Rangers, James Loney reportedly agree to minor league deal

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Monday, January 23, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and free agent first baseman James Loney have agreed to a minor league contract, a person familiar with the deal said Monday.

Loney will join several others vying for time at first base for the Rangers after Mitch Moreland agreed to a deal with Boston and Prince Fielder was forced to retire because of a neck injury. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been announced.

If the left-handed Loney makes the major league roster out of spring training, the Rangers will be his fourth team since 2012 after the 32-year-old spent his first seven-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A first-round pick by the Dodgers in 2002, Loney is a career .284 hitter with 108 home runs and 669 RBI in 1,443 games. He hit .265 in 100 games with the New York Mets last season.

Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo, Ryan Rua and five-time All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton are the other current first base candidates for Texas. The list could be longer next month when the Rangers report to spring training in Surprise, Arizona.

Hamilton, trying to come back from three surgeries on his left knee since last playing in 2015, is on a minor league deal as well.

Loney had career highs in average (.331) and home runs (15) in 96 games with the Dodgers in 2007. Five years later, he was part of the nine-player trade with Boston that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers.

After signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent, Loney hit .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBI in 2013. Loney was released by the Rays before the start of last season.