Notes: Guardado close to signing
Veteran reliever will likely compete in crowded bullpen
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers could have a deal finalized with free agent reliever Eddie Guardado by the end of the week, his agent said Tuesday."There are just a few things we need to work out," Kevin Kohler said by phone. "I feel comfortable that we'll be able to get it done and have something worked out by the end of the week." Guardado, 37, is a left-hander with 15 years in the big leagues and 183 career saves who is expected to compete with C.J. Wilson, Joaquin Benoit and possibly Kazuo Fukumori for the closer's job. Guardado pitched in 15 games for the Reds last year after coming back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and had a 7.24 ERA. But he finished strong, allowing just one run in his last 9 2/3 innings. He had 140 saves in 2002-05 while pitching for the Twins and Mariners. Kohler said Guardado stopped throwing at the end of the season but picked up right after Christmas and should be ready to go in Spring Training. "He's on his regular throwing program that he's always done," Kohler said. The Rangers are also still trying to add depth to their starting rotation and appear to be focused on four free agent possibilities: right-hander Jason Jennings and Bartolo Colon and left-handers Mike Maroth and Mark Hendrickson. Colon won the American League Cy Young Award in 2005, but is 7-13 with a 5.90 ERA in 29 games over the past two seasons while dealing with a torn rotator cuff. Jennings, a former National League Rookie of the Year winner with the Rockies, was 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 19 games for the Astros last season while going on the disabled list twice because of an elbow injury. Maroth was a 14-game winner for the Tigers in 2005, but has also had elbow problems the past two years while going 10-9 with a 6.04 ERA in 40 games, including 29 starts. Hendrickson was 4-8 with a 5.21 ERA for the Dodgers last season, going 3-7 with a 6.13 ERA in 15 starts and 1-1 with a 3.69 ERA in 24 relief appearances. Of the four the Rangers are looking at, he offers the option of being able to pitch in relief. Rangers represented in Hall: Rich Gossage will be the fourth Hall of Famer to ever play for the Rangers when he is inducted into Cooperstown in July. Gossage, elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, pitched for the Rangers in 1991 and was 4-2 with a 3.57 ERA and one save. He was used mainly as a setup reliever for Jeff Russell. Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry and Ferguson Jenkins also pitched for the Rangers before going into the Hall of Fame. Ryan is the only one of the four who went in wearing the Rangers cap on his plaque.
Two other Hall of Famers did wear Rangers uniform. Ted Williams was their first manager and one of his coaches was Hall of Fame second baseman Nelson Fox.Caravan heads to Oklahoma: Oklahoma RedHawks fans will get a preview of the upcoming 2008 season on Friday, Jan. 11 when Texas Rangers players Kameron Loe and David Murphy visit Oklahoma City during the annual Texas Rangers Caravan.
Also attending are Vice-President Jim Sundberg, broadcaster Victor Rojas and former Rangers Mickey Tettleton and RedHawks longtime skipper, Bobby Jones.The Caravan is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. at Coach's Restaurant, located next to the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. Dinner and beverages will be served. As an added benefit, RedHawks season ticket holders are invited to attend as guests of the team. Tickets are available to the public for $50 per person. All planning to attend are asked to call Kristen Packnett at the RedHawks' office, 405-218-1000 ext. 302, to RSVP. On Saturday the group will visit Fort Sill and also be available at Academy Sports and Outdoors from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at 7700 South Walker in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is the first of five stops the Rangers will make on their winter caravan. The Rangers go to Waco on Jan. 14, Wichita Falls on Jan. 15, Tyler on Jan. 17 and Abilene on Jan. 22. The Rangers will also have four Town Hall meetings around the Metroplex as well the Sluggers of the West Awards Dinner on Friday night Jan. 25 at Eddie Deen's Ranch in Dallas and the FanFest on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Eric Nadel will kick off the Rangers' winter activities with Happy Hour from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10 at Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill at 3227 McKinney Ave., in Dallas.
Briefly: In addition to Guardado, the Rangers are expected to officially add Fukumori to the 40-man roster this week. That will require them to make two roster moves to take two players off. ... Manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels are scheduled to be in Lafayette La., on Thursday as guests of Rangers scout Mel Didier for a banquet benefiting the Louisiana Housing Authority.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.