SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have brought Daniel McCutchen to big league camp with a chance to make the team as a middle reliever. McCutchen is in camp because the Rangers are moving Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross to the rotation and may have to put Alexi Ogando there as well if Yu Darvish goes on the disabled list.
McCutchen, who pitched in 108 games for the Pirates in 2009-12, was signed as a Minor League free agent in the offseason. He was not invited to big league camp but has been used in three games when the Rangers needed extra pitching.
"He is a guy who has impressed each time he has come over," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "As we build our 12-man staff and moved relievers into the rotation, we have not left ourselves with many multi-inning options."
Right now, the Rangers bullpen includes right-handers Joakim Soria, Ogando, and Jason Frasor, and left-hander Neal Cotts. Ogando is the only pitcher from that group who can consistently pitch multiple innings in an outing. Shawn Tolleson may make the team as a right-handed setup reliever as well.
McCutchen's best year with the Pirates was in 2011 when he was 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 73 games. He has allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings in Cactus League games this spring, allowing three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He allowed one run in two innings against the Athletics on Monday.
"They called me yesterday and told me to pitch a couple innings in the big league game," McCutchen said. "They called last night and said move over here [to the Major League clubhouse]. So obviously it was unexpected. Better late than never. I don't know what the picture is, who has spots and who doesn't. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and see what happens."
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.