Scheppers, Ortiz make 'pen; one spot remains

Scheppers, Ortiz make 'pen; one spot remains
ARLINGTON -- The battle of the Rangers' bullpen is down to a single open spot after manager Ron Washington announced that both right-hander Tanner Scheppers and rookie left-hander Joe Ortiz have made the team.

"Scheppers was a little touch and go at the start of Spring Training, but when it mattered, he showed up," Washington said.

Telling Ortiz -- a completely unknown quantity when camp opened -- that he'd made the team made Washington's day.

"He was excited," Washington said. "He tried to hold it down, but I think if we'd kept him in that room a little longer, he'd have started crying."

Ortiz didn't argue.

"There were some tears in my eyes when they told me the news," he said through a translator. "I wasn't expecting this. I hope everyone knows who I am now, but I have to keep working hard and throwing strikes."

Washington said Scheppers will join lefties Michael Kirkman and Robbie Ross as eighth-inning setup possibilities for closer Joe Nathan.

With Scheppers and Ortiz on board, right-handers Josh Lindblom and rookie Cory Burns are competing for the last position in what is expected to be an eight-man bullpen.

Left-hander Brad Mills, picked up on waivers from the Angels earlier in the week, cleared waivers Thursday and was outrighted to Triple-A Round Rock. The leaves the Rangers with 39 players on their Spring Training roster, 31 on the 40-man roster and eight non-roster invitees.

Jim Reeves is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.