Brad Hawpe says he'll be ready for spring

ARLINGTON, Texas -- First baseman and outfielder Brad Hawpe, signed by the Rangers to a minor league deal on Friday, said his rehab from Tommy John elbow surgery last June is going well and he's confident he'll be ready for spring training.

"I'll be ready to rock and roll," Hawpe said. "I've been swinging and throwing the ball in the infield. I'm not quite ready to throw in the outfield yet, but we've still got a month before the first grounder is even hit in spring training. I feel good."

Hawpe, 32, said more than the proximity of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to his house in Westlake, it was the chance to compete for a spot on the depth chart that enticed him to come to Texas.

"I've been talking with Jon Daniels for the last month, and it was the opportunity that intrigued me," Hawpe said. "They said if I can come in and play the way I'm capable of and have in the past, I'll have a chance. That's what I want."

If he can prove he's healthy and show signs of returning to form (he has a career average of .276 with Colorado (2004-2010), Tampa Bay (2010) and San Diego (2011), he could give the Rangers some depth in the outfield and at first base. He hit just .231 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 62 games before surgery last year.

Hawpe said he's swinging fully without any pain and is pleased with how his arm strength is building up.

"I'm excited to get going and be with this team," Hawpe said. "They've got a great group of veteran hitters and solid defenders and you add to that young guys who have a real presence and are contributing and it's an impressive group. I don't consider myself a young guy at 32, but I don't think I'm a veteran yet, either. I think I'm right in the middle, like a lot of those guys. I just want to help."