Rangers add vet Scheppers to new-look 'pen

Righty has scoreless outing in '17 debut; Hamels' next rehab start Wednesday

Rangers add vet Scheppers to new-look 'pen

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers continued the reconstruction of their bullpen by calling up right-hander Tanner Scheppers from Triple-A Round Rock and optioning outfielder Jared Hoying before Monday's 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays.

Scheppers, who made his season debut Monday with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, is the second veteran reliever added to the bullpen in three days. Ernesto Frieri was called up Saturday with starter Andrew Cashner going on the disabled list. Frieri and Scheppers give the Rangers an eight-man bullpen.

Manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers wanted more depth because they are without a true long reliever. Nick Martinez and Austin Bibens-Dirkx were filling that role, but both are in the rotation.

The Rangers have Matt Bush as their closer, with right-handers Jose Leclerc and Keone Kela and left-hander Alex Claudio as their primary setup relievers.

"We'd like to keep those guys back to being fresh," Banister said. "We don't have a real long guy out there, so we added the extra arm to go multiple innings."

Scheppers works out of trouble

Banister said Scheppers, Frieri and Jeremy Jeffress are capable of throwing two innings in an outing. Dario Alvarez is the situational left-hander.

If this was 2013, Frieri and Scheppers would have much bigger roles. Frieri had 37 saves for the Angels that year, while Scheppers was 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA as the Rangers' primary setup reliever. They both had a long fight to get back to the Majors.

Scheppers has been on the disabled list six times in the past four years, the latest being back spasms at Round Rock, He was activated May 27 and has allowed one run on seven hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.

"Things have been feeling good … I'll take it," Scheppers said.

Frieri relied almost exclusively on his fastball as the Angels closer. In 2013, his fastball averaged 94.4 mph with movement and deception, and he threw it 87.1 percent of the time.

But over the next two years, he lost the feel for his fastball and his velocity fell off. He was no longer effective and didn't even pitch last season. Instead, he went home to Colombia and worked with an old coach from his childhood. Frieri said they started from ground zero in remaking him as a pitcher.

He can still throw the fastball, but is much more comfortable throwing a slider and a changeup.

"I feel I'm a pitcher," Frieri said. "Three years ago, I was more of a fastball pitcher and getting away with it, getting lucky."

He was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA and seven saves for the Yankees' Triple-A team before exercising an out clause in his contract. The Rangers signed him to a Triple-A contract and promoted him after one scoreless inning at Round Rock.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers have officially announced Cole Hamels will make his second rehab start at Double-A Frisco at 12:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday. He is scheduled to throw 75 pitches.

• The Rangers have agreed to terms with left-hander Joel Urena, their seventh-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Monroe College in New York, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com.

Yu Darvish's next start is Friday against the Yankees and he could be opposing Masahiro Tanaka in the in the very first head-to-head meeting of Japanese superstar pitchers. But Tanaka is 3-6 after 14 starts with a 6.34 ERA -- which is the second highest in the American League -- so his spot in the Yankees' rotation is tenuous at best.

• The Rangers' Minor League Players of the Month for May were Round Rock catcher Brett Nicholas (Player), right-hander Ariel Jurado (Pitcher), outfielder Jose Cardona (Defender) and Brady Fiegl (Reliever).

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.