Rangers Tweaking Roster at Dusk of 2015 With More Banister Connections

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The Rangers’ New Year’s Resolution? Apparently to add only new players with old ties.

Texas on Wednesday signed two free agents with a history with manager Jeff Banister – left-handed pitcher Donnie Veal and catcher Michael McKenry. The catcher will be invited to Spring Training while Veal will likely report to the team’s minor-league camp.

McKenry will arrive in Surprise to compete with Chris Gimenez and Bobby Wilson to be Robinson Chirinos’ backup. He’ll also show up with a comfort level, having started 91 games with the Pirates in 2012-13 when Banister was the team’s bench coach.

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He spent the last two seasons as a backup with the Rockies, hitting only .205 in 2015 while being slowed by a knee injury.

While McKenry’s addition is a sign the Rangers still aren’t confident in their stable of catchers, Veal brings a lively arm but a history of control problems into his candidacy for a bullpen spot. He also played before for Banister, in the Pirates’ organization from 2009-11.

Last year Veal made 12 appearances with the Braves and White Sox, walking nine and allowing 12 runs in only 10.1 innings.

The Rangers’ search to be better in 2016 continues right up until the wee hours of 2015.

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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