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Rangers sign four to Minor League contracts, invite to Spring Training

The Texas Rangers announced today the following transactions:

  • Have agreed to terms with the following four players on minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training: INF/OF Brent Lillibridge, INF Kevin Kouzmanoff, RHP Armando Rodriguez, and SS Josh Wilson.
  • Selected infielder Russell Wilson from the Colorado Rockies in the Triple-A phase of this morning's Rule 5 Draft.
  • Have agreed to terms with RHP Doug Mathis on a minor league contract.

The 25-year-old Russell Wilson, currently the quarterback for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, played two seasons in the Rockies minor league system in 2010-11. He has been assigned to the Rangers' Triple-A Round Rock roster from the Rockies' A-ball Asheville roster. He batted .229 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI over 93 professional games those two years with Tri-City (Low-A) and Asheville (A). In his last professional baseball action with Asheville in 2011, he batted .228 (44-193) with 3 homers, 5 doubles, 4 triples, 15 RBI, and 40 runs scored in 61 contests. He was also 15-for-17 in steal attempts that year. Wilson was originally selected by Colorado in the 4th round (140th overall) of the 2010 June Draft. He played football and baseball at North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin. He played football, baseball, and basketball at Collegiate School, a preparatory academy in Richmond, Virginia. He graduated from NC State in three years.

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Lillibridge, 30, has seen big league action in each of the last six seasons. He split last season in the Cubs and Yankees organizations, batting .119 with 5 RBI in 20 total games for the two clubs at the big league level. He spent the rest of the year at Triple-A with Iowa and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .277 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 89 contests. Lillibridge is a career .205 hitter over 358 games in the majors with Atlanta (2008), Chicago-AL (2009-12), Boston (2012), Cleveland (2012), Chicago-NL (2013), and New York-AL (2013). He has at least 10 big league starts at every position except catcher.

Kouzmanoff, 32, spent last season with Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins system and batted .294 with 6 homers and 42 RBI over 60 games. His playing time was limited last year by three separate disabled list stints. He has a career .255 average with 85 home runs and 361 RBI over 672 major league games with Cleveland (2006), San Diego (2007-09), Oakland (2010-11), and Colorado (2011). He has played primarily third base in his career, but has also seen action at first base.

Rodriguez, who turns 26 next month, has spent his entire professional career in the Mets farm system. He split last year between Las Vegas (AAA) and Binghamton (AA), combining to go 2-4 with a 4.81 ERA (34 ER/63.2 IP) over 50 relief appearances, his first year to pitch exclusively in relief. The Dominican Republic native has averaged 9.2 strikeouts-per-9-innings in his minor league career.

Josh Wilson, 32, hit .200 with one homer and 4 RBI in 30 games for Arizona in 2013, and also batted .219 with 4 homers and 20 RBI in 59 games for Triple-A Reno. Wilson has a career .225 average with 10 home runs and 71 RBI over 386 major league games with Florida (2005), Washington (2007), Tampa Bay (2007), Arizona (2009), San Diego (2009), Seattle (2009-10), Arizona (2011, 2013), and Milwaukee (2011). Primarily a shortstop throughout his career, Wilson has also seen extended action at second base and third base, and owns 3 major league appearances as a pitcher.

Mathis, 30, split last season in the Marlins and Pirates organizations, going a combined 5-9, 4.03 (54 ER/120.2 IP) in 26 games/22 starts for New Orleans (AAA) and Indianapolis (AAA). He had 89 strikeouts against 53 walks. Mathis saw his only major league action with Texas in 2008-09-10, combining to go 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA (47 ER/87.1 IP) in 45 games/6 starts. His last year in the Rangers system was 2010, and he has since played in the minors for San Francisco, Oakland, Boston, Miami, and Pittsburgh. He was originally selected by the Rangers in the 13th round of the 2005 June Draft out of the University of Missouri.

The Rangers also had two players selected in the Triple-A phase of this morning's Rule 5 Draft. Infielder Greg Miclat was selected by St. Louis and left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier was taken by Toronto. Bleier, 26, split the 2013 campaign between Frisco (AA) and Round Rock (AAA), going 6-6 with a 3.32 ERA (30 ER/81.1 IP) over 42 games/4 starts. The left-hander was the club's sixth round selection in the 2008 June draft. Miclat, 26, combined to bat .244 (74-303) with 12 doubles, 28 RBI, and 33 runs over 88 games with Round Rock, Frisco, and the Arizona League Rangers last season. Miclat was acquired from Baltimore, along with RHP Randy Henry, in exchange for C Taylor Teagarden on December 8, 2011.

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