The Texas Rangers agreed with free agent right-hander A.J. Griffin on a minor-league contract for the 2016 season. The news was confirmed by MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan on Monday, and then by Griffin himself on Twitter:
Excited for this next chapter! Hello #Texas— AJ Griffin (@griffin_64) December 21, 2015
Griffin, 27, was a part of the Oakland Athletics' pitching staff in 2012 and 2013 - going 21-11 with a 3.60 ERA in that span - but the past two seasons have been a struggle.
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In April of 2014, Griffin underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and was lost for the year. Last season, he had an on-again, off-again rehab assignment in the minor leagues but was unable to make it back to the majors, eventually being shut down again with more elbow issues in mid-June. The A's cut ties with him last month, which could indicate they weren't very optimistic about his chances of returning to the pitching staff.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have invited Griffin to spring training. If his current throwing program remains on-target and without any additional setbacks, he'd have a chance to earn a spot on the club's pitching staff if he pitches well in the spring.
After throwing exactly 200 innings with the A's in 2013 right before the elbow issues began, however, it makes sense to assume Griffin would probably be best-suited for a relief role at this point in his career...if he's able to finally overcome those troublesome elbow concerns.