SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers could be facing an either/or decision with starting pitching candidates Mike Hauschild and Dillon Gee at the end of camp.Hauschild is a Rule 5 Draft pick, meaning he has to make the Opening Day roster. If not, he first gets put through waivers to see
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers could be facing an either/or decision with starting pitching candidates Mike Hauschild and Dillon Gee at the end of camp.
Hauschild is a Rule 5 Draft pick, meaning he has to make the Opening Day roster. If not, he first gets put through waivers to see if another team wants him under Rule 5 conditions. If he clears waivers, then he has to be offered back to the Astros for $25,000.
Gee is in camp on a Minor League deal and, like most veterans in that situation, he has an out clause in his contract. If Gee is not added to the Major League roster by March 29, he could take his free agency.
Gee, who is from Cleburne, Texas, and pitched at the University of Texas-Arlington, said he is not thinking about that possibility. Like Hauschild, his goal is to win a spot with the Rangers.
"Nope, not right now," Gee said. "Those things are backup plans. Hopefully I don't have to worry about it."
Gee, Hauschild and A.J. Griffin, who is already on the 40-man roster, have emerged as the mid-spring leaders for the final two spots in the rotation behind Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez.
Griffin and Hauschild both pitched four scoreless innings in their last start and Gee has not allowed a run in his past five innings while being used in relief. Griffin starts against the Indians on Friday in San Antonio and Gee is scheduled to follow him on Saturday at the Alamodome. Hauschild stays in Arizona and is scheduled to pitch this weekend against either the Angels on Friday or the Reds on Saturday.
Chi Chi Gonzalez is still in the competition, but didn't help his chances by allowing eight runs, seven earned, in 2 2/3 innings against the D-backs on Tuesday in a 12-0 loss. Before that, he allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings against Team Venezuela in a tuneup game for the World Baseball Classic.
Nick Martinez is also still in the running and pitches against the Indians on Wednesday afternoon in Surprise. He needs a good outing to keep up with the competition, having allowed eight runs over 3 2/3 innings in his past two starts.
The Rangers like the progress that Gonzalez and Martinez are making. Gonzalez is throwing more strikes with a variety of pitches and Martinez has honed his fastball command, especially on the inside. But at some point, results matter.
Gonzalez and Martinez are both on the 40-man roster, so they can be optioned to Triple-A Round Rock without jeopardizing their status with the organization. The leading candidates will likely have three more outings in Arizona before a final decision is made.
If Griffin makes the rotation, there is one scenario in which Hauschild and Gee both stay with the organization. One would make it as a fifth starter and the other as a middle reliever.
But that would be a tight squeeze into a bullpen that already includes Sam Dyson, Matt Bush, Keone Kela, Jeremy Jeffress and Tony Barnette. That leaves two spots open with the candidates being right-hander Tanner Scheppers and left-hander Alex Claudio.
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.