Former left-hander Darren Oliver has been seen around several Rangers events recently, from the off-season pitching camp to spring training. Now he has an official title with the club – special assistant to the general manager.Oliver is expected to work closely with Jon Daniels and the front-office staff in a variety of roles with an emphasis on pitching. The 43-year-old has already spent a couple days this week working with the minor leaguers at Double A Frisco.The Rangers and Oliver feel that his 20-year career, which ended last season, gives him instant credibility.“A lot of players nowadays want to be associated with someone who played in the big leagues and they might be more honest with me than someone else,” said Oliver, a Southlake resident. “That’s valuable. I probably would be the same way if I was a young kid.”The Rangers also like the wide-ranging career Oliver has had. He began his career as a starter, dealt with injuries and then reinvented himself as a dominant left-handed reliever later in his career.Oliver finished with a career 4.51 ERA over 766 games, including 229 starts. He played 10 of his 20 seasons with the Rangers, including being on their World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, along with stops with the Angels, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mets, Rockies, Red Sox, Astros and Marlins.“Darren is a very well-respected member of the Rangers family already … and I think he’s going to be a real asset to us in a variety of roles,” Daniels said. “He’s had a lot of unique turns in his career and each one of those allows him to connect to each guy a little different.”Briefly• The Rangers announced they will honor Michael Young prior to their game against the Blue Jays on May 17. Details will be announced at a later date but it will include remarks from several individuals, including former big league outfielder and Westlake resident Vernon Wells.• Triple A Round Rock left-hander Michael Kirkman was placed on the disabled list with a minor calf issue. He’s expected to work closely with pitching coach Brad Holman as he recovers and is likely going to return to the Express as a reliever. He had been in the rotation.• The Rangers will host their second annual Texas Food Truckin’ Fest at the Ballpark on Friday and Saturday with trucks serving anything from Australian meat pies to cupcakes. Admission is $10 for adults Friday and $12 on Saturday. Children 12 and under are $5, and $5 for children 12 and under, and children under 32 inches are free.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison