Rangers release Brad Hawpe

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers released first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe following Thursday's game.

Hawpe, 32, had an out in his contract that kicked in Friday morning at 11 a.m. CT if the club hadn't signed him by then. Hawpe showed a pretty good swing this spring. But he's a left-handed hitter who can't throw from the outfield in game action because he's still recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had on his left elbow Aug. 5, 2011.

"We want to give him a chance to catch on with someone else," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. "If that doesn't happen, he's got a spot with us. Can't say enough about him as a person, not to mention how well he's been swinging the bat."

For a club that needs a right-handed outfield off the bench, Hawpe just wasn't a need. Texas still has Michael Young and Mike Napoli who can play first when Mitch Moreland isn't out there. And if Hawpe can't play the outfield -- he may be another month or more away from being able to throw in a game from the outfield -- then he doesn't have a spot on the club's major league roster.

Hawpe was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Thursday. If Hawpe doesn't find a major league job, the Rangers are interested in signing him to a minor-league deal.

Hawpe, who is from Fort Worth, played in 62 games for the San Diego Padres in 2011 and hit .231 with four homers and 19 RBIs. He was put on the disabled list on June 19 and stayed on it through the end of the season with a torn ulnar nerve in his elbow that required surgery.

Hawpe's last full season was 2009 in Colorado, when he batted .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBIs.