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Rangers' patience shows in Day 2 of draft

6/6/2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have preached patience when it comes to most of their draft picks through the years. And they don't mind extending that patience to injured players.

Texas drafted left-handed pitcher Wes Benjamin in the fifth round Friday, despite the fact the 20-year-old starter for the University of Kansas underwent Tommy John surgery less than two months ago.

"We evaluated him like he was healthy and liked what he can do," said Kip Fagg, Rangers director of amateur scouting. "Has two good breaking balls, a good frame and we got very good reports on him."

Benjamin was 4-0 with a 4.22 ERA in seven starts for the Jayhawks in his junior season and was the team's No. 1 starter until he tore his ulnar collateral ligament March 28 while playing against Oklahoma. He had seven shutout innings against Stanford and was one out away from a complete-game victory over No. 10 Texas in Austin on March 14.

The fact Benjamin doesn't turn 21 until July is one reason the club is willing to wait a year for him to rehab from Tommy John. It also shows how common the surgery has become and how confident the club is that young players can bounce back from it.

"He's going to work hard and do all the rehab and we'll monitor that," assistant general manager A.J. Preller said. "You look at these guys individually, but we like where he projects."

The Rangers also drafted a local player, center fielder Doug Votolato in the ninth round. He's a switch-hitter from Flower Mound (played at Marcus High School) who was at the University of Central Arkansas. He played in the infield and outfield and was the leadoff hitter, batting .379 with 10 doubles, two triples, a home run and 24 RBIs in 52 games. He also stole 26 bases.

A look at the Rangers' picks Friday:

SS Joshua Morgan (95th overall), Orange Lutheran High School (California): Posted a .300 or better average in each of the past three seasons and was in the USA Baseball 17U National Development Program.

LHP Brett Martin (126th overall), Walters State Community College (Tennessee): Fagg said he "can really spin the ball" and that the Rangers see him as a starter. Was 9-2 with a 3.83 ERA in 16 appearances (nine starts).

LHP Wes Benjamin (156th overall), University of Kansas: He was 4-0 with a 4.22 ERA in seven starts before Tommy John surgery.

3B Jose Trevino (186th overall), Oral Roberts: The club believes he can play second, shortstop, third and catcher. He last season caught some for right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, a player the Rangers took in the first round in 2013.

RHP Nick Green (216th overall), Indian Hills Community College (Iowa): A 20-year-old right-hander was 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in nine games. He pitched a no-hitter May 4.

RHP Erik Swanson (246th overall), Iowa Western Community College: Struck out 97 batters in 79 innings this season for a team that won the NJCAA Division I title. He won the outstanding pitcher award in the tournament.

CF Doug Votolato (276th overall), University of Central Arkansas: He's a Flower Mound Marcus product who can play infield and outfield and is a switch-hitter. He hit for high average and showed speed.

C Seth Spivey (306th overall), Abilene Christian University: Hit .341 with 13 doubles, three triples and five homers in 52 games as a senior in 2014.