Jennings wins spot in Rangers bullpen
Former Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings will open the season relieving for the Rangers, having parlayed a minor league contract into a spot on Texas’ Opening Day roster with an impressive spring.
Jennings is 1-0 with a 1.98 in seven games this spring, having allowed 11 hits and three runs in 13 2/3 innings with four walks and 12 strikeouts. He worked three innings Tuesday and allowed one run and one hit _ Andre Torres’ homer _ with no walks and four strikeouts. That outing came three days after Jennings pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Royals, allowing three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Jennings, 30, has had little go right for him since the Rockies traded him to the Astros in Dec. 2006. along with minor league pitcher Miguel Asencio for center fielderand pitchers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz.
Jennings has pitched just 126 1/3 innings the past two seasons. With the Astros in 2007, Jennings went 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 19 games, including 18 starts. Last year, Jennings went 0-5 with an 8.56 ERA in six games, the last on April 29, and pitched 27 1/3 innings. He tore his right elbow flexor tendon each of the past two seasons and twice underwent surgery to repair it.
Jennings, who was born in Dallas and raised in Mesquite, a Dallas suburb, pitched at Baylor and was the Rockies’ first-round pick and the 16th player taken overall in 1999. He is still the Rockies’ franchise leader in starts (156), wins (58), losses (56), innings pitched (941), shutouts (3) and walks (425) and ranks second in strikeouts (622) and tied for third in complete games (6).
The Rangers set their rotation Wednesday when they named Kris Benson, who last pitched in the majors Sept. 27, 2006, as their fifth starter. Others in the rotation include, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, who went to Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs and Lamar Community College, and Matt Harrison.
Jennings has pitched in 181 major league games, all but one as a starter. His lone relief appearance came with the Astros on Aug. 1, 2007, when he pitched one inning at Atlanta