Former Chicago Cubs right-hander Randy Wells, a Belleville East graduate, was looking for another opportunity in the major leagues and it came from the Texas Rangers.
The 30-year-old right-hander has signed a minor-league contract with the Rangers that includes an invitation to spring training.
"It was a minor-league deal, but it's a pretty good opportunity for me," said Wells, a Belleville resident who was 1-2 in 12 games with the Cubs last season before undergoing surgery on his right elbow in July. "A lot of it depends on what the rest of the staff looks like. They definitely are giving me a shot to make the team, whether it's in the (bull)pen or as a starter."
Wells was 28-32 with the Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays in five major-league seasons. His best seasons came as s starter with the Cubs in 2009 (12-10, 3.05 ERA) and 2010 (8-14, 4.26 ERA).
Wells said another factor that helped him with the Rangers was advance scout Mike Anderson. Anderson was his pitching coach in the Cubs' organization, where he made the conversion from full-time catching to pitching.
"It's a good opportunity and a place I really wanted to play," said Wells. "It's obvious I'm at a crossroad. I had a pretty good run in Chicago and the injury bug bit me; I kind of got written off a little bit.
"Now this is a chance for me to go somewhere new and have an opportunity to pitch for a really good ball club."
Wells has resumed throwing in Belleville and said he has experienced no setbacks.
"Everything feels good, it seems strong and I'm getting it built up again," he said. "I'm real excited about being in baseball again and looking forward to being a Texas Ranger.
"We got some looks from a lot of teams. It ultimately came down to where I wanted to play and where I am comfortable at. It's kind of nice to be healthy."
Contact reporter Norm Sanders at email@example.com or 239-2454.