But he finished strong, allowing just one run on four hits in 9 2/3 innings over his last 10 appearances. He would likely be one of several candidates to be the Rangers closer, a group that also includes left-hander C.J. Wilson and right-handers Kazuo Fukumori and Joaquin Benoit.
General manager Jon Daniels declined to discuss specifics, but did say the Rangers are trying to stockpile as many arms as possible in the bullpen.
"We're going to have more bodies than spots," Daniels said. "We'll work it out in Spring Training. There will be a few guys who are definitely there and everybody else will be competing. We want to give [manager] Ron Washington the best chance of mixing and matching, so right now we're focused on getting quality options and sort the possibilities out in March."
Daniels is also trying to get some depth for the Rangers starting rotation. The Rangers, right now, have a rotation of Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Kason Gabbard and Edinson Volquez with Luis Mendoza, Armando Galarraga, Eric Hurley, Kameron Loe and possibly Thomas Diamond and Doug Mathis in reserve.
But Daniels would like to add at least one veteran arm for depth just in case somebody gets injured and the young pitchers aren't ready. The Rangers did that last year when they brought Bruce Chen into camp.
The Rangers have discussed Bartolo Colon and Jason Jennings, who are coming off bad years. Colon was the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner, but was limited to just seven wins in the past two years because of arm injuries. Jennings was 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 19 games for the Astros last season while being limited because of an elbow injury.
Freddy Garcia is not high on the Rangers' list and they are not pursuing Mark Prior. They have looked at a lower level of free agent possibilities, a group that includes left-handers Mike Maroth and Mark Hendrickson and right-hander Josh Towers.
"There's a decent chance we can do something, but all of those guys are holding out to see if they can get a [40-man] roster spot," Daniels said. "I would like to get a veteran guy to provide us some protection."
Daniels said Josh Rupe, who missed much of last season with elbow inflammation, is healthy again and will compete in Spring Training for a job in the bullpen. The Rangers aren't looking at him as a starter right now. ... The Rangers have not had to make a 40-man roster move yet because Fukumori's contract has not yet been approved by the Commissioner's Office or the Players Association. There's some technical language that both sides are going over. ... Jason Botts, playing in the Mexican League this winter, is hitting .335 with nine home runs and a league-leading 53 RBIs in 61 games and 230 at-bats. ... Nelson Cruz is hitting .317 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 28 games and 101 at-bats in the Dominican Republic. ... The Rangers don't appear to have interest in Kevin Mench, who began his career with them but was designated for assignment by the Brewers last week. ... Josh Boyd, who spent the last four years as an area scout for the San Diego Padres, officially has been named the Rangers manager of professional scouting. He inherits some duties from Mike Daly, who will concentrate on his duties as manager of international scouting. ... Mark Giegler has been switched from amateur to professional scout. ... Scott Engler has been hired as a professional scout, coming over from the Florida Marlins.