Texas Rangers

February 7, 2014

Rangers notes: Team still searching for more pitching depth

The team has talked with right-handers Tommy Hanson and Suk-min Yoon.

If the Texas Rangers add another pitcher before spring training begins Feb. 16, Mike Maddux would not mind at all.

“You can never have too much,” said Maddux, going into his sixth season as the team’s pitching coach.

The Rangers are still exploring options on the open market. They talked with free-agent right-handers Tommy Hanson and Suk-min Yoon, and those appear to be the top targets at this point.

Hanson, 27, came up with the pitching-rich Atlanta Braves and had the makings of being another solid big-league starter for them his first three seasons. But he struggled in 2012 by going 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA.

A trade to the Angels last season didn’t restart his career, either. He went 4-3 with a 5.42 ERA over 15 games, including 13 starts, and missed a month with a strained right forearm. But he fits the low-risk, high-reward profile of pitchers the Rangers have taken a chance on in the past.

Yoon, meanwhile, is an unknown. The 27-year-old South Korean has never pitched in the United States. He dealt with shoulder injuries last season and had a 4.00 ERA in 88 innings over 30 appearances, including 11 starts, in the Korean Baseball Organization.

The Rangers watched Yoon throw a bullpen session earlier this week and a source said the team is “definitely” still in the hunt to land him.

Injury concerns?

Most of the pitching staff will report to spring training in good health, Maddux said. In fact, 28 of the 32 pitchers scheduled to attend are considered at full strength.

Matt Harrison underwent three surgeries last year, but said he’s at 100 percent and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Feb. 16 when pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Ariz.

Colby Lewis, who last pitched in the big leagues in July 2012, looks free and easy in his delivery, Maddux said.

But there are a couple of minor-league pitchers who will be limited at the start of camp: right-handers Roman Mendez, who had season-ending surgery last year for a stress fracture in his right elbow, and Ben Rowen, whose setback was not revealed.

They join Derek Holland and Joseph Ortiz, who each suffered non-baseball injuries this off-season, and Daniel Bard, recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome.

Truck departs

Harrison wanted to pack “a healthy season” aboard the Rangers’ moving truck that departed for Surprise, Ariz., on Friday afternoon. Equipment manager Richard “Hoggy” Price just hopes nothing is left behind.

Price’s annual moving day list is always interesting to see. Among the desert-bound items:

• Two dozen bats per player. That fluctuates depending on the player. Josh Hamilton was “a breaker and thrower” and needed more, Price said. Prince Fielder is an unknown at this point, but Price ordered three dozen for the team’s newest slugger.
• 12,000 baseballs. That’s not it, though, as Price has 9,600 more scheduled to be delivered throughout spring training. “You hope that’s enough,” Price said, smiling. “You can’t play the game without bats and balls.”
• Exercise equipment, including treadmills and bikes.
• One batting helmet per player. Switch-hitters have two helmets.
• Two jerseys of each style for every player.
• 250 boxes of Keurig coffee. Unlike the regular-season, spring training is an early-bird time of year for the players.

The truck is also filled with boxes of chewing gum, sunflower seeds, scrubbing bubbles and dryer sheets.

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