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Rangers recall Strop from Minors

Rangers recall Strop from Minors

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NEW YORK -- The Rangers placed right-hander Jason Jennings on release waivers Thursday so they could call up reliever Pedro Strop from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Strop has thrown 14 2/3 scoreless innings over his past 10 appearances in the Minor Leagues, prompting Texas to bring him to New York.

Jennings was one of the Rangers' most valuable pitchers in the first half of the season, but has struggled since the All-Star break. He has a 7.07 ERA in 13 games since then, and was falling to the bottom of the bullpen pecking order. What Jennings did for Texas in the first half, Neftali Feliz has been doing for the club lately.

"[Jennings] wasn't getting outs," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "His slider wasn't as effective as it once was and his sinker wasn't down. It was up in the zone. It was a tough decision to let him go. Without him, we wouldn't be where we are today. But in this game, it's all about, 'What have you done for me lately?'"

Jennings was 2-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 31 games before the All-Star break. Opponents hit .250 off him to that point, but have been batting .387 off him since the break. His biggest problem was coming into an inning with runners on base. He allowed 58.6 percent of inherited runners to score, the fourth highest for a reliever in the American League.

"It was a tough decision," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Jason is a warrior, he did a tremendous job for us. He was a huge piece for us in the first half. He's one of the reasons we're in the race. But we felt, going down the stretch, we needed to give our bullpen every option we had. Pedro has been throwing the ball well. Several people recommended him."

Jennings, who is from the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, signed with the Rangers before the 2008 campaign, but went 0-5 with an 8.56 ERA in six starts before missing the rest of the season with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The problem required surgery for a second successive year.

Jennings was re-signed by Texas to a Minor League contract in the winter, and went to camp as a candidate for the rotation. The Rangers thought he would need to start the season in the Minors, but instead, he surprised people by winning a job in the bullpen. For much of the season, that appeared to be a shrewd move by the club.

"Obviously, like I said in Spring Training, I appreciate the opportunity to come back after what happened last year," Jennings said. "I tried to re-prove myself, and for the most part, I did that. I felt I helped the team for 4 1/2 months, but lately it hasn't been good.

"With the guys they had, the opportunities were limited and it was tough to stay sharp. It is what it is. They've got to throw those other guys out there and try to get to the playoffs, I understand that."

Jennings said he is 100 percent healthy -- there was no reason to put him on the disabled list -- and is still hoping catch on with another team as the season heads to the final month.

"By no means am I done," Jennings said.

Strop is 6-6 with a 5.06 ERA in 47 games with Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma City. In 64 innings, he has allowed 61 hits, 33 walks and 61 strikeouts.

"Hopefully he can be one of those pieces when Feliz isn't available," Washington said. "He's another piece for us. He has two putaway pitches -- breaking ball and split -- he throws strikes and he velocity. We'll see where he stands."

Strop started the season at Oklahoma City, but was sent to Frisco after allowing 11 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings in his first eight appearances. He was 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 games at Frisco before being called up to Oklahoma City again earlier this month.

Strop had thrown 11 scoreless innings for Frisco before the promotion, allowing five singles, two walks and striking out nine. Since then, he has pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings over three appearances for Oklahoma City, allowing one hit, no walks and striking out three.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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