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January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Rangers notes: Day 1 for Greg Maddux at winter pitching camp

Greg Maddux had his first work day with the Texas Rangers, spending Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for the first day of a three-day winter pitching camp.

Maddux, who is a special assistant with the team, will work in a part-time role to help his brother, Mike Maddux, develop pitchers throughout the organization, including their fielding techniques.

Greg Maddux won 18 Gold Gloves during his playing career, while the Rangers’ pitching staff committed 16 errors last season.

“Fielding is important,” Maddux said. “If you can catch three balls a game, that’s an inning right there. If you pitch seven innings, you get three of them, you’re down to six. It’s important to be able to catch the ball when it’s hit back to you and make accurate throws to all the bases.”

Maddux said he was looking forward to working with all of the 15 pitchers at the mini-camp, but stressed his part-time role. He will try to help out in any way he can, but said the organization has good coaches already on staff.

“The organization, they know what they’re doing,” Maddux said. “I’m just here to come and try to help out any way possible, and try to get to know the players a little bit.”

Here are a few other notes from the workout:

* Ron Washington and Mike Maddux said there is an opening for left-handed relievers to make the big league team. Left-hander Michael Kirkman is on hand at the camp, and seems to have the inside track to get one spot. Another possibility could be highly-touted pitching prospect Martin Perez, who is also at the camp.

* Right-hander Tanner Scheppers said he is 100 percent healthy after he battled through a back injury last season. He spent two months in Venezuela this offseason, and feels good with spring training a little more than a month away. Scheppers will go to spring training as a reliever, although he still hopes to start at some point in the future.

* The Rangers avoided arbitration with the following players, signing them to one-year deals – Mark Lowe ($1.7 million); David Murphy ($3.65 million); Mike Adams ($4.4 million).

-- Drew Davison

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