Rangers hope Tucker can live up to promise

Rangers hope Tucker can live up to promise

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers are hoping to get lucky with a one-time big prospect by claiming right-handed pitcher Ryan Tucker from the Marlins.

The Rangers acquired Tucker on Wednesday, making the announcement after their 5-1 victory over the Marlins in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

"He's a right-handed pitcher who was a top Draft pick and has a good arm," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "In the past, we have had interest in him. This is an opportunity to see if a change of scenery can help his ability. He took a step back this year and we're hoping that he can bounce back."

Tucker, 23, was the 34th overall pick of the 2005 Draft out of Temple City (Calif.) High who had a breakout season in the Minors in 2008, when he was 5-3 with a 1.58 ERA in 12 starts and 13 relief appearances at the Double-A level. He was also 2-3 with an 8.27 ERA that year in 13 games with the Marlins.

But he has not been able to build on that success. He began this season at Triple-A New Orleans and was 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA in seven starts before being suspended for "insubordination." He finished the season at Class A Jupiter in the Florida State League, going 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in 23 games.

But he does have a power arm with 410 strikeouts in 497 1/3 innings.

"We're aware of some issues this year and the past," Levine said. "We're coming into this with our eyes wide open. He will be held to a high standard. We've done our homework enough to feel he deserves a chance but we're also making him aware of our standards and the need to adhere to them."

Tucker was placed on the 40-man roster. To make room, Rich Harden was designated for assignment. But he was not on the playoff roster and is going to be a free agent anyway.

"The only impact is he's going into free agency sooner than others," Levine said.