Several bullpen options remain with Scheppers, Ross in rotation competition

03/18/2014 7:23 PM

11/12/2014 4:19 PM

Until the Texas Rangers decide the pitching roles for Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross, how the bullpen shapes up by Opening Day remains in flux.

There appears to be four locks right now in closer candidates Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria, and middle relievers Neal Cotts and Jason Frasor.

But several different scenarios remain to fill the final three spots and much remains unknown with Scheppers and Ross getting prolonged opportunities at joining the rotation.

If Ross makes the rotation, that could leave a need for another left-handed reliever to go along with Neal Cotts. Michael Kirkman, Rafael Perez, Aaron Poreda, Ryan Feierabend and Pedro Figueroa remain options at this point.

Perez has the most experience of the group with 338 big-league outings over seven seasons with the Indians from 2006-12, but underwent left shoulder surgery near the end of 2012 and has yet to return to the big leagues.

But he has impressed, turning in three of four scoreless outings this spring.

“He’s throwing stuff up there that they can’t hit,” manager Ron Washington said of Perez. “That’s why he’s still here. This guy has done it before, he was a pretty good reliever in Cleveland.”

If Scheppers makes the rotation, the need for another lefty isn’t as strong. That means a right-hander such as Shawn Tolleson or Roman Mendez could emerge from the group.

Briefly

• Adrian Beltre expects to play Thursday, as he’s progressed well from a mild left quad strain and has been given a couple extra days. “I don’t want nagging injuries,” Beltre said. “I have a phobia; I don’t want to be unable to play Opening Day.”
• Catcher Geovany Soto, who missed the first half of camp after having a bone removed from his left foot, expects to catch consecutive games for the first time on Thursday and Friday.
• The pitching plans for Thursday include Robbie Ross starting the Cactus League game and Colby Lewis making a minor-league start. On Friday, Tanner Scheppers will pitch in the ‘A’ game and Yu Darvish will pitch in a minor-league game.

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