AUSTIN (AP) – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has Nolan Ryan in his bullpen as he announces he’s forming an exploratory committee for a run for lieutenant governor in 2014.

Staples, a Republican, said in a news release Thursday that the Hall of Fame pitcher and Texas Rangers team president will be his statewide campaign chairman.

Ryan, who starred for the Rangers and Houston Astros in the 1980s and ’90s, calls Staples “a clutch conservative leader who bats right and who will throw out government intrusion.”

Staples is a former businessman and rancher from Palestine. He has also served in the Texas legislature as a state representative and state senator.