Austin Bibens-Dirkx has signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. The 34 year old righthanded pitcher is starting tonight for the Nashville Sounds, the Rangers’ AAA affiliate.
Bibens-Dirkx was a minor league lifer who ended up making his major league debut in 2017 with the Rangers at the age of 32. He had a solid year for Texas, putting up a 4.67 ERA in 6 starts and 18 relief appearances, and was resigned to a minor league deal for 2018. Bibens-Dirkx struggled last year, though, and hasn’t pitched professionally in 2019.
This is presumably a move to shore up Nashville’s rotation depth. Joe Palumbo, who just made his first start for Nashville, is the one legitimate prospect in the Sounds rotation. Wes Benjamin, Pedro Payano, Tim Dillard, Seth Maness and Phillips Valdez are also starting for the Sounds, and presumably one or two of those guys will be going to the bullpen.
Kyle Dowdy has also been assigned to Nashville, according to the roster on the team’s website. Dowdy, a righthanded reliever who was a Rule 5 pick and is currently on the major league injured list, recently started a rehab assignment, having pitched an inning in the AZL. Dowdy can spend up to 30 days on the injured list while on a rehab assignment, and I would wager the Rangers will use all 30 days in order to avoid having to send someone else down to add Dowdy to the active roster until they absolutely have to.
UPDATE — ABD was, I was informed in the comments, pitching in Taiwan until a couple of weeks ago, when he returned to the U.S. because his wife was having a baby.