As of Wednesday, the Rangers’ pitching staff is set.
Rangers’ coaches met with Scott Feldman on Wednesday morning to inform him that he would begin the year in the Rangers’ bullpen. Kris Benson, who also met with coaches on Wednesday, will join Texas’ starting rotation.
Coaches believe that Feldman and Jason Jennings, who earned a bullpen spot earlier in the week, will address the issue of durability in the bullpen; both pitchers have extensive experience as starters. Feldman, who made 25 starts for the team last year (including a memorable outing at Yankee Stadium), will get the start against the Royals on Thursday.
Jennings won the spot after putting to rest numerous concerns about his health by throwing effectively in back-to-back games this week. The 30-year-old underwent surgery last May to repair a torn flexor tendon.
Benson entered camp a strong favorite for the rotation, but was moved to the bullpen when coaches grew concerned with the middle relief situation. Namely, injuries have sidelined Dustin Nippert and Willie Eyre. Former all-star Derrick Turnbow is headed to triple-A Oklahoma after posting an 8.10 ERA while battling a sore knee this spring.
As it stands, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Harrison and Benson comprise Texas’ starting rotation. Jennings and Feldman will join C.J. Wilson, Eddie Guardado, Warner Madrigal, Josh Rupe and Frank Francisco in the bullpen.
With the moves on Wednesday, one spot remains on the Rangers’ 25-man roster. It appears that the spot on the bench will be filled by either Andruw Jones or Frank Catalanotto.