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Rangers purchase contract of RHP Baker from Triple-A Round Rock

Rangers purchase contract of RHP Baker from Triple-A Round Rock

Credit: Getty Images

PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 01: Scott Baker #58 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during a spring training game at Peoria Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

by KATY CLARKE

WFAA Sports

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM

 The Rangers’ bullpen has become a key factor in recent weeks, as the starting rotation has struggled to make it into the late innings. In order to help rebuild the bullpen, the Rangers have purchased the contract of RHP Scott Baker from Triple-A Round Rock, optioned OF Daniel Robertson, and placed Pedro Figueroa on the 60-day DL.

“He’s here to give us some length in the bullpen” said Rangers’ manager Ron Washington. “ He has some innings in him. We’re just trying to get the bullpen straightened out.”

Nick Martinez will remain on the team, which means the Rangers will have two long innings guys in the bullpen, something they’ve needed as of late. Having Baker on the roster in intended to give the bullpen some rest. However, if the starters continue to only go about five innings, there’s no telling how long it will be take to get the bullpen straightened out.

“It just depends on how our starters do” said Wash. “If Colby and Harry get us some defensive starts, it could straighten out in two days. We’ll just have to see.”

It’s been quite the journey for Baker, who had Tommy John surgery in 2012, first made his comeback with the Cubs in 2013, but was only able to pitch in three games as he continued to have issues with his elbow. Baker began spring training with the Mariners, as a non-roster invitee, but was released on March 25. The Rangers signed Baker to a minor-league contract on March 28, and he has since spent his time is Round Rock.

While in Round Rock, Baker was 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA. For Baker, Round Rock alone was something he could be happy about. But making it back to the majors, let’s him know that all the struggle and all the effort was worth it in the end.

“It was obviously a long road” said Baker. “I was enjoying myself down there, it’s a great group of guys, but you know, everybody is striving to be here. Injuries happen, it wasn’t because lack of effort, but it really makes it special. Once you’ve endured something that has taken this long.”

We won’t know if Baker really is back for good until he sees some action on the mound, but he believes that now more than ever, the timing is perfect. It’s been two years since Baker was throwing in his prime, but in those two years he’s experienced mental growth that will help him contribute when the time is right.

“Physically, I feel as good as I ever have” said Baker. “I feel like that two year mark is a really important time for Tommy John. I know what I’m capable of doing and it’s all about execution. So if you’re out there and you’re making good pitches, good pitches get good hitters out. As of late, that’s what I’ve been doing.”

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