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Nick Gardewine optioned, Jon Niese released

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The Rangers announced today they optioned pitcher Nick Gardewine to the minors and released pitcher Jon Niese

MLB: Texas Rangers-Media Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers announced today that pitcher Nick Gardewine has been optioned to AAA Round Rock, and pitcher Jon Niese has been released.

Gardewine, 24, was called up to the majors in August, 2017, to fortify an ailing Ranger bullpen. With the pen currently healthy and fairly deep, Gardewine was viewed as unlikely to make the Opening Day roster. He will be in Round Rock working out of the pen and offering the Rangers depth should their bullpen need reinforcements later this year.

Niese, 31, was on a minor league deal. He had spent most of his career with the Mets, and was in camp attempting to work his way back from injuries that cost him the 2017 season. He was diagnosed with a strained shoulder muscle earlier this week, which is going to sideline him for several more weeks. Niese is now a free agent.