Rangers bring Tomko back to major leagues
Right-hander Brett Tomko is back in the major leagues for the
first time since 2009, returning to where he pitched his last
The Rangers purchased Tomko’s contract Wednesday from Triple-A
Round Rock. Texas plans to use him as a long reliever, and he was
in uniform for the series finale against the Los Angeles
The last time Tomko pitched in the major leagues was at Rangers
Ballpark on Sept. 14, 2009, when he threw a five-hit shutout for
Oakland against Texas. He also felt a pop in his arm in the ninth
inning, but finished that game before it was determined he had a
”Driving back in here, it was strange, it was surreal,” Tomko
said. ”It’s been an interesting journey to get back here over the
last year and a half. I’m pretty excited.”
The Rangers are the 10th major league team for the 38-year-old
Tomko, who made his major league debut with Cincinnati in 1997.
Tomko went to spring training this year on a minor league deal with
the Rangers, and is appreciative to have another chance in the
”Probably more than I could ever put into words,” Tomko said.
”I told (Rangers manager Ron) Washington when they sent me down,
that I want to be there as much as I think I ever have, probably
more than I ever wanted to get to the big leagues in the first
Texas also recalled catcher Taylor Teagarden from Round Rock,
put rookie right-hander Mason Tobin on the 60-day disabled list and
optioned left-hander Michael Kirkman to Round Rock.
Tobin, who had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2009,
came out of Tuesday night’s game against the Angels after only four
batters because of pain in his elbow. Initial results from an MRI
exam Wednesday showed inflammation in the ligament.
The Rangers got Tobin in the Rule 5 draft last December and he
made the major league roster in spring training.
Kirkman took over for Tobin in the 15-4 loss, and allowed six
runs in 1 2-3 innings. It was his only appearance this year for the
Rangers after posting a 1.65 ERA in 14 appearances late last
Tomko, who spent last season in the Athletics organization, lost
both of his starts and had a 6.35 ERA in 11 1-3 innings at Round
”I felt like I was throwing the ball really well. The numbers
are what they are,” Tomko said. ”Stuff-wise, I feel good.”
Tomko is 100-102 with a 4.65 ERA in 389 games, including 266
starts, over 13 seasons.
He went through numerous tests to determine the cause of his
nerve problem, and doctors said it wasn’t anything that could be
corrected by surgery. The best description of what he still feels
is ”like a sunburn” on the bottom of his right arm. There are
tingles at times, but he said ”in a game, it’s great.”
Tomko isn’t worried about his role for the Rangers. He just
wants to pitch.
”Whenever they tell you to go out there and pitch, you take the
ball and once you get going, you get going,” he said. ”I think
I’m too far along in my career to really worry about the role and
what it is. My goal was after the injury to come back to help
whatever staff I can be on in whatever way I can.”
Also Wednesday, former NL Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb
threw another batting practice session for the Rangers in his
comeback from shoulder surgery that has kept him out since the 2009
season opener for Arizona.
Webb, who signed a free-agent deal with Texas this winter, has
been making steady progress. The BP session Wednesday came at least
a day earlier than previously scheduled and three days after a
72-pitch bullpen session.
”It went good,” Webb said. ”It was OK. I wouldn’t say it was
unbelievable, but definitely better than last time.”
Webb wasn’t sure what the next step would be. There could be
more throwing workouts in Arlington, or he could be sent to Arizona
to pitch in extended spring training games.