Texas Rangers transactions: Matt Bush has been recalled from AAA Round Rock today, the Rangers announced. To make room for him on the active roster, the team has designated relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen for assignment. The Rangers also announced they have activated Drew Robinson from the disabled list and optioned him to AAA Round Rock.
Bush was optioned after a rough start to the 2018 campaign, as he struggled with his command and fell out of the Jeff Banister Tree of Trust. Bush appeared in 13 games for Texas, spanning 11.1 IP, with 11 Ks, 9 walks and 2 home runs allowed, putting up a 3.97 ERA and a 6.14 FIP. Jon Daniels said the Rangers had some specific things they wanted him to work on in AAA, and in his last three outings he has struck out 6 batters in three innings, allowing no runs, no walks and 3 hits. Overall for Round Rock, he made 8 appearances, allowed 2 runs — both in his second appearance after being sent down — striking out 14 and walking 4 in 9 innings of work.
Jepsen was one of the stars of spring training, and appeared to have made the adjustments necessary to be successful in the major leagues again after a bad 2016 season and a 2017 campaign that was spent in the minors. Jeff Banister anointed him the “backup closer” — the guy who would close when Keone Kela wasn’t available -- and he was used in high-leverage situations early on, and pitched well, putting up a 1.69 ERA in his first 11 appearances, allowing opposing hitters just a 481 OPS against him.
Since then, however, Jepsen has not been good -- in his last 10 appearances he has a 13.50 ERA and has allowed opposing batters to hit .310/.444/.828 against him, for a 1272 OPS, including 4 home runs and 7 walks over a 37 batter stretch. I had argued at the end of April that Jepsen was fine when he wasn’t pitching on back-to-back days, but of late he’s not been good no matter how much rest he has.
The Rangers now have 7 days to waive, trade or release Jepsen, who is off the 40 man roster effective immediately. The Rangers’ 40 man roster now stands at 39.
Robinson was placed on the disabled list with a hip issue, and had been on a rehab assignment with AA Frisco.