Notes: Bullpen forming nicely

Jobs being won, more than lost, in bullpen

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Brian Shouse struck out six of nine batters he faced in a simulated game for left-handed relievers on Saturday morning and the Rangers bullpen is coming into sharper definition.

The Rangers know that Francisco Cordero should be ready to close now that he definitely won't pitch in the World Baseball Classic and they can't wait to get Akinori Otsuka back so he can more work than the three innings he pitched for Japan in the first two rounds of the tournament.

Joaquin Benoit had pitched 4 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings before giving a run in the ninth on Saturday in the Rangers' regular game against the Diamondbacks, confirming his role as the second right-handed setup man.

Meanwhile, Shouse would be the primary lefty vs. lefty situational/setup reliever. Handling Erubiel Durazo, David Dellucci, Brad Wilkerson and Laynce Nix on the back field Saturday was a reminder that opposing left-handers have hit just .198 off him over the past three seasons.

"Shouse was very good," manager Buck Showalter said.

The Rangers would like one more left-hander in the bullpen and one of the overlooked tasks that general manager Jon Daniels and assistant Thad Levine accomplished was stockpiling left-handed-reliever depth in the offseason.

Shouse is just one of seven left-handers who came into camp as a bullpen candidate. Jesse Carlson has already been sent out and the Rangers may find it difficult to keep Rule 5 draft pick Fabio Castro.

But they have more depth than other clubs in a crucial position, so scouts watch carefully how the Rangers will sort this out. If C.J. Wilson develops into the power reliever the Rangers think he can be, then he'll likely get the second lefty spot in the bullpen. Kevin Walker and Carlson will provide Triple-A depth and Ron Mahay and Erasmo Ramirez could be shopped around.

Of the other two spots, the Rangers would like one more right-handed setup reliever, which could be Antonio Alfonseca, Scott Feldman or Jose Silva.

That would leave a long man, a role built for John Wasdin, although Ramirez could fit there, as could knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Both Wasdin and Ramirez could be claimed by other teams on waivers if they don't make the 25-man roster. Dickey remains a fifth-starter candidate.

Young, Teixeira return: Michael Young said he would, "do it again in a second."

Mark Teixeira wasn't so sure.

"Ask me in a couple of years," he said, unpacking his bags in the Rangers clubhouse after spending two weeks with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

"The tournament itself? I wish we had played better," Teixeira said. "There were probably better ways of organizing, but the experience as a whole was great."

What Teixeira didn't like was six games in two weeks.

"We had pitchers who pitched two innings in two weeks," he said. "That's not good for baseball. There are definitely ways to tweak the format and I believe the organizers realize that."

For Young and Teixeira, the tournament came to a premature and abrupt end with a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Thursday night, keeping them from advancing to the semifinal round.

"I thought we really came together as a team, but we just didn't get it done," Young said. "That was a disappointment. Everybody else played good baseball. We just didn't play well.

"The part about the tournament that fans and a lot of press didn't seem to understand is we didn't take any team for granted. We played hard. It just showed anything can happen, especially in this format that we were totally unfamiliar with and one loss is huge."

Battling the slump: Teixeira went right into the Rangers lineup on Saturday against the Diamondbacks, trying to recover after going hitless in 15 at-bats during the World Baseball Classic.

"It's really not an issue," Teixeira said. "If this were July and I was getting any hits it would be different, but playing every three days against guys you've never faced before, it's not easy.

"I'm healthy and feeling great, that's the important thing. Some guys get worn down by the end of Spring Training, but that won't be an issue."

Clemens watch: Roger Clemens is finished with the Classic and has gone home to Houston. He has given no indication if he'll pitch again, and agent Randy Hendricks said it might be May before he decides.

Daniels said he'll talk to Hendricks at some point just to keep in touch. The question is, does the possibility that Clemens might pitch for the Rangers preclude them doing anything to else to add pitching this spring?

"There's not a yes or no answer to that," Daniels said. "We want to prepare as a team to be as good as we can be out of the gate. If two months into the season or when Roger makes a decision to come to Arlington, I'd love to sit down with Buck and decide whose spot he takes. In reality so much happens during the course of the season, I don't see it as a problem."

Jaramillo leaving Monday: Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's final day in camp will be Sunday. On Monday, he'll leave for Dallas and then undergo surgery on March 28 in New York for prostate cancer.

Minor League hitting instructor Brook Jacoby will take over in his place.

"If people tell me that Rudy will be full go by May 1, I'll be happy with that," Showalter said.

Briefly: Hank Blalock and Jason Botts were sent home sick Saturday. ... Rick Bauer, no longer a fifth starter candidate, was re-assigned to the Minor League camp. ... Gary Matthews Jr. (ribcage) is taking batting practice indoors. Showalter is hoping he'll be in a game by the middle of next week. Same with Nix, who is limited to designated hitter duty but Showalter said, "He is starting to lock it in." ... Kameron Loe has been scratched from Tuesday's start because the Rangers didn't want him pitching against the Angels. He'll pitch in a Minor League game instead and Wasdin will pitch against the Angels. ... Frank Francisco was given a cortisone injection to help him in his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Coming up: Erubiel Durazo also joined the Rangers after playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and is scheduled to start at designated hitter against the Chicago Cubs at 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday in Mesa. The Cubs have given the Rangers permission to use the DH at a National League park. Durazo was 4-for-22 in the tournament. The game will be broadcast on KRLD 1080 AM.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.