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Bullpen jobs available for new-look relief corps

Lachemann hopes third time the charm at Classic

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Bullpens are vital to the success of a baseball team, and with a large amount of offseason turnover, the Texas Rangers are not quite sure what to expect from their bullpen in 2013.

"There are still guys fighting for jobs," manager Ron Washington said. "We haven't decided what our pen is going to look like except for Joe Nathan."

A season ago, the Rangers bullpen, mainly Nathan, converted 83 percent of its save opportunities, 11 percent above the Major League average. The Texas relievers were also credited with 116 holds.

However, Mike Adams (3.27 ERA in 61 games), Mark Lowe (3.43 ERA in 36 games) and Koji Uehara (1.75 ERA in 37 games) were all part of that bullpen, and none will be with the team in 2013.

The Rangers will also attempt to replace Alexi Ogando, who is being moved to the starting rotation. Ogando appeared in 58 games last year, posted an ERA of 3.27 and was second on the team in holds (behind Adams).

"This year we brought up a couple of our young kids that we feel can fill some of those spots, but they have to perform," Washington said. "They have the ability. They have potential, but they have to get it done.

Washington specifically named Michael Kirkman and Tanner Scheppers as young players who need to step up. Scheppers has been battling a strained left hamstring and scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. Kirkman has pitched four scoreless inning this spring.

To solidify the relief corps, the Rangers also signed Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria over the offseason.

"You like to have your bullpen set, but you do what you have to do," Washington said. "Sometimes it falls in place, sometimes you are maneuvering pieces throughout the year."

Entering the season with question marks is not ideal, but Washington will have plenty of choices when constructing his opening day bullpen.

"Of course we have options," Washington said. "We have a lot of arms, but we certainly haven't started identifying 'You're going to do this' and 'You're going to do that' because [the pitchers] are competing for jobs."

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