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Tim Lincecum, Tony Barnette likely disabled list bound

Relievers Tim Lincecum and Tony Barnette appear likely to start the 2018 season on the d.l.

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

Tim Lincecum and Tony Barnette, Texas Rangers relief pitchers, will likely start the 2018 season on the disabled list, per the beat guys. Lincecum is still building up to regular season strength after signing and starting camp late, while Barnette has been slowed by a back issue.

Neither pitcher appears likely to miss significant time, but a d.l. stint to start the year would mean that each would miss the first week of the season. The consensus seems to be that pitcher Kevin Jepsen, in camp on a minor league deal, has the inside track to fill one of those spots in the bullpen after a strong camp. Jepsen, 33, has a 3.92 ERA in 400 major league innings, mostly with the Angels, and was particularly good in 2014 and 2015. Jepsen struggled in 2016, however, was released by the Diamondbacks at the end of the spring of 2017, and ended up pitching the final couple of months of the year with the Nationals’ AAA affiliate, where he put up a 5.32 ERA in 23 innings.

The final few spots on the roster appear to be a bit fluid, as its still not been determined whether Martin Perez will start the season on the disabled list. He also would likely miss just the first week, which could offer a reprieve for Rule 5 pick Carlos Tocci, should the Rangers opt to go with a four man bench and keep Tocci around for at least the first week of the season.