before coming to camp, has been cleared to begin a throwing program, but it will be two weeks before he'll be at full strength. The Rangers expect him to get his early Cactus League at-bats as a designated hitter.
Manager Ron Washington said that defensively, Profar's priority will be his footwork around second base and that he doesn't need to throw to do that.
"He can continue to take ground balls and do his footwork," Washington said on Monday before the Rangers' first workout. "If we're able to get the footwork down, when the arm comes back, there will be no issues."
Profar is trying to nail down the job as the starting second baseman, but Washington said that Profar will also play some shortstop when Elvis Andrus needs a day off. The Rangers' priority is identifying a backup utility infielder who can play both second and third base.
Adam Rosales, who is on the Major League roster, is one candidate. The Rangers have also brought Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Wilson, Brent Lillibridge and Kensuke Tanaka to camp on Minor League contracts.
Rosales -- claimed on waivers from the Athletics last season -- and Lillibridge can play all four infield positions as well as the outfield if needed. Lillibridge has been with six teams since 2008 and is a career .205 hitter. Wilson has been with seven Major League teams since 2005 and has mainly played third, short and second, with only three appearances each in left field and at first base. Wilson, a .225 hitter, has also pitched in three games.
Kouzmanoff, 32, has been a third baseman his entire career but hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011. He was a starting third baseman for the Padres from 2007 to 2009 and for the Athletics in 2010. During that four-year stretch, he hit .259 with 75 home runs and 317 RBIs.
Second baseman Tanaka, 32, won four Gold Gloves during his 13-year career in Japan. He had a .286 batting average and 161 stolen bases before signing with the Giants last season but spent most of the year at Triple-A Fresno, where he hit .329.
Top prospects Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor are also in camp, but Washington said they are not being considered for the utility role. The Rangers used Leury Garcia -- now with the White Sox -- in that role last season, but Washington said the plan is for Sardinas and Odor to play every day in the Minors.
Contreras has no intention of retiring
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jose Contreras is 42 years old and had back problems last season, but he has no interest in calling it a career. He was a big part of the World Series champion White Sox in 2005 and is back with the Rangers hoping to win another title.
"If I play another seven years, maybe I can get two or three more," Contreras said.
The Rangers signed Contreras to a Minor League contract after special assistant Don Welke saw him pitch in the Dominican Winter League. He has made 175 Major League starts but was used as a reliever by the Phillies and Pirates over the past four seasons, and that's probably how the Rangers will use him if he makes the team.
"Baseball is my life," he said. "That's all I've known. That's why I'm here. Everybody knows the results the Texas Rangers have had the last four or five years. Before I go out, I'd like the opportunity to win another championship."
Contreras was a huge star in Cuba before defecting in 2002, and the Yankees won a bidding war against the Red Sox to sign him. On July 31, 2004, he was traded to the White Sox for Esteban Loaiza, and he ended up winning a career-high 15 games in 2005.
Washington wants right-handed bench help
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' four-man bench will include a backup catcher, a utility infielder and an extra outfielder. Michael Choice will likely be the fourth outfielder.
Manager Ron Washington would prefer the final backup to hit right-handed, but the Rangers have more left-handed hitters in camp who could fit that role than righties. The two right-handed hitters are Robinson Chirinos, a catcher who can also play the infield corners, and outfielder Alex Castellanos. The left-handed hitters are outfielders Jim Adduci, Engel Beltre, Bryan Peterson, Brad Snyder and Kensuke Tanaka.
Castellanos played in 24 games in the Major Leagues the past two seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .171. He was traded to the Red Sox at the end of the 2013 season, and claimed on waivers by the Rangers in December.
Castellanos put up some good numbers in the Minors. He played 199 games at Triple-A Albuquerque over the past two seasons, hitting .291 with 36 home runs, 113 RBIs, 35 stolen bases, a .382 on-base percentage and a .525 slugging percentage. He was drafted by the Cardinals before being traded to the Dodgers in 2011 for shortstop Rafael Furcal.
• Third baseman Adrian Beltre arrived in camp on Monday.
• Right-hander Shawn Tolleson has been bothered by a sprained left ankle but was among the pitchers who threw batting practice on Monday.
• Colby Lewis threw batting practice on Monday, and Washington was impressed that he looked free and easy on the mound. Lewis is having no physical issues after undergoing hip replacement surgery last August.
• Yu Darvish is expected to throw batting practice on Tuesday and then possibly speak to the media at length for the first time since the end of last season.
• Pitcher Ben Rowen remains limited due to biceps tendinitis.
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.