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Tolleson raises bullpen candidacy

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have a new entrant into the competition for a spot in the bullpen. The only question is if there is an actual spot in the bullpen to be won, but right-hander Shawn Tolleson caught the Rangers' attention with a scoreless inning against the Athletics on Saturday in his first appearance in the Cactus League.

Manager Ron Washington said Tolleson's stuff was "electric" and the Rangers want to see him pitch again.

"For the first time out, it was impressive," Washington said. "We're going to give him a day off and bring him back, see how he continues to progress."

Tolleson missed almost all of last season with the Dodgers because of surgery on April 25 to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. The Rangers claimed him on waivers this winter but prior to the injury he was a rising star in the Dodgers farm system and went 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 40 games in the big leagues in 2012.

'I just wanted to attack hitters and throw all my pitches for strikes," Tolleson said. "I'm here to make an impression and make the team. All I can do is get outs."

The Rangers bullpen right now includes right-handers Joakim Soria, Tanner Scheppers, Neftali Feliz and Jason Frasor, and left-handers Robbie Ross and Neal Cotts. That leaves one spot open for a long reliever and Tolleson doesn't really fit that role.

But Scheppers is still getting strong consideration for a spot in the rotation. If he ends up being a starter, it could open up a spot in the bullpen for Tolleson or somebody else.

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.

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