Texas Rangers Opening Day roster: The Rangers have announced that RHP Phil Klein has made the big league roster for Opening Day. With a fifth starter not needed until April 8, the Rangers have elected to keep Klein on the roster as long relief insurance.
Presumably, A.J. Griffin is still the fifth starter of choice for the Rangers but they are afforded the ability to wait things out a little longer. LHP Cesar Ramos -- who has experience as a reliever but worked as a starter this spring -- was another option for long relief but the Rangers are going with Klein. Per the beats, Ramos has been offered a spot at Round Rock but has the ability to decline and become a free agent.
As for Klein, the big 6' 7" righty made his debut with the Rangers in 2014 as one of the million guys who played for Texas in that cursed season. In 17 games, all out of the 'pen, Klein allowed just six earned runs in 19 innings. In 2015, Klein earned a spot on the Opening Day roster but struggled a bit before the Rangers sent him down mid-April to work as a starter.
Klein returned in May and made two starts. In the first start of his big league career against Boston he allowed a lone run in 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Klein's second start didn't go as well as he allowed six runs to the Indians in just two innings.
After being sent down following that start, Klein returned once again in late July. Eventually, however, he was bumped from the bullpen by the acquisitions of Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman. Klein finished the season in the Round Rock rotation including throwing 13 shutout innings in two postseason starts for the Express.
A 30th round pick in 2011, Klein has a career 2.14 ERA in the minors and was named the Rangers' minor league reliever of the year in 2014.