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Bibens-Dirkx's '17 injury an autograph mishap

Rangers pitcher reveals unusual origin of July broken hand
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The details have emerged on the broken hand that right-handed pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx suffered last season. He injured himself signing autographs before a game at the end of the July.

Bibens-Dirkx said he was signing autographs along the first-base stands when he slipped on a metal grating. He caught himself on the railing but banged his right hand hard.

ARLINGTON -- The details have emerged on the broken hand that right-handed pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx suffered last season. He injured himself signing autographs before a game at the end of the July.

Bibens-Dirkx said he was signing autographs along the first-base stands when he slipped on a metal grating. He caught himself on the railing but banged his right hand hard.

"I didn't even know it was broken," Bibens-Dirkx said. "We didn't find out until much later."

Bibens-Dirkx thought it was just a bruise and continued to pitch. He had the hand re-examined one month later and two small broken bones were found in the heel of the hand. He continued to pitch through the end of the season.

"It was interesting," Bibens-Dirkx said. "The fastball, it didn't bother me. You throw a breaking ball and it would pinch that spot. But when you are pitching in front of 40,000 people, you didn't think about it. But I would feel it every once in a while."

The decision was made after the season not to operate. Bibens-Dirkx, on a hand specialist's recommendation, decided to let the hand heal on its own with the help of a cortisone injection. He also elected not to play winter ball and has re-signed with the Rangers as a Minor League free agent.

"I have been feeling good," Bibens-Dirkx said. "I threw a 50-pitch bullpen the other day and felt good. I'm very happy not having surgery."

Lewis to be honored at dinner
The Rangers are honoring former pitcher Colby Lewis with the 2018 Mark Holtz Alumni Award. Lewis will be honored at the Texas Rangers Awards Dinner on Friday in Dallas.

Lewis is returning to the Rangers as a special assistant to the general manager. He has not pitched since 2016, but has not officially announced his retirement.

Lewis was with the Rangers from 2010-16, helping them win four division titles and two American League pennants. He is 4-1 with a 3.11 ERA in nine postseason starts and one relief appearance.

The Rangers signed Lewis out of Japan in 2010 and he went 65-57 with a 4.27 ERA during his seven years with the club. He did all that while undergoing multiple medical procedures including hip, elbow and knee surgeries.

Video: LAA@SEA: Guerra fans Gamel to seal 6-4 win in extras

Rangers sign Guerra
The Rangers have signed right-handed pitcher Deolis Guerra to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Guerra pitched in a combined 73 games for the Pirates in 2015 and the Angels in 2016-17, posting a record of 7-2 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He averages 9.3 hits, 2.1 walks and 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Guerra, 28, was signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2005 and was one four players traded in '08 to the Twins for pitcher Johan Santana.

Rangers beat
• The Rangers will honor their Minor League award winners at the dinner on Friday night. Triple-A Round Rock first baseman Ronald Guzman is the Minor League Player of the Year, right-hander Kyle Cody is the Pitcher of the Year, catcher Jose Trevino is the Defender of the Year and Ricardo Rodriguez was the Reliever of the Year.

• Minor League pitchers Reed Garrett, Adrian Sampson and Jeff Springs, infielder Andy Ibanez and outfielder Scott Heineman have been invited to Major League Spring Training. The Rangers now have 18 non-roster players coming to big league camp.

• Former Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers has agreed to a one-year deal with Chiba Lotte Marines in the Nippon League.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Colby Lewis