Rangers looking to pad Triple-A pitching depth

Rangers looking to pad Triple-A pitching depth

PEORIA, Ariz. - The Brewers have landed free-agent pitcher Kyle Lohse without a fight from the Rangers.

The Rangers scouted Lohse while he was throwing in Arizona and kept in contact with agent Scott Boras but never made an offer, according to club officials. The Rangers are still undecided about a fifth starter with the decision coming down to right-hander Nick Tepesch and left-hander Michael Kirkman.

The Rangers are also still hoping Colby Lewis will return by June 1. He is in the final stages of recovering from flexor tendon surgery and is throwing off a mound in the bullpen. The plan is for Lewis to be in Arlington for the home opener on April 5 and then return to Arizona to start throwing live batting practice. From there he will need about six weeks to build up arm strength, durability and innings before he can pitch in the big leagues again.

The Rangers did add a starting pitcher on Sunday when they claimed left-hander Brad Mills off waivers from the Angels. Mills was placed on outright waivers by the Angels because he was out of options and wasn't going to make the team. Mills is not expected to make the team so the Rangers would also have to get him through waivers to get him to Triple-A Round Rock.

"I was pitching a lot of B games and Minor League games so I figured the Angels were getting ready to send me down," Mills said. "I don't know how it works so I was kind of surprised to be here. But it's always good when somebody wants you. They wouldn't grab me if they didn't want me."

The Rangers are looking for Triple-A pitching depth. The rotation at Round Rock will include right-handers Justin Grimm and Randy Wells, but other spots are uncertain. Right-handers Neil Ramirez and Jacob Brigham are among the candidates. The Rangers are also planning to stretch out Collin Balester as a starter even though he was a reliever in Spring Training. Ryan Feierabend, who made 19 starts for the Mariners in 2006-08 before his career was derailed by Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, is in Minor League camp and a possibility.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.