Rangers sign veteran Garrett Richards to pitch in relief

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Free agent right-hander Garrett Richards signed a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers, who are expected to use the former starter in a role pitching multiple innings out of the bullpen.

The deal guarantees Richards $5.5 million, including his $4.5 million salary this season. The Rangers also hold a $9 million club option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout.

Richards was 7-8 with a 4.87 ERA with the Boston Red Sox last season, when he started 22 games into early August before making his last 18 appearances out of the bullpen. Richards repeatedly acknowledged that his struggles last year were tied to a midseason crackdown by Major League Baseball on the use of illegal grip enhancers by pitchers.

The 33-year-old Richards has played 11 major league seasons, primarily with the Los Angeles Angels from 2011-18. He was with San Diego for two seasons before last year with Boston. His career record is 54-59 with a 3.81 ERA over 227 games (150 starts).

To make room for Richards on their roster, the Rangers placed right-handed pitcher Jonathan Hernandez on the 60-day injured list. He is rehabbing from Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow in April 2021.