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12/09/12 4:50 PM ET
Lindblom, Bonilla bring power arms to Rangers
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers did not give away Michael Young to the Phillies. They are picking up $10.5 million of his salary and they are splitting the $1.2 assignment fee being paid to Young.
But they were able to get two quality right-handed pitchers in a trade that was approved by Major League Baseball on Sunday. Reliever Josh Lindblom should be a part of their bullpen this season and Minor League prospect Lisalverto Bonilla adds to their collection of strong arms in their farm system.
"Lindblom is 90-94 [mph] with a good slider, and our scouts like the way his stuff plays in the bullpen," Rangers scouting director Josh Boyd said. "Bonilla has a live arm we've seen in the low-to-mid 90s range with good feel for his changeup."
Lindblom is a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Purdue University who was taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He was the 61st overall pick in a draft in which the Rangers took Robbie Ross with the 57th pick. Another Rangers reliever, Tanner Scheppers, was selected in that same round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now all three could be in the Rangers' bullpen on Opening Day.
Lindblom made his debut with the Dodgers on June 1, 2011 and was 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in 27 games while averaging 6.4 hits, 3.0 walks and 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings the rest of the season. This past season, he pitched in 48 games for the Dodgers and was 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA while averaging 7.9 hits, 3.4 walks and 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
He was one of three players sent by the Dodgers to the Phillies on July 31 in exchange for outfielder Shane Victorino. He was 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 26 games for the Phillies. He allowed 7.3 hits per nine innings, but the other two numbers jumped. He allowed 6.6 walks and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
He did allow 13 home runs in 71 combined innings with both teams. His 1.65 home runs per nine innings was the ninth highest among all Major League pitchers with at least 70 innings pitched.
"Lindblom was one of the guys who was very important for us when we traded Shane Victorino," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said. "Lindblom was a guy who's been a very durable guy. I think just by virtue of the fact that we didn't have an eighth-inning guy, we put him in a position to pitch in the eighth. He may very well do that very proficiently at some point, but he's probably not ready to do that quite yet.
"He's probably more comfortable in the sixth and seventh inning. That may be his bailiwick. That may change moving forward. But we had to put him in a position he probably, frankly, wasn't ready for. He had a tough time of it at times. But he's a very good pitcher. He's a very, very professional guy. Great make-up guy. They'll like him."
Bonilla, 22, was an amateur free agent signed out of the Dominican Republic in December 2008, who split time between Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading this past season. He was used exclusively as a reliever and went 3-2 with a 1.55 ERA in 31 combined games while averaging 6.0 hits, 4.1 walks and 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Opponents hit .191 off him.
"As far as Bonilla goes, he has a tremendous arm," Amaro said. "He's still a little raw. Great fast-changeup combination. He's going to be a big league pitcher, and an effective one."
Bonilla, who stands at 6-foot-1, was selected to the All-Star Futures Game, but suffered a thumb injury the night before. The thumb required surgery and Bonilla did not pitch again the rest of the season. He is currently pitching for Escogidio in the Dominican Summer League and is 1-4 with a 6.59 ERA along with two saves in 16 games.
"I don't think it's anything that's going to be a long-term issue for him," Amaro said. "He's throwing in the Dominican again. He's got a great arm. There's no question he's going to be an effective big league pitcher. No question. Again, we feel like that's one of the areas we're dealing from a position of strength, and so we felt like we were comfortable enough that, to get this type of everyday player, this was the right thing for us."
Bonilla has pitched both as a starter and a reliever in the Minor Leagues. Boyd said the Rangers will most likely use him as a reliever. He was the Phillies' 15th ranked prospect by MLB.com.