Mike Hauschild became well-versed in the Rule 5 draft after the 2015, the first time he was eligible to be selected.
No one took a flier on him then, but the Texas Rangers closed the 2016 winter meetings by taking the right-hander from the Houston Astros organization and declaring him a candidate to be the No. 5 starter.
Hauschild had his first audition Sunday, tossing two scoreless innings. By virtue of being a Rule 5 pick, the Rangers have to keep him in the active roster all season or offer him back to the Astros.
He covets the chance to compete with A.J. Griffin and others to fill out the starting rotation.
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“I’m a competitive guy,” said Hauschild, who went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA last season for Triple A Fresno. “I’m just trying to go out and compete and do what I do.”
The 28-year-old doesn’t throw hard and features a forkball and changeup that helps him keep the ball down and in the ballpark.
The same goes for Eddie Gamboa, who is scheduled to start one of the Rangers’ two games Monday, weather permitting. The knuckleballer and Hauschild, both change-of-pace pitchers, could end up as the long man in the bullpen if they don’t make the rotation.
“The goal is to be at the big-league level,” Gamboa said. “Whatever they need is what we’ve prepared for.”