Rangers Ponder Conversion For Jairo Beras

Jairo Beras (Photo by Carl Kline)

Jairo Beras was arguably the most controversial signing from the Dominican Republic in the past decade. Now his career could be taking a curious turn.

The athletic, strong-armed right fielder is on the verge of becoming a full-time reliever. The organization became more open to the idea after watching Beras throw 98 mph in a May 17 game with high Class A Down East.

That outing was his only professional pitching appearance through the end of May. The Rangers, though, believe the 22-year-old Beras is leaning toward leaving the outfield to become a full-time righthander.

“He’s still playing the outfield right now, but he enjoyed it when he went out there (on the mound) the other day,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “That’s not the kind of decision you make without some thought. It might be a matter of days. It might be later.”

Beras began a pitcher’s long-toss program, but he didn’t immediately throw off a mound or even on flat ground after his scoreless inning. He threw only fastballs, so even if he does decide to give pitching a try, he will be starting from scratch.

But the velocity was eye-opening and something the Rangers wouldn’t mind seeing again from the 6-foot-6 Beras, whose bat hasn’t developed at the rate the Rangers believed it would when they signed him for $4.5 million in February 2012.

The signing irked many across baseball because Beras was believed to be not yet eligible to sign. The Rangers though, uncovered a birth certificate showing that he was 17 and signed him before new international signing rules took effect.

The signing was ultimately approved by Major League Baseball, but Beras was suspended for 2012 because he had registered as a 16-year-old.

Five years later, he was repeating high Class A and had hit .230 with four home runs and 50 strikeouts in 40 games.

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