Saturday, January 26, 2013
Club has minor-league deals with Nate Robertson, Jeff Baker
By Richard Durrett
The Texas Rangers announced Saturday that they have agreed to terms with infielder/outfielder Jeff Baker and left-handed pitcher Nate Robertson on minor-league deals with invitations to major league spring training. It puts the club's spring roster at 59 players.
Baker gives the club a right-handed bat and someone likely to compete for a utility spot, though it's worth noting that Baker isn't a shortstop. But in the past four seasons, he's played mostly at first, second and third and even has time in the corner outfield spots. So he's versatile.
Here's more information from the club's release:
Baker, 31, has spent the past eight seasons in the major leagues. In 2012, he combined to hit .239 (45-188) with four home runs and 25 RBI in 83 games with the Chicago Cubs, Detroit, and Atlanta. He has a career .266 average with 37 home runs and 178 RBI over 543 games with the Rockies (2005-09), Cubs (2009-12), Tigers (2012) and Braves (2012). Against left-handed pitchers, Baker has compiled a slash line of .296/.344/.498.
He was originally selected in the fourth round of the 2002 June draft by Colorado, and his only career postseason action came with the Rockies in 2007. He established career highs with 12 home runs, 48 RBI, and 22 doubles with Colorado in 2008, his only season with more than 100 games played. Baker has five career pinch-hit home runs and has made big league starts at second base (79), third base (41), first base (36) and the outfield (19).
Robertson, 35, pitched in 23 games, with two starts for Iowa (the Cubs Triple-A affiliate) and Las Vegas (the Blue Jays Triple-A club) last year, and also made three starts for the independent Wichita Wingnuts. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2010 and has a career 57-77 record with a 5.01 ERA (642 ER/1152.1 IP) in 223 games, with 187 in the majors with Florida (2002 and 2010), Detroit (2003-09) and Philadelphia (2010).