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McClellan signs with Rangers

2013-01-15T14:35:00Z 2013-01-15T15:29:55Z McClellan signs with RangersBy Derrick Goold dgoold@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8285 stltoday.com

Former Cardinals reliever Kyle McClellan has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers.

McClellan, 28, will go to spring training with a chance to compete for a spot in the rotation or the bullpen.

"I think it's the right fit for a lot of reasons," McClellan said Tuesday morning. "It's an organization that I see a lot of similarities to St. Louis. It has an ownership and front office that wants to win and a fanbase that expects them to win and shows up for the team. ... I get the same vibe from Texas.

"It will be familiar for me as far as the organization goes. The opportunity is there for me to show I can be a consistent major-league pitcher and prove that I can take the ball every day. They also have an opportunity to win. That was something that was an important part of my decision."

The Hazelwood West grad was limited to 16 games this past season because of elbow and shoulder injuries that led to surgery. He had a split in his shoulder capsule repaired and, while the surgeon was in his right shoulder, the labrum cleaned up.

McClellan threw off the mound Monday for the first time since surgery. He threw about 15 pitches at 50 percent. He plans to move his throws to the Rangers’ facility in Arizona on Feb. 1 to continue strengthening his arm ahead of the official report date.

By the time he relocates to Arizona he'll have thrown nine bullpens according to his current schedule.

A 25th-round selection by the Cardinals in 2002, McClellan leapfrogged from the Class AA bullpen to the big-league bullpen and made his debut in 2008. In five seasons with the Cardinals, McClellan was 19-23 with a 3.69 ERA in 261 appearances. He was among the league leaders in holds during his first three seasons with his hometown team, and in 2011 he filled in as a starter, going 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 17 games.

Earlier this month, the Rangers signed former Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter. The Rangers have also been linked to Kyle Lohse, the former Cardinals starter who would fill a vacancy in the Rangers' rotation.

Derrick Goold covers the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for The Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @dgoold or on Facebook at Facebook.com/BirdLandPD

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Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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