ARLINGTON (AP) – Right-hander Scott Baker is ready to do whatever the Texas Rangers need him to do two years after Tommy John surgery.
The Rangers need some relief.
“Long guy, give us some length in the bullpen,” manager Ron Washington said Wednesday after the Rangers selected Baker’s contact from Triple-A Round Rock. “Just trying to get the bullpen straightened out.”
Baker has pitched out of the bullpen in only four of his 166 career games, most with the Minnesota Twins from 2005-11 before the ligament replacement surgery in April 2012.
“Injuries happen. It wasn’t because of lack of effort. It really makes it special, once you’ve endured something that has obviously taken so long,” Baker said. “Physically, I feel as good as I ever have.”
In six starts for Round Rock, Baker was 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA and went at least six innings each start. Wednesday was his scheduled day to start for the Express.
Baker was 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA in 159 games and four relief appearances for Minnesota from 2005-11. In three starts last September for the Chicago Cubs, Baker was 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings.
“I really feel like I know what I’m capable of doing, and it’s all about execution,” he said. “Good pitches can get hitters out. And, as of late, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Texas was home Wednesday night against the Rockies, after losing twice by a combined scoring of 20-3 the previous two nights in Colorado. The Rangers needed four relievers in each of those games at Coors Field, even using designated hitter/first baseman Mitch Moreland for a scoreless inning Tuesday night.
Baker spent most of spring training as a non-roster invitee with Seattle before signing a minor league deal with Texas on March 28. The native of Shreveport, La. could have opted out of his Rangers deal last week, but remained at Triple-A Round Rock.
“This was a very ideal situation if it were to happen,” Baker said. “It made no sense to me a week ago, even though there wasn’t a major league opportunity, to go somewhere else. Obviously thankful that I didn’t. It was a family decision, and obviously a good decision.”
To make room on the active roster, the Rangers optioned outfielder Daniel Robertson to Round Rock. Left-hander Pedro Figueroa was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day list to make room on the 40-man roster.
Robertson batted .182 (2 for 11) in his six games with Texas since being acquired in a minor league trade from San Diego on April 23.
Figueroa, who got his first two major league wins in consecutive games last month, had Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repaired April 30.
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