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    Rangers pick Russell Wilson in Rule 5; sign four to minor deals

    10:17 AM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
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    Lake Buena Vista, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers signed four players to minor league contracts on Thursday and also selected NFL star quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

    The Rangers agreed to terms with infielders Brent Lillibridge and Kevin Kouzmanoff, shortstop Josh Wilson and pitcher Armando Rodriguez on minor league deals with invitations to spring training.

    Russell Wilson was available in the Rule 5 Draft after playing two seasons in the minor league system of the Colorado Rockies. The current Seattle Seahawks star batted .229 with five homers and 26 RBI in 93 games of Class-A ball in 2010-11.

    Lillibridge joins the Rangers after splitting last season with the Cubs and Yankees. He appeared in 20 games overall for both clubs and batted just .119 with five runs batted in, while batting .277 in 89 games at the Triple-A level.

    The 30-year-old journeyman is a career .205 hitter in 358 games with Atlanta (2008), the White Sox (2009-12), Boston (2012), the Cubs and Yankees. He has made at least 10 big league starts at every position except catcher.

    Kouzmanoff struggled with injuries at Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins' system last year, appearing in just 60 games while spending three different stints on the disabled list. He is a career .255 hitter with 85 homers and 361 RBI in 672 games with Cleveland (2006), San Diego (2007-09), Oakland (2010-11) and Colorado (2011).

    Josh Wilson appeared in 30 games with Arizona last season and batted .200 with a homer and four runs batted in. He has a .225 career average in 386 big league games with the Marlins (2005), Nationals (2007), Rays (2007), Diamondbacks (2009, '11, 13), Padres (2009), Mariners (2009-10) and Brewers (2011).

    Rodriguez had spent his entire pro career in the Mets farm system. The 26- year-old right-hander was 2-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 50 relief appearances last year between Double-A and Triple-A.

    The Rangers also agreed to terms with pitcher Doug Mathis on a minor league deal. Mathis pitched in the majors with the Rangers from 2008-10, posting a record of 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA in 45 games.

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