Hard-throwing Figueroa impresses Rangers

Hard-throwing Figueroa impresses Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Reliever Pedro Figueroa has intrigued the Rangers through the first week or so of camp. Left-handed pitchers who throw 95 mph have a tendency to do that. Manager Ron Washington is among those who have marveled at his great arm.

Figueroa, who has pitched in the Athletics organization the past 10 years, can throw hard but without command. He has 18 walks in 24 2/3 innings at the Major League level and 4.01 walks per nine innings through the Minor Leagues. If he can find some serious command, he could give the Rangers another left-handed weapon out of the bullpen.

"That's what I have been working on in the offseason: focusing on throwing strikes," Figueroa said. "I was opening up early in my delivery so I have worked on my mechanics, working on a strong front side, have good direction toward the plate and not rushing it."

The Athletics put Figueroa on waivers in January and he was claimed by the Rays. They tried the same thing later in January and the Rangers claimed him. Left-handers who throw hard don't remain unemployed very long.

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.