Asked for a quick scouting report on the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker noted how well the Rangers’ bullpen has been pitching of late and that the bullpen has an abundance of left-handers.
That was still the case Saturday, but the lack of right-handers became an issue the Rangers could no longer ignore.
They purchased the minor-league contract of right-hander Hunter Wood from Triple A Round Rock and optioned lefty Wes Benjamin to Triple A after he allowed three runs Friday over 1 2/3 innings in a spot start.
Manager Chris Woodward said that the Rangers needed a second right-handed set-up man to go with Josh Sborz.
A third, Demarcus Evans, could join the Rangers as soon as next week.
“D-Train’s been throwing the ball pretty well. I think it was just Hunter Wood was next in line for a lot of us,” Woodward said. “I don’t see it being too much longer.”
Woodward said the Rangers discussed bringing up Wood and Evans on Saturday, but opted to give Evans a few more appearances with Round Rock. The Astros are heavy on right-handed hitters, as are the Rangers’ next opponent, the New York Yankees.
Evans made his MLB debut late last season, allowing one run in four innings, after spending time at the alternate training site fine-tuning his curveball and working on the mental side of the game.
Evans dominated in the minor leagues in 2018 and 2019, and was named the top reliever in the minors in 2019 by Baseball America. His chances at the Opening Day roster were dashed by a lat injury that caused him to miss spring training.
Wood hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2019, but impressed in spring training and at the alternate training camp last month. He traveled with the Rangers as a member of the taxi squad before Round Rock opened its season May 6.