The Rangers on Wednesday will face Kyle Lohse, a pitcher many in the organization wanted to sign during spring training, but general manager Jon Daniels said that the club was never too close to signing the right-hander.
The Rangers remained in contact with agent Scott Boras and sent adviser Don Welke to watch Lohse work out, but they didn’t want to surrender their first-round draft pick as compensation for signing him.
Daniels said that he checked with Major League Baseball to see if it would approve a sign-and-trade deal that would allow the Rangers to keep the pick, but Lohse had a competitive market.
“We never really got close,” Daniels said. “It wasn’t as far along as it was reported.”
Lohse signed a three-year, $33 million contract March 25 with Milwaukee. Lance Berkman, Lohse’s teammate in St. Louis, said that Lohse had interest in the Rangers.
“It was high,” said Berkman, who discussed Lohse with the front office. “We talked about it. I know they had interest in him, especially with Colby [Lewis] down and not sure about the No. 5 spot.”
The Rangers have transferred struggling right-hander Cody Buckel from Double A Frisco to extended spring training after a move from the rotation to the bullpen didn’t fix his sudden inability to throw strikes.
Buckel will work in Arizona with rehabilitation coach Keith Comstock with no timetable on a possible return date. The goal is to get Buckel, the Rangers’ Minor League Pitch of the Year in 2012, back on track.
“We’re going to use all our resources,” Daniels said. “I think it’s more of a mental thing than a physical thing. He’s scuffling to throw strikes. We need to get that addressed.”
Third baseman Mike Olt has been placed on the Triple A disabled list with an unresolved eye issue. He has rejoined Round Rock and is working out daily, including taking batting practice, and is scheduled to see a specialist in the next 10 to 14 days.
Olt has told the Rangers that the vision problems started in spring training. The Rangers do not believe that the concussion he suffered in November during winter ball is the cause.
Martin Perez, who allowed one run in four innings Monday in his first rehab start, will pitch again for Double A Frisco on Saturday. Perez will pitch five innings, and then the Rangers will consider if he needs more time on assignment.
The Rangers have 30 days before they must activate him and either place him on the big-league roster or option him to the minor leagues.
-- Jeff Wilson