Brad Hawpe has swung the bat well in spring training, but hasn’t built up the arm strength to play in the outfield. He can only play first base and designated hitter, which doesn’t make him a viable bench option for the Texas Rangers.
Because of that, the Rangers released Hawpe Thursday night.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have until Friday at 11 a.m. to do three options with non-roster invitees – put them on the major league roster, release them or assign them to the minor leagues and pay them a $100,000 retention bonus.
Hawpe, a Saginaw Boswell product, wants to play in the major leagues, and said last week that he wasn’t interested in accepting a minor league assignment.
"I was given a great opportunity here, being able to prove to myself that I could still hit 7 1/2 months removed from Tommy John," Hawpe said. "I'm just not a fit here right now because I can't throw from the outfield, and I completely understand that."
Hawpe has shown that he can still be an offensive threat, batting .261 with two doubles and one home run. He had another home run wiped off the stats because the game was rained out.
If Hawpe isn’t able to find a 25-man roster spot, the Rangers would welcome him back on a minor league deal. Once Hawpe – who had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last August – builds up the arm strength to play in the outfield, he would be of value to the Rangers.
But the Rangers aren’t going to send Hawpe to the minor leagues against his will.
“We are going to give Brad some time to find a major league opportunity,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “If that doesn’t work out, we’d love to have him stay with us. He’s been swinging the bat well.”
-- Drew Davison