Jepsen was released Friday after refusing a minor-league assignment, John Blake of the Texas Rangers reports. Jepsen was designated for assignment Monday, and he'll look to catch on elsewhere after being cut. He accrued a 5.94 ERA and 1.56 WHIP with eight strikeouts across 16.2 innings with the Rangers this season.
Jepsen was designated for assignment Monday. Jepsen struggled greatly through 16.2 innings for the Rangers this season, posting a 5.94 ERA and an even worse 7.46 FIP. He walked more batters (11) than he struck out (eight). The 33-year-old hasn't posted an ERA below 5.90 since 2015, so the odds of him getting picked up by another team aren't particularly high. In a corresponding move, Matt Bush was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.
Jepsen retired the side in order, striking out one, to register his second hold of the season in Sunday's 7-4 win over the Mariners. It was a tight, one-run game when Jepsen came on the face some of the Mariners' most dangerous hitters -- Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger -- and allowed no runs for the ninth time in 11 appearances. He's settling into an eighth-inning setup role for the Rangers and has a 1.69 ERA over 10.2 innings. Should there be any need to move Keone Kela out of the closer's role, Jepsen would be considered as a potential replacement.
Jepsen will be behind Keone Kela for save chances to begin the season, Levi Weaver of The Athletic Dallas reports. A non-roster invitee to major-league camp, Jepsen turned in a stellar spring, striking out nine without a walk in 10.2 innings. His contract was officially selected Thursday. As Weaver puts it, "It's [Kela's job] until he can't, and then it's Jepsen." Alex Claudio will also be in the mix for occasional opportunities, but with Jepsen entering Opening Day as the next man up behind Kela -- who has dealt with injuries issues throughout his young career -- there will likely be many in AL-only leagues scrambling to add him to their rosters.
Manager Jeff Banister included Jepsen when talking about his options to close games, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. "We have a couple of guys we are comfortable closing out a game for us," the manager said. "[Keone] Kela, [Kevin] Jepsen, [Jake] Diekman ... these guys have shown the ability to close games for us. We have some options available to us." Banister also mentioned Alex Claudio, the man who finished last season as the closer, but would like to use him up and down the inning spectrum. Jepsen, 33, appears to be on the outside of that group, but he did save 22 games in 2015 and 2016 for the Rays and Twins. The non-roster invitee was a pleasant surprise this spring, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over 10.2 innings. The bullpen was a disaster in 2017, so anyone who gets outs consistently will pitch high-leverage situations.
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