C.J. Wilson agrees to $1.85M deal with Rangers

Updated: January 20, 2009, 7:32 PM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Relief pitcher C.J. Wilson agreed Tuesday to a $1.85 million, one-year contract with the Texas Rangers, though the left-hander may no longer be the team's primary closer.

Wilson was 2-2 with 24 saves in 28 chances last season before he underwent arthroscopic surgery in mid-August to remove bone spurs from his left elbow. He allowed 11 earned runs in six innings his last eight appearances, his ERA rising from 4.34 to 6.02 in that stretch.

With the deal, the Rangers avoided arbitration with Wilson, like they did with reliever Frank Francisco late Monday night. That left outfielder Marlon Byrd as the last Texas player in arbitration.

The 28-year-old Wilson made 50 relief appearances last season and made $417,460. His new contract includes unspecified performance bonuses.

Francisco took over as the closer at the end of last season, and didn't allow an earned run his final 11 appearances while going 5-for-5 in save chances in that span. He was 3-5 with the five saves and a 3.13 ERA in 58 appearances.

Francisco agreed to a $1.6 million, one-year contract, a raise from $775,000 last season.

Wilson was put on the disabled list after an Aug. 5 game against the New York Yankees. Pitching in a non-save situation to work out some mechanical problems, Wilson gave up an eighth-inning grand slam in that game and admitted afterward that his elbow had been bothering him.

After consulting with Dr. Lewis Yocum, who also performed Wilson's elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2004, Wilson had a season-ending operation. He is expected to be ready Rangers pitchers report to spring training in Surprise, Ariz. on Feb. 14.

Eddie Guardado initially took over as the closer, but was traded to Minnesota on Aug. 25, when Francisco took over that role.

Game notes
Texas is close to a contract with free agent shortstop Omar Vizquel. The 41-year-old Vizquel, a three-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove winner, could be a utility player and a mentor to rookie SS Elvis Andrus, the 20-year-old whose ascension has led Texas to move five-time All-Star SS Michael Young to third base. ... The Rangers announced individual ticket price, and the only increase is for non-premier games are lower infield seats ($60 to $65). Adult tickets range from $6 to $70 for non-premier games and $11-85 for 16 premier games. The number of all-you-can-eat seats increased and will be offered every home game. A new family package includes four tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks, a parking pass and unlimited play in the kids' sports park for as low as $60.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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