Bibens-Dirkx has signed a contract to return to the Rangers, and he will start for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday night, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports. Bibens-Dirkx signed a contract with the Uni-President Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League during the offseason, but he has decided to return stateside and rejoin his former club. Bibens-Dirkx started six games for the Rangers in both of the last two seasons, so he should garner consideration if the club decides to add a starter from the minor-league ranks.
Bibens-Dirkx (knee) has signed a contract with the Uni-President Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, Joey Hayden of the Dallas Morning Star reports. Bibens-Dirkx confirmed the signing on his Instagram account, along with the news that he and his wife are expecting a child. He underwent offseason knee surgery, but that has not impacted his offseason throwing program -- he's posted a few videos of him throwing to his Instagram page. The 33-year-old right-hander spent more than a decade in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut for the Rangers in 2017. In 52 appearances (12 starts) with Texas, Bibens-Dirkx went 7-5 with a 5.27 ERA over 114.1 innings.
Bibens-Dirkx was outrighted from the Rangers' 40-man roster Friday and is expected to elect free agency. The club also removed Clayton Blackburn, Brandon Mann, Carlos Perez and Ryan Rua from the 40-man roster, clearing up a few spots for younger prospects to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Bibens-Dirkx underwent left knee surgery to repair partially torn cartilage in mid-September, though he's expected to be ready for spring training.
Bibens-Dirkx will be recalled by the Rangers on Tuesday, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. The 33-year-old has thrown 41 innings for the Rangers this season, making six starts and four relief appearances. He hasn't had much success, posting a 6.59 ERA. While he doesn't walk many batters (5.9 percent), he also doesn't strike out enough (16.1 percent) or keep the ball on the ground (64.1 percent groundball rate). He'll likely be a low-leverage reliever for the Rangers down the stretch.
The Rangers optioned Bibens-Dirkx to Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. His demotion opens a spot on the active roster for Drew Hutchison, who was signed by the Rangers ahead of a scheduled start Sunday against the Orioles. Bibens-Dirkx made four appearances out of the bullpen during his latest stint with the Rangers, surrendering 16 earned runs and 17 hits and two walks over seven frames.
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