Rangers notebook: GM confident with Uehara
SURPRISE, Ariz. – When the Texas Rangers report to camp Wednesday, expect right-hander Koji Uehara to be with the club.
Uehara has been the subject of trade talk and has said he’d like questions about his future answered. That immediate answer appears to include a job with Texas.
“He’s a Ranger,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “I’m sure when he gets in tomorrow if he wants to talk to Wash (Ron Washington), Wash can kind of explain his role in the club. I have no moves planned or anything like that.”
Daniels sounded confident Uehara, who had a 4.00 ERA with Texas after he was acquired from Baltimore last July and was not on the World Series roster.
“The guy had a tremendous year last year,” Daniels said. “One of the attractive things when we traded for Koji in July was that he wasn’t a rental. It was a two-year fit. That’s still an attractive piece for us.”
Daniels said he hasn’t talked with any free agents since the club signed lefty Neal Cotts to a minor league deal. That includes free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt.
WORK FOR NAPOLI, MORELAND
Washington threw batting practice to two groups Tuesday. Among those getting in their hacks against the Texas manager were Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland.
Napoli is coming off a severely sprained ankle in the World Series, but he looked good to Washington on Tuesday.
“Matter of fact when I threw to him I really didn’t have his ankle on my mind,” Washington said. “He was getting through the baseball. If I threw it in a bad spot, he hit it pretty far.”
Moreland looked good too, and he’s coming off surgery on his right wrist in the offseason. The wrist bothered Moreland the second half of the 2011 season.
“I made sure I moved the ball away from Mitch and he drove the ball to left field pretty well,” Washington said. “Toward the end of the season last year he was pushing the ball that way. Today he drove it that way.”
The Rangers did make a deal for a left-hander Tuesday, adding reliever Kelvin De La Cruz from Cleveland for cash considerations.
De La Cruz is on the 40-man roster and will compete for a spot in the bullpen. He was a starter for Double-A Akron last year, and left-handed hitters batted just .143 (13 for 91 against him).
Daniels said the club’s scouts thought he could easily make the transition to the bullpen, where there’s a spot to be one for a lefty reliever.
Washington said he’d like to see a left-hander emerge in camp, but would also be OK with a bullpen made up entirely of right-handers.
Michael Kirkman and non-roster invitees Joe Beimel and Mitch Stetter are just three of the pitchers vying for a job.