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Rangers, Triple-A Nashville reach 4-year pact

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have entered into a four-year working agreement with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the two clubs announced on Tuesday. A formal press conference is planned on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.

The arrangement runs through 2022. The Sounds replace the Round Rock Express, the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate for the past eight years.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have entered into a four-year working agreement with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the two clubs announced on Tuesday. A formal press conference is planned on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.

The arrangement runs through 2022. The Sounds replace the Round Rock Express, the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate for the past eight years.

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"The Texas Rangers are very pleased to enter into this four-year player development contract with the Nashville Sounds," said Texas Rangers co-chairman and managing partner Ray Davis. "Led by Frank Ward and Adam Nuse, the Sounds are one of Minor League Baseball's top organizations.

"The Sounds have received incredible fan support as the franchise finished fourth in Minor League Baseball in overall attendance with over 600,000 fans attending games at beautiful First Tennessee Park in downtown Nashville in 2018. For a number of reasons, this became a very attractive location for our Triple-A club and we look forward to a productive relationship with the Sounds."

The Rangers worked hard to get an agreement with Nashville after it became obvious that Round Rock would sever its relationship and go with the Astros. The Rangers were attracted by Nashville's relatively close proximity to Texas and the outstanding ballpark. First Tennessee Park was opened in 2015 and is considered a state-of-the-art facility.

"I love it," Rangers pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx said. "It's a pretty good pitcher's park and an awesome city. Nashville is one of my favorite cities. To have a team in Nashville affiliated with the Rangers is a good thing. I haven't seen the home side, but what I have seen on the visitors' side, everything there is pretty darn good."

There were five Triple-A cities whose Major League working agreement expired this year. Nashville had been affiliated with Oakland, but the Athletics are moving to Las Vegas. The Astros were a natural for Round Rock Express because of the close link with owner Nolan Ryan and his family.

That left San Antonio, Fresno and Nashville. San Antonio was desirable because of location, but that stadium was opened in 1994 and is far behind First Tennessee Park as far as amenities. The Rangers weren't keen on Fresno because of the distance.

"The Nashville Sounds front office has a great reputation of taking care of its players, and we believe this is a tremendous opportunity," said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. "I think our players and development staff will enjoy playing and working in an environment with first-class facilities and an exciting game atmosphere."

Nashville is just the Rangers' third affiliate in the past 37 years. The Rangers were in Oklahoma City from 1983-2010. Prior to that, the Rangers had six different Triple-A affiliates in 11 years: Denver, Spokane, Sacramento, Tucson, Charleston and Wichita.

Sampson to keep pitching
Manager Jeff Banister confirmed that right-hander Adrian Sampson will make two more starts before the end of the season. Sampson, who has allowed three runs in 10 2/3 innings over his first two starts, is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Mariners.

Video: TB@TEX: Sampson K's Bauers swinging in the 2nd inning

"He is showing the ability to pitch," Banister said. "His stuff plays up when he is able to locate and execute. As the game progresses, the stuff gets better. The mix is what he has success with. It's an intriguing look."

Rangers beat
Joey Gallo remains day-to-day with a bruised toe on his right foot. The Rangers expect him to play before the end of the current homestand.

• The Rangers' 3-0 loss on Monday ended a streak of 106 home games without being shut out. The Rangers were the only Major League team that hadn't been shut out in their home park this season.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa has thrown out 32 percent (7-for-24) of attempted basestealers this season. That's the 11th best among American League catchers with at least 30 games played.

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

Calhoun looks to meet challenges in tough year

Top prospect has struggled for playing time in the Majors; Beltre looks to finish season strong
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The transition from prospect to Major League player is not always smooth. It wasn't for Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar and Delino DeShields, and it is not going to be that way for Willie Calhoun.

The Rangers' No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, went into Spring Training as the obvious favorite to be the Texas left fielder, but instead spent most of the season at Triple-A Round Rock. He is a September callup and did start on Sunday, but his playing time is limited. There is no telling what moves the Rangers will make in the offseason, but right now Calhoun is behind Gallo, DeShields and Nomar Mazara on the Rangers' outfield depth chart.

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OAKLAND -- The transition from prospect to Major League player is not always smooth. It wasn't for Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar and Delino DeShields, and it is not going to be that way for Willie Calhoun.

The Rangers' No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, went into Spring Training as the obvious favorite to be the Texas left fielder, but instead spent most of the season at Triple-A Round Rock. He is a September callup and did start on Sunday, but his playing time is limited. There is no telling what moves the Rangers will make in the offseason, but right now Calhoun is behind Gallo, DeShields and Nomar Mazara on the Rangers' outfield depth chart.

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"I think it's pretty clear that the writing is on the wall," Calhoun said. "There are a lot of older players that play the same position I do. It's pretty much waiting your turn and going out there when [manager Jeff Banister] calls your name and being ready. I wouldn't say I'm discouraged, but I'm not used to being in a bench role. But it's something where I have to be ready when he calls me."

Calhoun's strength is his offense; he hit .294 with 32 doubles, nine home runs and 47 RBIs in 108 games at Round Rock. The home runs were down from the 31 he hit at Triple-A last year and the slugging percentage fell from .572 to .431.

"Honestly, I know I still have it," Calhoun said. "I have close to 40 doubles [including five with the Rangers], so I know my power is still there. ... Maybe a little better pitch selection."

The Rangers don't need to be concerned about finding Calhoun a spot in the lineup. Their focus is on his continued development, especially on defense and baserunning. They also want to see how he responds to the challenges he faced this season.

"I believe all players go through challenges," Banister said. "In the big picture, it's a good thing. This is not an easy game to play. This is a challenging game. It's how the player responds. The future will judge that."

The Rangers also want Calhoun to continue to dedicate himself to getting in top physical condition.

"You need to be in shape to play this game," Banister said. "I'm not saying Willie was not in shape. But you look across baseball, there are players who have had to make adjustments in their strength and their bodies. This is a grueling game. You need to make sure you take care of your bodies. All our players understand that."

Beltre to get chances
Adrian Beltre goes into just about every game with a chance to pass an all-time great in some category. He went into Sunday's game with 474 career home runs, one behind Willie Stargell and Stan Musial for 30th all-time. With 3,152 hits, he needed two more to match George Brett for 15th place all-time.

Video: TEX@OAK: Beltre swats 2 HRs, passes Delgado all-time

If Beltre retires at the end of the year, the final three weeks of the season will determine his final spot on the all-time lists. Banister acknowledged he has thought about that.

"We're going to give him as many opportunities as we can to play," Banister said. "I don't want to miss those moments and he doesn't either. He's got to feel good enough to play and right now he is in a pretty good spot."

Rangers beat
• DeShields was back in the leadoff spot on Sunday for the first time since July 11. That was his spot early in the season and the Rangers want to take another look at him up there in September.

"For him to be a dynamic player, that's a better spot for him," Banister said.

• The Class A Short Season Spokane Indians open their best-of-five Northwest League Championship Series against Eugene on Sunday night.

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, Adrian Beltre, Willie Calhoun

Sampson completes long journey back to Majors

Pelham, Calhoun and Bibens-Dirkx recalled in Sept. moves
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Adrian Sampson is back in the Major Leagues. He could be a preview of coming attractions for Rangers pitching.

Sampson was one of the September callups for the Rangers, bringing him back to the Major Leagues for the first time in over two years. His only Major League appearance was on June 18, 2016, while with the Mariners, pitching 4 2/3 innings in a start against the Red Sox.

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ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Adrian Sampson is back in the Major Leagues. He could be a preview of coming attractions for Rangers pitching.

Sampson was one of the September callups for the Rangers, bringing him back to the Major Leagues for the first time in over two years. His only Major League appearance was on June 18, 2016, while with the Mariners, pitching 4 2/3 innings in a start against the Red Sox.

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Less than two weeks later, he underwent major surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

"It's over," Sampson said Tuesday. "Good to put it behind me. It was a long road back. But I feel I was mentally engaged in the rehab process, so it went by a little faster in my mind. It was tough, but it's nice to be back."

Sampson did most of his rehab work with the Rangers after they claimed him off waivers on Nov. 2, 2016. He spent most of 2017 working out at the Rangers Spring Training facility in Surprise, Ariz. The staff there helped put him back together and he was 8-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 19 starts and 14 relief appearances at Triple-A Round Rock this season. He was 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in his last 14 starts.

"Missing a whole year of professional baseball, you forget how to plan to get guys out, scouting reports, reading guys swings, all the small details of watching a game every day," Sampson said. "Being away from that … the game hasn't changed but figuring out how to succeed is a little harder."

The Rangers rehab team in Surprise has been busy. Jason Roberts is the medical coordinator and the team also includes rehab coordinator Sean Fields, assistant Chris Olson, strength and conditioning coordinator Ric Mabie and pitching coordinator Keith Comstock.

The Rangers have seven prominent pitchers in various stages of rehabbing from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery: Joe Palumbo, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Edinson Volquez, Kyle Cody, Cole Ragans, Clayton Blackburn and Alex Speas. The Rangers are hoping they have a similar road back to success as Sampson.

"Once I was picked up by Texas in the offseason, rehabbing with those guys they make it a team," Sampson said. "It was great. They make it a team. Doesn't feel like you are doing it on your own. The way they run it is really awesome. Just being around those guys, they keep your spirits up. Mental game is remarkable."

The Rangers also made it official calling up pitchers C.D. Pelham and Austin Bibens-Dirkx, and outfielder Willie Calhoun on Tuesday. In addition, infielder Hanser Alberto was activated off the disabled list.

Rangers beat:
• The Rangers' team in the Dominican Summer League lost to the Rays, 8-1, in the final of the best-of-five DSL championship series.

Bartolo Colon is returning to the rotation and will start on Wednesday against the Angels.

• Manager Jeff Banister said Yovani Gallardo will start on Friday against the Athletics. Banister said Yohander Mendez will pitch on Saturday and Ariel Jurado will pitch on Sunday against the Athletics, but there is a possibility the Rangers could "open" the game with a reliever.

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, Hanser Alberto, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Willie Calhoun, Adrian Sampson

Pelham among prospects to be called up

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Left-handed reliever C.D. Pelham has completed a meteoric rise through the Rangers' farm system and will be among the September callups.

Pelham, a 33rd-round pick in 2015 out of Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College, will join the Rangers on Tuesday along with outfielder Willie Calhoun, and pitchers Adrian Sampson and Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Infielder Hanser Alberto will be activated off the disabled list.

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ARLINGTON -- Left-handed reliever C.D. Pelham has completed a meteoric rise through the Rangers' farm system and will be among the September callups.

Pelham, a 33rd-round pick in 2015 out of Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College, will join the Rangers on Tuesday along with outfielder Willie Calhoun, and pitchers Adrian Sampson and Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Infielder Hanser Alberto will be activated off the disabled list.

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Pelman, the Rangers' No. 16 ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, began the year at Class A Down East and pitched in 23 games with a 1.95 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 27 innings. He was promoted to Double-A Frisco midway through June, and had a 6.16 ERA with a 1.74 WHIP in 24 games.

"He's always been extremely athletic and had a big arm," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Got some confidence and pounded the strike zone. Pitched in the upper 90s; slider really effective, like the way it plays off the fastball. This last month in Frisco, he had a little bit of a transition period.

"We'll expect he'll have it here as well. I think most likely he'll be in camp next year, and we'll see where we are. He'll get more seasoning next year, but good opportunity to come up here and see the speed of the game and the environment. He's a guy that we see factoring in for us in a significant way down the road."

Sampson joined the Rangers on Nov. 2, 2016, when he was claimed off waivers from the Mariners. At the time he was coming off Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and the Rangers knew it would be a two-year process. He earned September consideration by going 8-4 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 19 starts and 14 relief appearances at Round Rock. 

"We'll take a look at him," Daniels said. "It's been a long road back. I think he could make a start here at some point. He may come out of the bullpen. Long road back from surgery. We'll have him here as a starter option -- our initial thought."

Calhoun, the second-ranked prospect in the organization, was expected to be a callup, but his playing time will be limited because of the Rangers' crowded outfield. He is a left fielder and the Rangers have both Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo in front of him.

"Come up here and continue the work that Willie's been doing," Daniels said. "There may be some at-bats, but it won't be regular at-bats for him, as we're constructed right now. Right now, we've got somebody that sits on a regular basis. It won't be regular at-bats for him as of today. An injury could change that."

Daniels said there were others who received consideration. Among those passed over were pitchers Jonathan Hernandez, Chris Rowley and Ricardo Rodriguez. All three are on the 40-man roster.

"We talked about a number of guys," Daniels said. "We don't have spots for all of them."

Sampson and Pelham had to be added to the 40-man roster. The Rangers had only one spot open so right-hander Drew Hutchison was taken off and outrighted to Round Rock. That effectively ended his audition for a spot in the Rangers' 2019 rotation.

Rangers beat

• Class A Spokane in the short-season Northwest League was the only Rangers' Minor League team to reach postseason. The Indians won the second half of the North Division to advance to the Northwest League playoffs.

• The Rangers team in the Dominican Summer League is in the finals against the Rays. That best-of-five series is tied 2-2 with the championship game scheduled for Tuesday.

• Left-handed pitcher Joe Palumbo was scratched from Monday's start for Double A Frisco because of fatigue. He will continue his recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in the Instructional League.

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, Hanser Alberto, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Willie Calhoun, Adrian Sampson

Texas trade makes room for flamethrower Sadzeck

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Connor Sadzeck, one of the hardest-throwing pitchers ever produced by the Rangers farm system, is finally coming to the big leagues.

Sadzeck, who stands 6-feet-7 and can hit 100-plus mph with his fastball, was called up to the big leagues on Friday when Cory Gearrin was traded to the Athletics.

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ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Connor Sadzeck, one of the hardest-throwing pitchers ever produced by the Rangers farm system, is finally coming to the big leagues.

Sadzeck, who stands 6-feet-7 and can hit 100-plus mph with his fastball, was called up to the big leagues on Friday when Cory Gearrin was traded to the Athletics.

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"I'm excited for it, for sure," Sadzeck said. "I'm just looking forward to getting out there and getting the opportunity. I mean, it happens when it's meant to happen, right? Now's my time, and I have to take advantage of the opportunity."

Sadzeck was 5-3 with a 5.21 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 32 games at Triple-A Round Rock. Over 38 innings, he has allowed 36 hits, walked 16 and struck out 43.

"Similar to what we have seen in the past with the big fastball, breaking ball combo, swing and miss is there," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Look forward to getting him out on the field and seeing how the stuff plays out against big league hitters."

What the Rangers have seen in the past has always intrigued them. Sadzeck was an 11th-round pick in 2011 out of Howard (Tex.) College who missed all of 2014 because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

The velocity has always been there, but injuries and erratic command have kept him from advancing as quick as the Rangers had hoped. He was once used as a starter, before being switched to the bullpen last summer. He was on the disabled list from June 22 to Aug. 8 with a strained left oblique muscle and that kept him from being called up earlier this season.

"There has been some intrigue on my part since I saw him for the first time in the (2015) Arizona Fall League," Banister said. "Wiped out three hitters and every pitch was 98 or above with angle. So, I know in the past whether it has been some injuries or the walks -- I know this year in Spring Training didn't go as well as he'd like -- but it's still a big arm. Power plays at this level and he's big and creates angles. Guys like that come in and throw strikes, they can be challenging for hitters."

Colon, DeShields ready to come off disabled list
The Rangers are expected to activate pitcher Bartolo Colon off the disabled list on Saturday. He is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the Twins after being sidelined since Aug. 20 with stiffness in his back.

The Rangers are also expected to activate outfielder Delino DeShields off the disabled list on Saturday. He has been out since Aug. 17 with a fractured tip of his right middle finger.

The Rangers will likely wait until the Minor League season is over before making any more September callups. Triple-A Round Rock pitchers Chris Rowley, Yohander Mendez, Adrian Sampson and Austin Bibens-Dirkx and are all candidates to be called up, but they have one more start each. Double-A Frisco right-hander Jonathan Hernandez is another possibility.

Infielder Hanser Alberto could be added on Tuesday when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. Outfielder Ryan Rua's return is uncertain as he remains on the disabled list with muscle spasms in his back. Outfielder Willie Calhoun will also be called up when Round Rock's season is over.

Rangers beat
• Class A Spokane first baseman Curtis Terry has been selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Northwest League and Double-A Frisco right-handed pitcher Reed Garrett has been selected to the Texas League All-Star team.

Joey Gallo started at first base for the 30th time this season on Friday night to go with his 84 starts in the outfield. It is the fourth time in club history that a player has made at least 30 starts each at first base and the outfield. The others were Larry Bittner (1972), Mike Hargrove (1975) and Brad Wilkerson (2007).

• Gearrin only pitched in 21 games for the Rangers. But his 0.89 WHIP is the eighth lowest ever in one season by a Rangers reliever with at least 20 innings pitched.

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, Connor Sadzeck

Rangers restock in July with 10 acquisitions

Daniels sees faster return to contention via talent development
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- This is going to take some time. Major rebuilding projects have a tendency to be that way, and that's what the Rangers are facing.

The Rangers reinforced the obvious with five deals in July that saw Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman traded away. There was also a trade with the Giants in which the Rangers absorbed the salary of outfielder Austin Jackson -- subsequently released -- to acquire two prospects.

PHOENIX -- This is going to take some time. Major rebuilding projects have a tendency to be that way, and that's what the Rangers are facing.

The Rangers reinforced the obvious with five deals in July that saw Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman traded away. There was also a trade with the Giants in which the Rangers absorbed the salary of outfielder Austin Jackson -- subsequently released -- to acquire two prospects.

In all, the Rangers acquired 10 players, and most of the haul was for the future. Right-handed relievers Cory Gearrin and Eddie Butler are the only ones on the Major League roster. Left-handers Taylor Hearn and Tyler Thomas, and right-handers Wei-Chieh Huang, Rollie Lacy and Jason Bahr will need more development in the Minors. The Rangers are also owed three players to be named, and none are expected to be Major League ready.

Video: Eddie Butler excited to be joining the Rangers

So the question is, how long will this rebuilding take and when will the Rangers be ready to compete again?

"I don't want to put a year on it, because I can't sit here and say 100 percent," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I think the more work we put in to developing young talent in the system, the faster it will come."

The last time the Rangers were at this stage was in 2007, the year that first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay were traded to the Braves for five players, including shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitchers Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz.

The Rangers were 75-87 that year and built up to their first American League pennant in 2010. It was a four-year process, and even then it may have been quicker than anticipated.

"In the previous generation, we were probably in contention a year ahead of what we thought we were going to be," Daniels said. "We were in the mix and were a .500 club in '08, a year after tearing some things down and trading some guys. Year after, we were in the mix in '09 till the end, and obviously won the division in '10. We were ahead of schedule.

"So, I don't know. We're going to put in a lot of work to getting it up and competitive and playing a style of baseball our fans will appreciate and be proud of, as quickly as possible."

So, what's next?

"We've got a lot to do," Daniels said. "There's a lot in the system that we can do, just from an organizational structure standpoint. Taking a look at how do we get better, what programs do we have in place to help our players get better, what programs do we need to put in place to do the same. There's going to be a lot of focus on everybody, all hands on deck, how do we get the talent in this organization to reach their potential and help us win."

The Rangers have a talented group of young position players who are still in the process of establishing themselves as Major Leaguers. Some, like Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor, are farther along than Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and Delino DeShields.

Others, like Carlos Tocci and Ronald Guzman, just got here. So did Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and the Rangers still need to decide if he is going to be a full-time catcher, utility player or potential front-line infielder.

Pitching will be the biggest challenge, as the Rangers try to achieve their elusive goal of developing their staff, especially starters. Right-hander Ariel Jurado, who relies mainly on a power sinker, is here now, and left-hander Yohander Mendez could be back before the end of the year. Hearn, acquired from the Pirates for Kela, is the farthest along among the new pitchers and is at Double-A Frisco, along with Jonathan Hernandez and Brett Martin.

Much of the best young talent is at various levels of Class A, including Hans Crouse, Tyler Phillips and A.J. Alexy. They have been joined by Bahr, Thomas and Lacy. Others are just getting started, including Cole Winn, Owen White, Mason Englert and Yerry Rodriguez.

MLB Pipeline's top 30 Rangers prospects

Much of the talent is in various stages of recovering from Tommy John surgery, including Cole Ragans, Joe Palumbo, Kyle Cody and Alex Speas. Those were major setbacks for the Rangers.

There are others not as highly touted, including Richelson Pena, Wes Benjamin and Edgar Arredondo. They and others have a chance to work their way into the Rangers' future. The need for pitching is great in this organization.

The Rangers went hard after young pitching in the weeks and days leading up to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and they have done a commendable job of replenishing the system. The challenge now is to develop it properly. That, more than anything, will determine how long the rebuilding is going to take and if the Rangers will be successful.

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

Rangers add prospects for Kela, Diekman

MLB.com

PHOENIX -- The Rangers accomplished their goals leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Jon Daniels said.

The mission was to infuse the farm system with as much young talent as possible and the Rangers felt they did that with the five trades they made in July. The trade flurry ended with relievers Keone Kela being traded to the Pirates late Monday night and Jake Diekman going to the D-backs on Tuesday.

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PHOENIX -- The Rangers accomplished their goals leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Jon Daniels said.

The mission was to infuse the farm system with as much young talent as possible and the Rangers felt they did that with the five trades they made in July. The trade flurry ended with relievers Keone Kela being traded to the Pirates late Monday night and Jake Diekman going to the D-backs on Tuesday.

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When it was all over, the Rangers added five young pitchers to their system, two more arms to the Major League bullpen in right-handers Cory Gearrin and Eddie Butler and have three players to be named later to identify. The Rangers are optimistic those three players will have significant value as well.

Video: Jon Daniels discusses trading Keone Kela to Pirates

"We prefer to be on the other side of these deals, but all in all, given what our goals were and the circumstances, we're really happy with it," Daniels said. "Our people did a ton of work, identified some players that we feel fit for us on a variety of levels.

"There were some real quality position players that we tried to get, so it wasn't exclusively pitching by any stretch, but that was a target for us. Really happy with the work that our scouts, our analysts, our front-office group put in to put us in position to do that."

For Kela, the Rangers acquired Double-A left-handed starter Taylor Hearn. He was 3-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 19 starts at Altoona in the Eastern League, while averaging 6.5 hits, 3.3 walks and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. The deal also involved a player to be named.

"Big, physical, intelligent left-hander with really competitive makeup," Daniels said. "Throws three pitches for strikes, two of which we put plus grades on. Breaking ball has improved, can still improve, but there's a lot of pitchers starting in the big leagues with lesser ability."

Hearn picks up his 9th K

The Rangers added a reliever for Diekman, getting right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang and a player to be named from the D-backs. Huang, 24, has split time between Class A Advanced Visalia and Double-A Jackson, appearing in 29 games with a record of 6-2 and a 2.31 ERA. He is averaging 12 strikeouts, 5.7 hits and 3.5 walks per nine innings.

"He's kind of an undersized right-handed pitcher," Daniels said. "He has started in the past -- from Taiwan, really good control, fastball in the low 90s. Good curveball, but his primary out pitch is a split. Gets a ton of swing and miss. He's a guy that our scouts have always liked, back to his days as an amateur."

Hearn, 23, and Huang go into a farm system that added Class A right-hander Jason Bahr from the Giants, and left-hander Tyler Thomas and right-hander Rollie Lacy in trades from the Cubs over the past month.

"There were a few guys that were real target guys for us," Daniels said. "Some guys with really good arms, some guys that really profile as starters. Obviously, we're in better position today, long term, than we were yesterday, and that was the goal."

In the short-term, the Rangers will have to rework their bullpen with the departure of Diekman and Kela. Right-hander Chris Martin was activated off the disabled and left-hander Jeffrey Spring was called up from Triple A Round Rock.

Tweet from @Rangers: Thank you, Keone. Best of luck in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/QaBhLmIKhH

The Rangers have not identified their closer. Right-hander Jose Leclerc has been the Rangers' best reliever this season but has no experience at closing. Left-hander Alex Claudio did it last year before moving back to middle relief, and Martin was used as a closer two years ago in Japan. Gearrin is another possibility, manager Jeff Banister said.

"I am not going to name a closer," Banister said. "We've got guys who can close a game out. I'm sure there will be talk about Leclerc but Claudio has closed games out, Chris Martin is experienced in closing games out. I don't think it's advantageous to name one at this point."

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, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela

OF Taveras heads new Top 30 Prospects list

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- With Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, the Rangers will likely be looking to bolster their farm system as they enter a rebuilding mode.

There are four Rangers prospects currently listed in MLB Pipeline's updated Top 100 prospects list, which was released Thursday.

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ARLINGTON -- With Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, the Rangers will likely be looking to bolster their farm system as they enter a rebuilding mode.

There are four Rangers prospects currently listed in MLB Pipeline's updated Top 100 prospects list, which was released Thursday.

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Outfielder Leody Taveras, the top-ranked prospect in Texas' system, is No. 43 in the Top 100. Taveras, who signed with the Rangers out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2015, is a switch-hitter with a plus bat and speed. Scouts love how he utilizes his speed in center field, noting that he gets good reads and jumps.

The other Texas prospects that landed in the Top 100 are outfielders Willie Calhoun (No. 49) and Julio Pablo Martinez (No. 62), and right-handed pitcher Cole Winn (No. 99). The Rangers are counting on this group for a big league turnaround.

The Rangers will especially be looking to develop big league pitching. Their 4.89 team ERA entering Thursday was third worst in the Majors.

Winn, Texas' top-ranked pitching prospect, was the 15th overall pick in the 2018 Draft. His fastball ranges from 92-95 mph and tops out at 97 mph, and he has a plus 12-6 curveball.

Right-hander Hans Crouse has impressed for Class A Short-Season Spokane. He struck out a season-high 12 batters in seven innings against Tri-City on Wednesday. Crouse is the Rangers' No. 5 prospect.

Righty Tyler Phillips made the biggest jump into the club's Top 30. He is now the No. 13 prospect after previously being unranked. Phillips' fastball ranges from 90-94 mph, and scouts have said his 6-foot-5 frame helps him create a downhill plane and induce groundouts. His curveball and changeup are becoming plus pitches, but lack consistency.

Martin throws bullpen session
Rangers right-handed reliever Chris Martin threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Thursday, and the next step for him will be a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.

Martin has been on the disabled list with a strained left groin since July 5. He's 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 28 games this season. The bullpen has struggled in Martin's absence. Entering Thursday, Texas relievers had allowed 38 runs in the six games since the All-Star break.

"It's baseball," Martin said. "It's hard being on the DL and not being able to contribute. I think that's the hardest part, but it's part of the game. You gotta stay a professional and get healthy and get back out there. If you rush, come back and get hurt again, that's not what you want."

Rangers beat
Manager Jeff Banister gave Keone Kela another day of rest Thursday. Kela threw a career-high 40 pitches and suffered his first blown save of the season in Tuesday's 13-10 loss to the A's.

The Rangers' 6-5 loss to the A's on Wednesday was their second straight loss when leading by four or more runs at some point. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Rangers have lost consecutive games when leading in the ninth inning or later since 2000.

Texas batters have hit at least one home run in seven straight games, going into Thursday. That is the second longest span by the club this season. The Rangers hit a home run in 13 straight from April 27-May 9.

Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

Texas Rangers

Texas gets prospect Bahr, 2 MLB pieces from SF

Rangers to send player to be named or cash to Giants; Jackson, Gearrin also in deal
MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Rangers announced Sunday that they have acquired outfielder Austin Jackson and right-handed pitchers Cory Gearrin and Jason Bahr from the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named or cash considerations.

General manager Jon Daniels made it clear that Bahr was the central target in the move. Bahr is being assigned to the Rangers' Class A Advanced affiliate Down East Wood Ducks.

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DETROIT -- The Rangers announced Sunday that they have acquired outfielder Austin Jackson and right-handed pitchers Cory Gearrin and Jason Bahr from the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named or cash considerations.

General manager Jon Daniels made it clear that Bahr was the central target in the move. Bahr is being assigned to the Rangers' Class A Advanced affiliate Down East Wood Ducks.

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"Our primary motivation in the deal was acquiring Bahr," Daniels said. "He's a guy we look at as maybe a little bit of an undervalued prospect."

Daniels said Bahr's progression to this point would have made him tougher to trade for next season. Now in his second Minor League season as a starter, Bahr has a 2.83 ERA in 117 1/3 innings pitched. He has struck out 139 batters and walked 34.

"We look forward to him moving up in our system and being an option for us down the line," Daniels said.

The Rangers are camping at the bottom of the AL West and will continue to be the subject of trade speculation with the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching. That's why a pitcher reporting to Class A Advanced was the centerpiece in a trade that involves two current Major Leaguers. The Rangers have essentially purchased a prospect, Daniels agreed, by taking on the salaries of Jackson and Gearrin.

"There is an element to that, for sure, where our willingness to take on a salary allowed us to acquire Bahr," Daniels said.

Daniels added that the Rangers have told Jackson that there isn't a lot of playing time waiting for him in the outfield. Jackson can play all three spots, so Daniels said the Rangers may decide to keep him as an extra glove, or they may try to flip him in a secondary trade. There is no set date for Jackson to report.

Jackson batted .242 with 13 RBIs in 59 games for the Giants this season. He made 35 starts in center field and one in right. The 31-year-old veteran has played in 1,058 games for six teams in nine Major League seasons.

Gearrin will join the Rangers on Monday in Boston for the start of a three-game series against the Red Sox.

"He fits well within our pen," Daniels said. "Especially with some of our injuries."

Gearrin made 35 relief appearances this season for the Giants, posting a 1-1 record and 4.20 ERA. The 32-year-old is especially effective against right-handed hitters, whom he's held to a .220 average in seven Major League seasons. He has allowed just 0.7 home runs per nine innings.

To make room for Jackson and Gearrin on the 40-man roster, the Rangers transferred pitchers Tony Barnette and Matt Bush from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. The Rangers will announce corresponding moves on the 25-man roster when players report.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Texas Rangers, Cory Gearrin, Austin Jackson

Perez nearing return, to throw 'pen on Saturday

Lefty has been on DL since March 26; Pelham, Taveras picked for Futures Game
MLB.com

DETROIT -- Manager Jeff Banister wouldn't commit to a timetable for the return of Martin Perez to the starting rotation, but both he and Perez sounded optimistic Friday before the Rangers' game against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Perez made his third rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock, throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball and striking out six. He threw 87 pitches and 58 strikes. Perez has a 0.52 ERA through those three starts.

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DETROIT -- Manager Jeff Banister wouldn't commit to a timetable for the return of Martin Perez to the starting rotation, but both he and Perez sounded optimistic Friday before the Rangers' game against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Perez made his third rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock, throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball and striking out six. He threw 87 pitches and 58 strikes. Perez has a 0.52 ERA through those three starts.

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"The report was that his stuff was good," Banister said. "It was sharp. The changeup played well for him. His sinker was there."

Perez has been on the disabled list since March 26, after experiencing a nerve issue as a side effect of offseason surgery to repair his fractured in his right (non-throwing) elbow.

Perez was in Detroit on Friday and told reporters that he was told it could take up to 12 months for his elbow to feel normal again.

"But now I feel good," Perez said. "It'll be sore for a couple days, but not painful how it was before. I don't feel that anymore."

As he goes through his normal throwing program, the next step for Perez will be throwing a bullpen session on Saturday.

"We need for him to be able to defend himself," Banister said. "The buildup has been good for him at this point."

Pelham, Traveras selected to Futures Game
Pitcher C.D. Pelham and outfielder Leody Taveras were selected to the All-Star Futures Game, which features the Minor Leagues' top prospects.

Banister had especially high praise for Pelham, a left-handed reliever, who was drafted by the Rangers in the 33rd round of the 2015 Draft.

"I'll tell you what, you can dream on him," Banister said. "The body, all of it. It works well."

The 6-foot-6 Pelham has spent most of this season pitching for the Rangers' Class A Advanced Down East Wood Ducks in the Carolina League, but was promoted in late June to Double-A Frisco. He has a 2.30 ERA in 28 appearances between the two teams and is 11-for-11 in save opportunities.

Banister said he saw Pelham pitch in the spring and compared him to former Major League pitcher Dave Stewart.

"He didn't say a word," Banister said. "Just took the baseball and let loose."

Pelham, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Rangers' No. 19 prospect, will be representing the U.S. Team.

• Top 30 Rangers prospects

Taveras, representing the World Team, is the top-ranked Rangers prospect. He has been playing this season with Down East, hitting .245 in 306 at-bats with 29 RBIs.

Video: Top Prospects: Leodys Taveras, OF, Rangers

MLB.com will live stream and MLB Network will exclusively televise the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at 4 p.m. ET, with Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, Lauren Shehadi and Jim Callis calling the contest live from Nationals Park. The game will also be available to SiriusXM subscribers.

Gallo scratched with eye issue
Joey Gallo was scratched from the Rangers' lineup Thursday with a left eye contusion. Gallo collided with Delino DeShields in the outfield during batting practice before the game and had blurred vision, according to the Rangers. Ryan Rua made the start in left field.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Texas Rangers, Joey Gallo, Martin Perez

Rangers' int'l haul includes Acuna's brother

Texas reaches deal with Venezuelan catcher Rodriguez
MLB.com

The Rangers have been a force on the global scene for decades and are once again making their mark as Monday's international signing period begins, coming to terms with one of the top catching prospects in the class and an infielder with one of the game's most familiar last names.

The Rangers have been a force on the global scene for decades and are once again making their mark as Monday's international signing period begins, coming to terms with one of the top catching prospects in the class and an infielder with one of the game's most familiar last names.

:: 2018 International Signing Period ::

According to industry sources, the Rangers have agreed to a $2 million deal with catcher Jose Rodriguez of Venezuela, ranked No. 21 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list and shortstop Luisangel Acuna, the younger brother of Atlanta phenom Ronald Acuna Jr., for $425,000.

The Rangers did not confirm the deals.

When considering Rodriguez, picture a young Brian McCann. Rodriguez could be the most advanced hitter from Venezuela in this year's class and he continues to improve on both sides of the ball. The teenager has all of the ingredients to become an average catcher in the future.

As for Acuna, he might end up at second base because of his size and overall skill set. He is best known for offense and he has the potential to be an average-or-better hitter. He could also develop into a decent runner with proper instruction. Luisangel's older brother, Ronald Jr., signed with the Braves in 2014 for $100,000, and their father, Ronald Acuna Sr., signed with the Mets for $15,000 in 1997.

Video: Top International Prospects: Jose Rodriguez, C

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft received $5,504,500. All other clubs, including the Rangers, received $4,983,500.

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Texas Rangers

Mendez optioned following team rules violation

Bibens-Dirkx recalled, will start in place of Rangers' No. 7 prospect Wednesday
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers have pulled rookie left-hander Yohander Mendez from Wednesday's start against the Royals and optioned him to Triple-A Round Rock after it was determined he violated team rules.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx has been recalled from Round Rock and will start on Wednesday.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers have pulled rookie left-hander Yohander Mendez from Wednesday's start against the Royals and optioned him to Triple-A Round Rock after it was determined he violated team rules.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx has been recalled from Round Rock and will start on Wednesday.

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The Rangers did not specify what Mendez did to warrant being disciplined, but it took place Monday night after their 6-3 victory over the Royals and did not happen at Kauffman Stadium. General manager Jon Daniels said Mendez's actions were not serious enough to involve either the police or Major League Baseball but could be addressed internally.

"Part of it is where we are in the development of the club and comes from holding a certain level of standards for veterans and young players alike," Daniels said. "Part of the development of young players is on the maturity side as well. That's kind of where this one falls."

Daniels said other players were involved at a certain level. He did not specify who the players were, but second baseman Rougned Odor was scratched from Tuesday's lineup. Odor was originally supposed to play second with Jurickson Profar starting at third. But Profar was moved to second and Isiah Kiner-Falefa started at third base, with Adrian Beltre at designated hitter.

"I felt like it was a situation with Kiner-Falefa playing third base and Profar at second," manager Jeff Banister said. "The rest of it … I don't have any further comment."

Joey Gallo was also not in the lineup, but Banister made it clear that Tuesday was a regularly scheduled day off for Gallo with nothing else to it.

Mendez was called up last Friday to start against the Rockies. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 7 prospect in the Rangers' farm system, and the plan was to give him an extended look in the Major League rotation. That was still the plan after he allowed six runs in three-plus innings against the Rockies.

Video: COL@TEX: Mendez freezes Arenado for first K of 2018

But the plan has been put on hold for now. The Rangers were disappointed that Mendez's postgame activities on Monday were not representative of a pitcher who should have been getting ready to start on Wednesday.

"There are steps for every player to take as far as commitment and focus," Banister said. "Both who you are as an individual player and being a team player is part of it. We all learn lessons and don't always get it right. It's part of the process. There are things that happen, but we need to continue to put the team first. There are standards we want to abide by. We want to make sure those standards are held in high regard. That doesn't mean mistakes won't be made."

The Rangers have not placed a timetable on Mendez's return. Daniels said they will have additional conversations with Mendez and put him on a program to follow.

The Rangers followed a similar plan with reliever Keone Kela at the beginning of last season. He clashed with teammates over a perceived lack of effort in a B game at the end of Spring Training, and he was unexpectedly optioned to Round Rock. Kela was there for the first 2 1/2 weeks of the season before being brought back to the big leagues after taking the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

McGuire dealt to Angels
• The Rangers traded pitcher Deck McGuire to the Angels for cash considerations after he was designated for assignment on Monday. He was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on Friday and he appeared in just one game at Round Rock.

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, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Yohander Mendez

Rangers clear way for Mendez, option Alberto

Texas signs 14 Draft picks, including three from first 10 rounds
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have optioned infielder Hanser Alberto to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for pitcher Yohander Mendez, the team's No. 7 prospect who is scheduled to start Friday against the Rockies.

Alberto has been up twice with the Rangers this season and has played in five games. He is 1-for-11 at the plate. His departure leaves the Rangers with a three-man bench again, with utility infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa, backup catcher Carlos Perez and reserve outfielder Carlos Tocci.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have optioned infielder Hanser Alberto to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for pitcher Yohander Mendez, the team's No. 7 prospect who is scheduled to start Friday against the Rockies.

Alberto has been up twice with the Rangers this season and has played in five games. He is 1-for-11 at the plate. His departure leaves the Rangers with a three-man bench again, with utility infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa, backup catcher Carlos Perez and reserve outfielder Carlos Tocci.

The Rangers are expected to get shortstop Elvis Andrus back off the disabled list either this weekend or possibly Monday at Kansas City. He is 1-for-10 in his first three rehab assignment games at Double-A Frisco and has been sidelined since April 11 with a fractured right elbow.

Rangers sign Draft picks

The Rangers have signed 14 more Draft picks, including three from their top 10: right-handed pitcher Sean Chandler from Iowa Western College (sixth round), right-handed pitcher Tim Brennan from St. Joseph's University (seventh) and Chandler Sanburn from Wichita State (ninth).

Also signed were right-handed pitcher Billy Layne Jr. from Seton Hall (11th round), shortstop Kenen Irizarry out of Aurea E. Quiles High in Puerto Rico (13th), catcher Scott Kapers from Valparaiso (17th), shortstop Frainyer Chavez from Midland College (22nd), outfielder Troy Dixon from Samford University (24th), right-handed pitcher David Lebron from the University of Tampa (26th), right-handed pitcher Glen Richardson from Sinclair (Ohio) College (29th), catcher Reynaldo Pichardo from Dawson (Mont.) College (33rd), right-handed pitcher Noah Burkholder from Waubonsee (Ill.) Community College (34th), shortstop Tyler Depreta-Johnson from Houston Baptist University (35th) and right-handed pitcher Cole Uvila from Geogia Gwinnett College (40th).

The Rangers have now signed 19 of 40 Draft picks and have assigned them to extended spring camp in Arizona.

The Rangers also signed three undrafted free agents: left-handed pitcher Braden Pearson from Texas State University, right-handed pitcher Zach Reeg from Augustana (Ill.) College and left-handed pitcher Erne Valdes from St. Thomas (Fla.) University. All three players have reported to Arizona.

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, Hanser Alberto, Yohander Mendez