UPDATE: Rangers among teams interested in Brad Hawpe

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UPDATE: According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers are interested in Hawpe. They are considering him as insurance at first base in case Mitch Moreland is slow coming back from wrist surgery.

9:31 PM: Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu news on the very same night? This Hot Stove is a-burnin’.

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com is reporting that Hawpe could be close to signing a minor league contract with a spring training invite. With whom? No idea. But three teams are currently in the mix.

Hawpe signed with the Padres last winter and batted just .231/.301/.344 with four homers, 19 RBI and a .645 OPS over 216 plate appearances before being placed on the disabled list in June with a strained left middle finger. However, his left elbow was the bigger issue, eventually requiring Tommy John surgery in August. The Padres declined his $6 million option for 2012 in October, making him a free agent.

Despite the surgery, Hawpe is said to be healthy and ready to compete for a big league job during spring training. The 32-year-old is coming off two terrible seasons, but handles right-handed pitching pretty well and his home-road splits aren’t as crazy as you’d think for someone who played a large chunk of games in Colorado. He’s worth the gamble, but given his poor reputation as a defender, he’s probably better off in the American League where he could DH.