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Griffin Earns Inside Track to 5th Starter Temp Job

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So, after all is said and done in Surprise, the Rangers might bridge the gap to the return of a pitcher from Tommy John surgery with a pitcher, um, himself returning from Tommy John surgery?

With Monday’s release of veteran Jeremy Guthrie’s and last weekend’s optioning of Chi Chi Gonzalez to Triple-A, they seemed to have cleared a path to the 5th starter’s job to A.J. Griffin. But it’s a curvy path indeed.

Griffin, who underwent arm surgery and last pitched in the Majors in 2013, has in the inside track on being the team’s 5th starter until ace Yu Darvish returns from the same surgery in May.

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Griffin has a 4.40 ERA this spring and is set to start this afternoon in his bid to nab the temp job from Nick Martinez and Phil Klein.

The job won’t start right away, and it doesn’t include much security.

Since Griffin is on a Minor League contract in Surprise, the Rangers might not include him on the Opening Day roster, instead holding off on adding him to the 40-man roster until his spot is needed. They open with games on 14 straight days, so his wait won’t be too long.

But, if all goes according to plan, Darvish will return in May and Griffin’s role will be reduced to perhaps a long reliever out of the bullpen.

It’s a good sign, of course, that the Rangers’ most heated competition of the Spring is for a job that should play a minimal – at most –factor in their overall season.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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