Jepsen fills out Rangers' bullpen picture, roster

March 29th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers completed their Opening Day roster by adding reliever , who was signed in the offseason to a Minor League contract.
Manager Jeff Banister also said that Jepsen and will be the two relievers he calls upon to close out games. Kela will likely get the first shot, while Jepsen will be used on days when Kela is not available.
"Keone has as good of stuff as we have out there," Banister said. "We just talk about the consistency of being available. Early on we are going to stay away from using [him] three days in a row. Jepsen has a very interesting look -- high-hop fastball, swing-and-miss offspeed pitch down. He is a veteran, and I don't think the situation will be a challenge for him."
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rangers designated first baseman Tommy Joseph for assignment. He had been optioned to Double-A Frisco at the end of Spring Training after being acquired from the Phillies. Texas also officially placed pitchers Tony Barnette, , and on the disabled list.
The final 25-man roster:
Catcher: ,
The backup catcher is a crucial decision, because the Rangers see Chirinos starting 100-110 games a year. Centeno stood out in camp with his defense and the energy he brought to the game.
First base:Joey Gallo
The Rangers eagerly await what Gallo will do in his second full season.
Second base:.
The Rangers are hoping Odor will be better offensively, but that didn't show up in Spring Training.
Andrus didn't play as much as others this spring because of some back stiffness, but he played well when he was in the game.
Third base:
Beltre got through the spring healthy. Mission accomplished.
Utility infielder:
The Rangers still have to figure out how to get Profar into the lineup.
Outfield: , , , , ,
Rua won the left-field job because of his defense, baserunning and the Rangers' belief that his offense will improve with regular playing time. DeShields will be in center, Mazara in right and Choo will see most of his time at designated hitter. Texas is trying to carry Tocci as a Rule 5 Draft pick because of his defense but that may be tough to do for a full year. Robinson can play both infield and outfield.
Starting rotation: Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor
Hamels, Fister and Moore were locks, and Minor showed early in camp he is ready to switch back to the rotation after being a reliever with the Royals last year. Martin Perez will be the fifth starter and is scheduled to start April 5 in Oakland. But the Rangers still need a starter for Monday, and are expected to add for a spot start.
Bullpen: , Jake Diekman, Matt Bush, Kela, Chris Martin, , Jepsen,
Lincecum's chances of making the Opening Day roster were scuttled when he sustained a blister on his right middle finger. That opened up a spot for Leclerc.