Hall of Famer Maddux back at Rangers camp

Brother of pitching coach Mike Maddux works with pitchers as special assistant

Hall of Famer Maddux back at Rangers camp

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Relievers Phil Klein and Jon Edwards are in their first big league camp. As they rotated fields during pitchers' fielding practice, they found themselves working on comebackers with one of the special assistants in Rangers camp.

Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux was hitting them grounders back to the mound.

"It probably hasn't sunk in yet," Klein said. "You heard so much about him growing up, it's so surreal. He was one of the greatest of all time."

"His personality has a way of relaxing you," Edwards said. "He's having fun while you are doing it."

Maddux had a few autograph requests but otherwise just blended in with the rest of the Rangers' field staff.

"That's the way he is," said older brother Mike Maddux, who is the Rangers' pitching coach. "That's why I admire him. He is the guy next door. Accolades aside, that's what he is. It's not like he walks around with a letterman's jacket with HOF on it."

Greg Maddux was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, but he is still back for his fourth season as a special assistant. He will be in and out of camp all spring.

"Of course," he said. "It's baseball … the whole package."

Worth noting

• Shortstop Elvis Andrus was in camp and working out on Saturday. Position players aren't required to be here until Wednesday.

Outlook: Andrus, SS, TEX

Mitch Moreland has been in Arizona since the beginning of the year. He is coming back from left ankle surgery and did his rehab work at an institute in Phoenix.

• Manager Jeff Banister talked about the importance of pitchers' fielding practice. Said Banister, "I don't want the ball to hit the ground. If you want to be an elite organization, you've got to have championship execution. Our goal is we want to get through the day without the ball hitting the ground. Try to execute the proper mechanics of playing the game."

• The Rangers had four groups of four pitchers throw in the bullpen on Saturday. The 16 pitchers threw 30-45 pitches each. The Rangers have 33 pitchers in camp, and 15 will throw their bullpens on Sunday. Martin Perez and Matt Harrison are not yet throwing off a mound.

• One group of four consisted of the Rangers' projected starting rotation: Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish and Yovani Gallardo. Another group consisted of four top pitching prospects: Alex Gonzalez, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher and Luke Jackson.

• The other prime candidates for the rotation all threw on Saturday. Ross Detwiler threw in a group that included Ross Wolf, Anthony Ranaudo, and Anthony Bass. The other group consisted of Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez, Lisalverto Bonilla and Ross Ohlendorf.

• Banister on the need for pitchers to be careful on the first day of throwing: "You can't make the club on Day 1, but you can eliminate yourself by getting hurt."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.