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Hammel, Forsythe earn spots on Texas' roster

@Sullivan_Ranger
March 22, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers moved closer to setting their Opening Day roster when manager Chris Woodward informed right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel and infielder Logan Forsythe they have made the team. Forsythe, 32, is an eight-year veteran who can play all four infield positions as well as the outfield in

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers moved closer to setting their Opening Day roster when manager Chris Woodward informed right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel and infielder Logan Forsythe they have made the team.

Forsythe, 32, is an eight-year veteran who can play all four infield positions as well as the outfield in case of an emergency. He has less experience at shortstop than the other three infield spots but Woodward -- who was Forsythe’s coach with the Dodgers in 2017-18 -- is confident he can handle the position. That will allow Asdrubal Cabrera to focus on third base rather than having additional responsibilities as the backup shortstop.

“He has worked so hard at being a quality third baseman, I didn’t want him to have to go back and forth,” Woodward said.

Hammel, 36, has been a starter for most of his career but will serve as a long reliever in the Rangers' bullpen. He was 2-3 with a 5.47 ERA in 21 relief appearances with the Royals last season after being dropped from the rotation at the beginning of July.

“Hammel gives us a ton of length,” Woodward said. “Starting option, piggyback option, multiple-inning option, there are a lot of things he can do. He provides a lot of value to us.”

The Rangers now have six relievers officially named to the Opening Day roster. Joining Hammel will be closer Jose Leclerc, right-handers Jesse Chavez, Shawn Kelley and Chris Martin, and left-hander Jeffrey Springs.

That leaves one and possibly two spots open depending whether the Rangers go with seven or eight relievers. Veteran Zach McAllister is the leading candidate for one spot, but the Rangers have not told him that he has made the team. He is starting Friday against the Cubs.

Left-hander Kyle Bird and right-handers Connor Sadzeck, Jeanmar Gomez and Adrian Sampson are also still in camp. Bird is on the 40-man roster and has options while Sampson is on a Minor League contract. Sampson has pitched well this spring, but the Rangers will likely have him starting every fifth day at Triple-A Nashville. Gomez is also on a Minor League contract and could possibly take his free agency if he is not on the Opening Day roster.

Sadzeck, 27, could be the tough call. He is on the 40-man roster but out of options. That means he will have to go through outright waivers before he can be sent to the Minor Leagues. The Rangers would have to decide if it is worth the risk of exposing him to a possible waiver claim.

“Do we see it as a power arm with potential or do we see it as a power arm that won’t materialize into what we want,” Woodward said. “That’s the big question. That’s the question every team has to deal with when it comes to young pitching.”

The decision on whether to go with seven or eight relievers still depends on outfielder Joey Gallo. The Rangers want to make sure he is completely recovered from his strained groin muscle before they decide on the number of relievers. If there is any doubt, the Rangers will go with seven relievers and keep an extra position player.

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.