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Rangers checked on Cashner, still seek pitching

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are not done looking for starting pitching.

General manager Jon Daniels reinforced that on Friday, when he said the Rangers did try to sign free-agent pitcher Andrew Cashner before he accepted a two-year deal with the Orioles. Daniels said he spoke to Cashner and his represenatives within the past two weeks.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are not done looking for starting pitching.

General manager Jon Daniels reinforced that on Friday, when he said the Rangers did try to sign free-agent pitcher Andrew Cashner before he accepted a two-year deal with the Orioles. Daniels said he spoke to Cashner and his represenatives within the past two weeks.

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"We talked to him and gave him a range of what we were thinking," Daniels said. "He got a better deal. We even asked him if he would pitch in the bullpen, but he got a commitment to start, a multi-year deal, a good deal from Baltimore."

Cashner made 28 starts for the Rangers last year and went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA. He signed a two-year, $16 million contract with a $10 million vesting option for 2020.

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There are still a significant number of free agent starters who are unsigned. The list is led by Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, but also includes Scott Feldman, A.J. Griffin, Jeremy Hellickson, John Lackey, Chris Tillman and others.

Claudio good to go regardless of Oh

The wait continues to see if the Rangers will officially sign free-agent reliever Seung Hwan Oh and make him their closer. An agreement was supposedly reached last week, but no announcement has been made. Daniels reiterated on Friday that there is nothing to announce.

So until otherwise determined, Alex Claudio is the leading candidate to remain as the Rangers' closer.

"Ultimately the decision is not mine," Claudio said. "[Manager Jeff Banister] decides that. If I pitch in that role, I am going to do the best I can. If not, I will be the best middle reliever or long reliever I can be."

Claudio was good last year, going 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 11 saves in 15 opportunities.

"I would like to say this is our closer and settle that conversation," Banister said. "But as we sit here today, I'm not going to say yet, this is our closer. We have a number of guys who have closed. Alex did a terrific job for us last year. He picked us up. We have to assess where we are at and who steps into that role."

Video: Claudio wins 2017 Rangers Pitcher of the Year Award

Rangers beat

• Right-hander Bartolo Colon and left-hander Martin Perez were among the pitchers who threw in the bullpen on Friday. Perez is still recovering from surgery to repair a broken radial bone in his right elbow, but is able to throw without any issues. Colon threw in a group that included top prospects Yohander Mendez and Ariel Jurado. Normally long-term veterans aren't in the same throwing group as Minor League pitchers.

• Catcher Mike Ohlman is in camp on a Minor League contract. Ohlman, who played briefly for the Blue Jays last year, stands 6-foot-5 and if he plays for the Rangers, he would tie Mark Parent and Sandy Alomar Jr. for the tallest catcher in club history.

• Infielders and outfielders don't have to report until Monday, but most of them are already here, including infielders Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, and outfielders Shin-Soo Choo, Delino DeShields, Willie Calhoun, Nomar Mazara, Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson. Adrian Beltre is due either Sunday or Monday.

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.

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