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Scheppers becomes Minor League free agent

Former key 'pen piece has struggled with injuries; Bass, Claiborne, Marinez, Rodriguez also set to depart
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Right-handed pitcher Tanner Scheppers, who was the Rangers' Opening Day starter in 2014, has become a Minor League free agent. The Rangers outrighted Scheppers off the 40-man roster in August.

Scheppers was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in five appearances with the Rangers this season, spending most of his time at Triple-A Round Rock. He pitched in 31 games for the Express and was 1-3 with a 4.84 ERA.

ARLINGTON -- Right-handed pitcher Tanner Scheppers, who was the Rangers' Opening Day starter in 2014, has become a Minor League free agent. The Rangers outrighted Scheppers off the 40-man roster in August.

Scheppers was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in five appearances with the Rangers this season, spending most of his time at Triple-A Round Rock. He pitched in 31 games for the Express and was 1-3 with a 4.84 ERA.

The Rangers took Scheppers with the 44th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. He reached the big leagues in '12, finishing with a 1-1 record and a 4.45 ERA in 39 games.

The following season, Scheppers developed into an outstanding setup reliever, pitching to a 6-2 record with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 76 games. He was one of five players selected for the All-Star Game Final Vote.

Scheppers was switched to the rotation in 2014 and given the nod on Opening Day. But he lasted just four starts, going 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA, before ending up on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

That was the first of a series of injuries that kept Scheppers from returning to the level he pitched at in his near-All-Star campaign. Over the past three years, he was 5-3 with a 5.47 ERA in 57 games with the Rangers, while shuttling among Arlington, Round Rock and the disabled list.

Among the other players leaving the organization are right-handed pitchers Anthony Bass, Preston Claiborne and Jhan Marinez, and left-handed pitcher Joely Rodriguez.

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, Tanner Scheppers