ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are talking with outfielder Kevin Mench about a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, but want to make sure he is willing to go to Triple-A Oklahoma if he doesn't makes the team. That provision could decide whether Mench is with the Rangers in Spring Training next week. If Mench signs with the Rangers, he would be competing with Jason Botts, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy for a backup outfield spot. The starting outfield appears set with Marlon Byrd in left, Josh Hamilton in center and Milton Bradley in right.
The Rangers could use outfield depth at Triple-A, but Mench would have to agree with it. Some non-roster players have clauses in their contract that allow them to become a free agent at the end of Spring Training if they are not added to the 25-man roster. Pitcher Jason Davis signed a non-roster contract that allows him to become a free agent on March 29 if he is not added to the roster. Mench was the Rangers' fourth-round pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft and played for them from 2002-2006. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 28, 2006, along with Francisco Cordero, Laynce Nix and Julian Cordero for outfielder Carlos Lee and Cruz. In a part-time role for the Brewers last season, Mench batted .267 with eight home runs, 37 RBIs, a .305 on-base percentage and a .441 slugging percentage. He hit .314 against left-handed pitchers and .212 against right-handers.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.