The Texas Rangers have purchased the contract of pitcher Hunter Wood. To make room for him on the active roster, the team has optioned Wes Benjamin to AAA Round Rock. To make room for him on the 40 man roster, the Rangers have designated catcher Jack Kruger for assignment.
Wood, 27, is a former 29th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays out of Howard College. He spent some time in the Rays bullpen from 2017-19 and pitched well, then was traded to Cleveland during the 2019 season. Wood was DFA’d by the Indians prior to the start of the 2020 season, and spent the summer at the Indians’ Alternate Training Site. He was signed as a free agent this winter by the Rangers.
Wood made a good impression in spring training, and it sounded like, per the beats at the time, he was in the mix for a spot on the Opening Day roster. In two appearances for the Express this year he faced 11 batters, struck out 5, walked 1, allowed a hit, and hit a batter.
The hope was that when Wes Benjamin was recalled he would look more like the pitcher who won a spot on the Opening Day roster with a strong spring, but in yesterday’s start he struggled with location, couldn’t get the Astros hitters to chase, and didn’t make it out of the second. He’ll be back in the Round Rock rotation for a while.
Kruger was a catcher claimed on waivers from the Anaheim Angels seemingly because the Rangers had a spot they could open up on the 40 man roster. He will presumably be placed on waivers and, if he goes unclaimed, will be outrighted to Round Rock.