Texas Rangers

MLB Winter Meetings: Rangers content with trio competing for job in left field

Rangers outfielders Ryan Rua, left, and Jake Smolinski, along with Michael Choice, will compete for the left field job in the spring.
Rangers outfielders Ryan Rua, left, and Jake Smolinski, along with Michael Choice, will compete for the left field job in the spring. Star-Telegram

The Texas Rangers are content with their options in left field, but are still looking for a defensive-minded fourth outfielder who could platoon at any outfield position.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels cautioned not to sell Ryan Rua and Michael Choice short. Both, along with Jake Smolinski, could earn the full-time job in left.

“There could be a guy that fits in the mix that gives [manager Jeff Banister] some flexibility and lets him move some of the guys around,” Daniels said from a suite at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

“But we’re not heavily involved in the outfield market. I don’t view Rua and Choice, necessarily, as platoon guys.”

Daniels said Mitch Moreland, who missed much of 2014 because of an injury, could also be an option in left field.

“We want to get to spring training and make sure everyone is healthy and see some level of competition, but that’s how we’re looking at it,” he said.

“We’ll see how Moreland’s ankle is and how he factors in the mix and anybody else we might add. I think we’re comfortable with that group.”

Darvish starts work

Right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish, whose season ended in August because of elbow soreness, began a throwing program on Tuesday.

He made 25 throws from 50 feet. He’ll do this three times a week.

Rangers claim pitcher

The Rangers claimed left-handed pitcher Scott Barnes from the Baltimore Orioles off waivers on Tuesday.

Barnes, 27, was 3-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 25 appearances (one start) for Triple-A Columbus in the Indians’ organization in 2014. The move gives the Rangers 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Golden Era blanked

The Hall of Fame Golden Era committee did not elect anyone in 2014.

Dick Allen and Tony Oliva each were one vote shy of reaching 75 percent needed for election. Both received 11 of 16 votes.

Jim Kaat received 10 votes, Maury Wills received nine and Minnie Minoso had eight.

Dick Allen Jr., has been working hard to spread the word about his father, a Phillies great from the 1960s and 70s, who many believe deserved induction long ago.

He hit .292 in 15 seasons with more than 1,000 RBIs and runs scored.

“It’s tough,” Allen Jr., said. “I thought if it’s going to be it’s going to be. I thought he really had a good shot.”

Rumor mill

▪ Free agent pitcher Jon Lester is deciding between the Cubs and Giants, according to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal.

The Giants and Lester’s agent had lengthy discussions on Sunday.

Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, said the Boston Red Sox, the team the left-hander had pitched for the past eight seasons before being traded last summer, have not been eliminated from the discussion.

▪ The A’s traded OF/1B Brandon Moss to the Indians for minor league infielder Joe Wendle. Oakland is also discussing a trade of pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox.

▪ RHP Jason Hammel signed a two-year deal with the Cubs for $9 million, with a $2 million buyout on a $10 million option. The Cubs had traded Hammel to Oakland in July.

▪ The Los Angeles Times reported that Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto emphatically denied rumors the club is shopping left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson. Wilson was 13-10 with a 4.51 ERA in 2014, his third season with the Angels since leaving the Rangers.

“We find C.J. to be an asset, even coming off what has been his worst year as a starting pitcher,” Dipoto said.

Quotable

“They can’t be individualistic and doing their own little thing. They’re working for themselves as well as the other 24 men on that ball club. Even if you’re injured and on the DL you’re still accountable to the men that are showing up every day and playing the game tonight.” — Rangers manager Jeff Banister on the clubhouse culture he wants.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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