Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: August 2, 9:12 PM ET
Ryan Dempster embracing Rangers
By David Collier
Special to ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The newly acquired Ryan Dempster arrived in Texas and got his first visit with the Rangers media on Wednesday.
Dempster, who was made a Ranger in a three-player deal with the Chicago Cubs just before the trade deadline on Tuesday, was all smiles in delivering his message of happiness to be back with the team that selected him in the third round of the 1995 draft.
"I'm really excited to be here and be a part of the Texas Rangers' organization," Dempster said. "It's kind of neat to get drafted by them when I was an 18-year-old kid and to end up back here pitching for them. To go from fifth place to first place, that doesn't happen very often. I'm just excited for the opportunity with a chance to go back to the playoffs and try to go win a World Series."
The Rangers added Dempster to the active roster before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels. To make room, left-hander Martin Perez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. Rookie reliever Robbie Ross gave up his No. 46 to Dempster and will wear No. 28.
Dempster last made a playoff appearance in 2008 with the Cubs. He mentioned having a chance to contend for the World Series title as a huge reason he is thrilled to be with Texas.
"That's something we all play for in the offseason when we're training and getting ready," Dempster said. "That's what you're doing it for. You're doing it to go out there and try to win a World Series. I'm looking forward to an opportunity here to do that."
There was a lot of drama surround Dempster leading up to the All-Star break. It was widely thought that he wanted to end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he admitted that he did have great interest in the Dodgers.
"I thought it would be a place that was a good fit for me," Dempster said. "I'm from the West Coast. There were a lot of reasons, but that didn't mean I was going to say no to every other place or anything like that. I, actually, never said no to a single trade, even ... the supposed trade to the Braves. I just needed time. That's all. The reality of it is that there weren't many offers until the last minute.
"As soon as they said Texas was interested, I was extremely interested. Then, it came to fruition very fast. They said they had something, and I said, 'Yes, absolutely.' I was excited to come down here and play. ... I just wanted to do the right thing for me and my family. I think I made a really great choice in coming here. I'm just trying to fit in and be a piece of this puzzle that they already have working here. They're in first place and are doing great things. Hopefully, I can just help along the way."
The 35-year-old has done a lot in his career, but he never has pitched in the American League. Learning hitters that he never has faced could be a big adjustment, but Dempster doesn't buy into that.
"I think with video nowadays you can watch a lot of video in a short amount of time and get up to speed on hitters," he said. "It doesn't take over for actually facing them and getting a feeling for them, but at the end of the day, if you just make good, quality pitches and put the ball in the right spot, I think that's going to get any major league hitter out. That's going to be my focus. And it works the other way, too. A lot of these guys haven't faced me before. Hopefully, that is something that plays to my advantage as well."
With Colby Lewis out for the year and Roy Oswalt being moved to the bullpen, Dempster is the lone veteran in the rotation. He said he's not worried about being a teacher to the other guys.
"I just try to go out there and be a part of the staff and try to learn from each other," Dempster said. "They've got a bunch of good young arms and a bunch of these guys have been through the playoffs the past couple of years. If I can go out there and hopefully eat up some innings and do my job and teach a thing or two and learn a thing or two from them, I think it's a great situation for all involved."
David Collier is a contributor to ESPNDallas.com.