Day 6 in the Sonora Desert…Kris Benson
Pitching watch: The Rangers are expected to sign pitcher Kris Benson to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, possibly this weekend. He recently threw for the Rangers and showed enough to be offered a contract.
Benson hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2006 when he was 11-12 with a 4.82 ERA for the Orioles. He missed all of 2007 with a torn rotator cuff and was 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA in 11 starts for the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2008.
Benson, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Pirates in 1996, is 68-73 with a 4.34 ERA in 195 careers starts with Pittsburgh, the Mets and the Orioles. He won a career-high 12 games with the Pirates and Mets in 2004.
He would give the Rangers some experience and depth in their starting rotation, similar to what happened last year when they signed Sidney Ponson and John Patterson in Spring Training.
Contract watch: The Rangers also announced on Friday they had signed 16 players to one-year contracts: pitchers John Bannister, Scott Feldman, Kason Gabbard, Matt Harrison, Tommy Hunter, Luis Mendoza, Dustin Nippert, Omar Poveda and Josh Rupe, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, infielders Jose Vallejo and Joaquin Arias and outfielders Brandon Boggs, Greg Golson, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. All are in the $400,000 to $435,000 range.
Lesson of the Day: The Rangers went through some baserunning drills under the guidance of first base coach Gary Pettis and Minor League instructor Wayne Kirby. Better baserunning is a priority under manager Ron Washington.
“We’re getting there,” Washington said. “We were better last year than the year before and we’ll be better this year. I want us to go from first to third better this year and read pitches in the dirt better this year. We’re going to get better.”
He said it
“He’s got that look of the tiger in his eye. He wants to be the man.”
Manager Ron Washington on reliever Frank Francisco.