The Rangers have made yet another move to bolster their bullpen, purchasing the contract of 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Preston Claiborne from AAA Round Rock and placing Jeremy Jeffress on the 10-day DL. Claiborne, who has not pitched in the big leagues since 2014 with the Yankees, is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA and 13 saves as the Round Rock closer this season.
“Not an overpowering fastball, (but) a good fastball,” Banister said of Claiborne’s repertoire, adding that he has “the ability to move the ball around; similar to Bibens-Dirkx.” Banister says he expects that Claiborne’s role right now will include the ability to go multiple innings.
As for Jeffress, his injury occurred when he was warming up on Tuesday, as he was receiving the ball back from the bullpen catcher. “I turned to my right, and it felt like something grabbed. But I felt okay pitching; my adrenaline was going, so I didn’t feel it as much, but I woke up the next morning, and couldn’t get out of bed.”
Jeffress added that he doesn’t know the timeframe, and Banister reiterated the sentiment.
As for Claiborne, who graduated from nearby Carrollton High School in 2006, he has had a circuitous path back to the big leagues after his time with the Yankees. He was claimed on waivers by the Miami Marlins but never made the big leagues, missing much of the season with a shoulder injury. In 2016, Claiborne pitched in the Giants organization, but again could not crack the big-league club. He signed with the Rangers on February 10th as a minor-league free agent.
"The fact that the Rangers, my hometown team, the team I grew up around saw something in me and were able to sign me, I got to thank Mike Daly, Doug Brocail and Steven Lerud, the guys that saw it in me. Now it’s back to business."
Of note: Steven Lerud is the Rangers' bullpen catcher while Josh Frazier is out tending to family matters. Lerud caught in the Giants organization with Claiborne last season, and Rangers GM Jon Daniels confirmed that Lerud, who had only signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers in January, spoke highly of Claiborne in advance of the team offering the pitcher a contract the following month.
To make room for Claiborne on the 40-man roster, the Rangers have designated Eddie Gamboa for assignment.