Feldman headed to Rangers' bullpen
Benson grabs final rotation spot; Guardado, Jennings make team
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have a pitching staff and it will include Scott Feldman as a reliever instead of being in the rotation.Rangers manager Ron Washington and others met with Feldman on Wednesday and informed him that he was moving to the bullpen. That makes room for Kris Benson, who will join Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy and Matt Harrison in the starting rotation.
"Benson did a good enough job in the spring to be in our rotation," Washington said. "Feldman makes us a better team in the bullpen. He goes down there with better stuff than he had before."Feldman was 6-8 with a 5.29 ERA in 28 games, including 25 starts, for the Rangers last year and came to camp expecting to be a starter. But the Rangers' middle relief became a concern as the camp progressed. Brendan Donnelly was released and Derrick Turnbow was asked to go to Triple-A Oklahoma. Dustin Nippert (back) and Willie Eyre (groin) have been told they are going to start the season on the disabled list. The Rangers decided to address the situation by moving both Feldman and Jason Jennings to the bullpen. Benson made the situation easier by going 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA in five games this spring while holding opponents to a .238 batting average. He also averaged 1.6 walks per nine innings. "From what we had to choose from and the competition that was there, we're leaving with the best 12 that we've got," Washington said. Jennings and Feldman join a bullpen that already includes closer Frank Francisco, left-handers C.J. Wilson and Eddie Guardado and right-handers Warner Madrigal and Josh Rupe. Guardado and Jennings, both in camp on Minor League contracts, were formally told on Wednesday they were on the team. Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz were reassigned to Minor League camp and will join the Triple-A Oklahoma City rotation. They were in camp right down to the end but there was never a chance of them making the team. "I got to see their stuff and it was very good," Washington said. "Both have good fastballs and good changeups. They need to working on their breaking ball. Holland has no problems with his command. Sometimes Feliz has problems with his command but it got better when he stopped trying to overthrow the ball. All they need is experience." Doug Mathis, who started against the Angels, and Tommy Hunter, who has been sidelined for most of Spring Training with a strained groin muscle, are also being sent down to the Minor Leagues. Benson is likely to be the third starter behind Millwood and Padilla. His first start for the Rangers will likely be on April 9 against the Indians at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He would be followed by McCarthy and Harrison. Feldman will start Thursday against the Royals in the final game in Arizona, Benson will go Friday against the Royals in Frisco and McCarthy will pitch the final exhibition game on Saturday against the Royals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Harrison will pitch in a Minor League game on Sunday in Arizona and then join the Rangers for Opening Day on Monday in Arlington.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.