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Monday newsletter time: Another pitcher strengthens bid for Rangers’ roster

(AP photo/Ross D. Franklin)

 

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Jose Urena is a veteran right-handed starting pitcher who has a no-hitter on his resume from early in his career. He’s endured some ups and downs recently, but the Rangers appear to have caught him this spring on an up.

He was very good Sunday against the Cubs, allowing two runs in five innings with four strikeouts and no walks. In camp on a non-roster deal, Urena has made himself into a candidate for the Opening Day roster.

With general manager Chris Young saying Saturday that left-hander Cody Bradford is in the rotation, Urena is ticketed either for the bullpen or Triple A Round Rock. If the Rangers are serious about protecting their rotation depth, they will find a spot in the bullpen for Urena.

He could be the first choice when a need arises, and a need always arises.

Next up in the pecking order would be Jack Leiter, based on his strong spring. Left-hander Danny Duffy currently fits as a multi-inning reliever but could start in a pinch.

If the Rangers aren’t going to add a starter after missing out on Dylan Cease (they thought they had him), the Rangers might find themselves in a pinch. Free agency would be the most likely route, but owner Ray Davis can’t seem to get his wallet of his pocket one more time.

So, Urena might have clinched his roster spot Sunday.

Clearing the 40

Urena, Leiter and Duffy, as well as first baseman Jared Walsh and outfielder Wyatt Langford, are not on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, which is full.

It appears as if the Rangers will definitely add Walsh and Langford. Walsh hit his third homer Sunday, and second of the spring against a lefty. Langford drove in yet another run.

Five 40-man spots can be found, theoretically.

The Rangers can create three spots by transferring right-handers Max Scherzer (back), Tyler Mahle (Tommy John surgery) and Jacob deGrom (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day injured list. A fourth would be created if utility man Jose Barrero, a recent waiver claim who is out of options, doesn’t make the team.

The fifth spot might hurt a little. The Rangers have some young 40-man players who might be running out of chances or who have significant roadblocks in front of them.

But …

Scherzer’s timeline is now tracking toward being available in late May or early June. The Rangers might not want to put him on the 60 in case his timeline continues to accelerate.

The Rangers might be able to convince Urena and/or Duffy to start at Triple A Round Rock, which would allow them to take 40-man relievers Jake Latz and Grant Anderson and preserve some roster flexibility.

Choosing 26 players isn’t as easy as it seems. Adding five non-roster invitees to the 40-man roster might be too big of an ask.

Rangers All-Access drop

The fourth episode of Rangers All-Access is available for your viewing pleasure here.

The first episode was a general look at the start of camp, followed by looking at the offense in the second episode and then the pitchers last week. This week? The young stars of the team.

Yes, Wyatt Langford and Evan Carter are heavily involved, along with second-year player Josh Jung.

Give the Rangers credit for his idea. It’s a new way to reach fans with fresh content. They will have to do this going forward out of necessity in a changing media landscape that has them seeking a new TV partner.

 

ICYMI …

Rangers Today is back in camp after 4 1/2 days with the family. Good times were had by all Wilsons, but we still need to get our daughter to learn how to sleep in. There’s no rest for the weary at the Surprise Recreation Campus, where roster spots will be handed out this week and into next week. Don’t miss our coverage. Get full access for $48 for 12 months. Here’s our latest, in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: Another roster projection

Friday on the Farm: What’s the rush?

Rangers notes: Seager optimism higher

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast YouTube channel

Doggy video!

Buitengebieden says jealous. I say the dog doesn’t want its owner looking stupid petting a stuffed animal. Enjoy.

Watch today’s video here.

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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