Spring break: After brief stint in Chicago, Jake Brigham is back with Texas

Getting to know

RHP Jake Brigham

Ever since the Rangers drafted him in 2006, Jake Brigham pictured himself making his big-league debut with the team. The hard-throwing right-hander overcame Tommy John elbow surgery in 2008 and had risen up through the farm system.

Brigham, 25, started last season at Double A Frisco and was on the radar as a possible mid-season call up. But that never materialized as the Rangers sent Brigham to the Chicago Cubs for Geovany Soto at the trade deadline.

“It was definitely bittersweet,” Brigham said. “I wanted to break into the big leagues with Texas, but the opportunity to do that with the Cubs was good, too.”

Brigham had a short stay in the Cubs’ organization, though. His season was cut short with a right elbow strain, and the Rangers re-acquired him for Barret Loux last November.

Brigham is in camp with a chance to compete for a bullpen spot. He has gotten off to a rough start, serving up a home run to Nelson Cruz in an intrasquad game and a homer to Brandon Wood on Saturday. But it’s still early and Brigham has plenty of time to turn it around.

What was last season like? It was a strange couple of months but it ended up good. I’m happy to be back and excited about having this opportunity again.

How well did you know Barret Loux, for whom you were traded? Real well. We were teammates in Frisco before I got traded and we were together the whole season. He’s a good dude and he’ll have a good opportunity over there.

Did you focus on anything this off-season? I had two goals — work on my fastball command and develop my changeup. I feel like I accomplished both of those. My changeup is a pitch that has sort of lagged over the years, but I feel very confident in it now.

What role do you see yourself competing for? In my mind, I’m competing maybe for a long relief role. There’s definitely openings here and there are a lot of good arms and good pitchers. If I go out and pitch well, I’ll give myself a fighting chance.

Do you feel like you’re on the verge of the big leagues? I think I’m very close. I’m healthy, I feel strong and definitely working hard with that goal in mind.

He said it

“I never faced him. But my vision facing him was him throwing me a 96-97 mph fastball, a 100 mph if he wanted to, and I pull up some chalk on the left-field line.” — Ron Washington on how a potential at-bat against Nolan Ryan would go

Number of the day

1Ron Washington took one Hall of Fame pitcher deep in his career. He homered off Phil Niekro in 1986.

Injury report

DH Lance Berkman (mild right calf strain): day-to-day

RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery in July): throwing out to 150 feet

RHP Roman Mendez (surgery for stress fracture in elbow in Nov.): throwing out to 150 feet

RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John elbow surgery in Aug.): throwing out to 60 feet

RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John in April): will throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today

RHP Justin Miller (Tommy John in April): threw 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday

RHP Matt West (Tommy John on Aug. 12): throwing out to 60 feet

RHP Wilmer Font (mild shoulder tendinitis): will throw a bullpen session today

3B Adrian Beltre (right calf inflammation): day-to-day

RHP Kyle McClellan (general soreness): bullpen session Sunday cut short with back soreness

RHP Tanner Scheppers (strained left hamstring): day-to-day

OF Engel Beltre (left shoulder soreness): day-to-day

Videos of the day

Watch manager Ron Washington’s daily media briefing on Martin Perez, as well as Matt Harrison talk about his outing Sunday on our Rangers blog, Foul Territory.

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