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Jack Leiter to make MLB debut Thursday for Rangers

(Texas Rangers/Bailey Orr)

 

Jack Leiter, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2021 draft and one of the most hyped prospects in Rangers history, will make his MLB debut Thursday at Comerica Park in Detroit.

The Rangers will use the right-hander as a spot starter as they attempt to complete a stretch of playing 17 consecutive days. No word was given as to how long Leiter will stay in the majors, but he could be sent back to Triple A Round Rock following the start in exchange for an extra bullpen arm.

The club will have to make corresponding roster moves to create spots on the 26-man/active roster and the 40-man roster for Leiter, who recorded 25 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings to open the minor-league season. That included a 10-strikeout effort Friday in which he did not allow a walk over six innings.

His strong early performance follows a nice showing in spring training in which he was among the final roster cuts. He told Rangers Today late in camp that he was able to continue momentum built last season through the offseason and into the spring.

The Rangers took the unusual move last summer of taking Leiter out of competition at Double A Frisco to redirect his career path. He hadn’t make any progress on his first professional season in 2022, also at Frisco, and the development staff made a series of small adjustments before giving him four outings to close the season.

Most apparent is that Leiter is more under control when pitching rather than almost jumping toward the plate. His control has improved, his off-speed pitches are better and he’s more confident.

Leiter was the choice over right-hander Jose Ureña, who has been one of the Rangers’ best relievers this season, and Owen White, who hasn’t been good enough for big-league duty so far this season.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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