With Nick Regilio going to the majors, the Rangers called up John Hudgins from Frisco to take his place with the Redhawks, according to Mike Hindman.
When I first heard the news this morning, I was a bit disappointed, simply because Regilio has been pitching out of the pen, and bringing up Hudgins (who has been solid, if not spectacular, for Frisco) could be a sign that Hudgins was being relegated to bullpen duties.
However, I just saw a note that, per Buck Showalter on his pre-game show, Juan Dominguez is being demoted to AA Frisco, supposedly because of his refusal to do what the AAA coaching staff wants him to do (which means, probably, using his breaking ball more). If Dominguez is going to AA, that could open up a spot in the rotation for Hudgins (although it could also simply open up a spot in the AAA rotation for Nick Regilio, when he returns to Oklahoma in a few days).
Hudgins and Dominguez passing in the night could be rather symbolic...Dominguez has tantalized the organization with his tremendous ability, including a change that is considered the best in the organization, but has infuriated the powers that be with his attitude, immaturity and inability to fight through injuries. He's gone from being one of the top pitching prospects in the organization to a guy who seems in danger of being dumped to anyone willing to give the Rangers a couple of shiny trinkets for him.
On the other hand, Hudgins, a 3rd round draft pick out of Stanford in 2003, has earned rave reviews from those who have watched him for his attitude, intelligence and mound presence, but has seemingly fallen out of favor with the organization because he doesn't throw hard. He was purportedly a favorite of deposed scouting director Grady Fuson, and the current Hart/Chiti regime prefers big guys who throw hard over finesse pitchers such as Hudgins, leading some of us to wonder what sort of future he has in the organization.
The way the team handles him upon his arrival in AAA should be telling. If he goes into the rotation, where his command and ability to shift speeds would be more of an asset, then it is a sign that the organization may be willing to overlook his lack of a blazing fastball. If Hudgins is relegated to a middle relief role, it would seem, to me, to be a sign that he is simply viewed as organizational depth, and may have to go elsewhere to get a real shot.
Conversely, Juan Dominguez's future may be brighter with a move to the pen. His fastball/change up combo is deadly, and even in the majors he has been great the first time through the lineup. However, if he doesn't develop a solid breaking ball, he's not likely to stick in a major league rotation -- very few starters can survive without three pitches.
But a two-pitch pitcher can excel in the bullpen...Keith Foulke and Trevor Hoffman leap to mind, as pitchers who have thrived as closers with primarily a fastball and a change. With Dominguez apparently fighting over integrating his breaking ball into his repetoire, it might be better for him, and for the team, if he is put into the bullpen and groomed as a setup man.