Texas Rangers

Pitcher’s long career returns where it almost began, with the Rangers

Joe Beimel was first drafted by the Rangers in 1996 but he didn’t sign. He spent the 2012 spring training in Rangers camp but was released. A few months later he had Tommy John surgery.
Joe Beimel was first drafted by the Rangers in 1996 but he didn’t sign. He spent the 2012 spring training in Rangers camp but was released. A few months later he had Tommy John surgery. Texas Rangers

It’s a third homecoming, in a sense, for pitcher Joe Beimel.

The Rangers signed the veteran left-handed relief pitcher to a major-league contract Friday, his third time dealing with the club.

The non-guaranteed contract is worth $1.5 million if he makes the big-league roster. It also includes an incentive package. Beimel had his own incentives for signing with Texas.

Beimel was drafted by the Rangers in 1996 but did not sign. He was in the Rangers spring training camp in 2012. He was released in late March and had Tommy John surgery in May 2012. He returned in 2013, making 30 appearances for the Braves’ Triple A club.

The Rangers paid for Beimel’s MRI and Tommy John surgery in 2012 although they weren’t obligated.

“I felt I needed to come back and pay for my surgery in 2012 and give them their money’s worth,” Beimel joked Friday.

Reuniting with Jeff Banister was also a factor. Beimel first met Banister in 1998 in the Pirates minor league system. Later, Banister was his bullpen catcher in the big leagues.

Several teams needed a left-handed reliever, Beimel said, but for all those reasons returning to the Rangers was the most attractive.

“It was just a class act,” he said of the Rangers paying for his surgery. “They just didn’t make a big deal about it. They just took care of it. I thought that was pretty cool.”

He was 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 56 appearances for the Mariners in 2014. Left-handers hit .188 against him. He’s expected to contend for a left-handed specialist role in the Rangers’ bullpen, which is thin on lefties.

Key stat

77 Degrees at first pitch, the warmest temperature in Surprise since Rangers’ pitchers and catchers reported on Feb. 20.

Quotable

“Yu knows his body better than anybody [else] knows his body, so I trust Yu and that decision-making process.” — Manager Jeff Banister on whether he’d prefer Yu Darvish had told someone he felt tightness in his throwing arm before pitching an inning in Thursday’s game.

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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