Texas Rangers

Rangers land this veteran reliever from crowded pool of free-agent bullpen arms

Zach McAllister had a bumpy 2018, but he pitched to a 2.99 ERA for the Cleveland Indians from 2015-2017.
Zach McAllister had a bumpy 2018, but he pitched to a 2.99 ERA for the Cleveland Indians from 2015-2017. TNS

Zach McAllister can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen, and for three seasons from 2015-2017 he was a key member of the Cleveland Indians’ relief corps.

Now, after a down 2018 (6.20 ERA), he will try to rebound in 2019 with the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers signed McAllister on Tuesday to a one-year deal with $1 million, plus incentives. He joins fellow right-hander Jesse Chavez as veterans who frequently will be asked to get more than three outs.

But the same will be asked of other young relievers, such as left-hander Jeffrey Springs and Rule 5 pick Jordan Romano, a righty. If Jose Leclerc isn’t the closer, he might be asked to go more than an inning.

General manager Jon Daniels was asked Tuesday morning if the Rangers planned to add relievers before spring training.

“It seems like there are still quite a few guys out there on the market,” Daniels said.

One of them is lefty Jake Diekman, who has expressed interest in returning to the Rangers after he was traded at the July 31 deadline.

Heineman out

Scott Heineman, the reigning Rangers Minor League Player of the Year, was thought to have a chance at the Opening Day roster this season after being added to the 40-man roster late last year.

Instead, the earliest he can make his MLB debut appears to be early May.

The Rangers revealed Tuesday that Heineman underwent surgery Dec. 10 for a torn labrum in his left/non-throwing shoulder. The soonest he can begin rehab games is late April, Daniels said, and the Rangers are looking for external outfield help.

Heineman, 26, can play all three outfield spots. He batted a career-best .306 with 12 homers, 67 RBIs and 18 steals.

More signings

The Rangers signed three players to minor-league deals and invited them to spring training: Catcher Tony Sanchez, and right-handers Tyler Guerrieri and Michael Tonkin.

They pushed the spring roster to 62 players, a full 40-man roster and 22 non-roster invites, but that is certain to change. A 40-man spot will have to be created to make room for Asdrubal Cabrera, and the Rangers have not announced any internal non-roster invites.

Tonkin is the most intriguing. The former Minnesota Twins reliever pitched in Japan in 2018, for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, going 4-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 51 innings.

The Rangers also announced a series of promotions and hires in the front office and baseball operations. Among the noteworthy transactions is Adam Lewkowicz moving from advance scouting to amateur scouting, Brett Hayes becoming the run-prevention coordinator, and Alex Burg becoming the run-production coordinator.

Hayes, a former MLB catcher, spent his final big-league spring with the Rangers in 2017, and Burg, also a former catcher, played for Double A Frisco in 2015 and 2016.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.