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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."

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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.

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