November 29, 2011

Rangers get both Maddux brothers

The Rangers' pitching staff was flourishing under one Maddux. Now, there will be another Maddux helping guide Rangers pitchers.

The Rangers' pitching staff was flourishing under one Maddux. Now, there will be another Maddux helping guide Rangers pitchers.

Greg Maddux was hired Tuesday as a special assistant to the general manager, joining his big brother, pitching coach Mike Maddux, in the Rangers' organization.

The Maddux brothers will be working together at spring training, and Greg will work with pitchers throughout the organization during the season while Mike is overseeing the pitchers on the big-league club.

The No. 1 reason for Greg to join the Rangers in what essentially is a part-time position was to work with his brother.

"He asked me if I could come over and help out," said Greg Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner. "It's baseball. I love being around the clubhouse, the players, the coaches, the atmosphere. I just look forward to coming over there and trying to help in any way I can."

Greg Maddux said that he and his brother first start talking about working together two years ago before Cubs general manager Jim Hendry wooed Greg to the Cubs, his first major-league team.

But during the past two years, the brothers have spoken often about the Rangers, and Greg, 45, has picked up plenty about the pitching staff.

"The arms are tremendous," said Greg Maddux, an 18-time Gold Glove winner who will help Rangers pitchers with their fielding. "They've got guys in the rotation and the bullpen that throw extremely hard. They pitch up as well as any team in baseball. They have great stuff.

"I just want to help my brother and help the pitchers understand that if the pitch selection is good and if they control their emotions in the right way, they'll have loads of success."

Mike Maddux said that his brother will fit in nicely with the personnel who influence the pitching staff, including 300-game winner Nolan Ryan.

"Who wouldn't listen to him?" Mike Maddux said of his brother. "His credentials are unparalleled. It's a good addition to our organization. You factor him and Nolan in, that's 50 years between the two of them."

Permission granted

A baseball source confirmed that the Houston Astros were given permission by the Rangers to interview assistant GM Thad Levine for the GM vacancy that was created late Sunday when Ed Wade was fired.

Neither general manager Jon Daniels nor Levine returned messages seeking comment.

Levine has been regarded as a GM candidate for two years, and his name surfaced in connection with openings with Baltimore and Anaheim during the Rangers' postseason run.

The Astros reportedly were also granted permission to speak to Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman, a Houston native.

Spring schedule

The Rangers are scheduled to play 34 exhibition games this spring, including two in Las Vegas on March 17-18 and three in Texas in early April ahead of Opening Day.

The 29-game Cactus League schedule will open March 4 against Kansas City at Surprise Stadium in Arizona and end April 1 against San Diego.

In between, the Rangers will head to Cashman Field to play the Cubs in the Big League Weekend. After leaving the desert, the Rangers will play April 2 at Round Rock, April 3 at Rangers Ballpark against an opponent to be determined, and April 4 at Frisco.

The 2012 regular season opens April 6 against the Chicago White Sox at Rangers Ballpark.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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