Cantwell was a third-round pick out of Stony Brook University in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft and spent last season at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, hitting .249 with one home run and 24 RBIs. He has an advanced feel for catching, receiving and throwing.
"We're continuing to take a reading of our catching and anticipating our needs for the future," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "Patrick Cantwell has done a great job showing up early, and we wanted to give him a little bit of a reward. We want to see if he can be a legitimate backup at the Major League level."
The Rangers expect Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia to share the catching duties at the Major League level. But Soto remains sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left ankle two weeks ago and is not expected to play in a Cactus League game until at least March 15.
Right now the two leading candidates to catch at Triple-A Round Rock are Robinson Chirinos and Brett Nicholas. Zach Zaneski and Tomas Telis are also possibilities. Two other top catching prospects -- Jorge Alfaro and Kellin Deglan -- could end up at Double-A Frisco. For Alfaro, it would be a significant jump from Class A Hickory. Cantwell would fit in there somewhere, but right now he'll get a chance to show what he can do in big league camp.
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.