The 25-year-old Koronka was 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in 10 games with the Cubs this spring. He becomes the second Cubs pitcher dealt to Texas in the past several months. In November, right-hander Jon Leicester was traded to the Rangers for a player to be named later.
Koronka was with the Cubs Friday in Las Vegas -- the site of the team’s two-game exhibition series with the San Diego Padres before Monday's regular season opener in Cincinnati -- when manager Dusty Baker, general manager Jim Hendry and pitching coach Larry Rothschild pulled him aside and gave the news.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Koronka told Inside The Ivy by phone. “They talked to me about what was going on and how they were going to break camp with 11 pitchers instead of 12. I didn’t have much of a reaction. I sort of kept waiting for them to say something else.”
This will be Koronka’s second stint with the Rangers. He was selected by Texas in the 2002 Rule Five draft, but was returned to the Cincinnati Reds in Spring Training the following season. Later that year, he was sent to the Cubs for LHP Phil Norton.
Koronka spent time last year with Triple-A Iowa and the big league club. He had been hoping for one of the final spots in the Cubs’ bullpen before the trade.
Instead, he’ll most likely jump into the Rangers rotation as the team’s fifth starter on a pitching staff anchored by right-handers Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla.
Rangers starter Adam Eaton figures to miss at least three months with an injured tendon in his pitching hand, opening up the potential spot for Koronka.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen yet,” Koronka said of his role with the Rangers. “I certainly hope that will be the plan.”
Last year at Triple-A, Koronka was 9-11 with a 4.24 ERA in 21 starts. He appeared in four games with the big league club, making his major league debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 1 and allowing three runs in five innings for a victory. He struck out 108 and walked 56 between Chicago and Iowa.
Koronka didn’t get an overwhelming amount of major league experience with the Cubs, but he chooses to carry the lessons he did learn from pitching there over to his new team.
“I didn’t get a whole lot of time up there obviously, but I think I got enough to learn how to relax a little,” Koronka said. “I came to Spring Training this year a less hyper guy. I was extremely calm and more relaxed on the mound. Hopefully, it’s something I can take with me over to Texas.”
In eight minor league seasons between the Cubs and Reds, Koronka was 59-71 with a 4.37 ERA, 774 strikeouts and 431 walks.
“I’m sad to leave the Cubs,” he said. “They were the ones who got me into the big leagues, but this is a new chance with a new team. Hopefully they saw something in me and I hope I can re-pay them.”
As part of the three-way deal, the Cubs acquired 26-year-old Freddie Bynum. Bynum was the A’s second round pick in the 2000 draft and made his major league debut with Oakland last season, appearing in seven games. He is a career .275 minor league hitter in six seasons with the A’s farm system and batted .278 in 102 games for Triple-A Sacramento last year.
The Rangers sent RHP Juan Dominguez to Oakland and received LHP John Rheinecker from the A's as part of the swap.
With the acquisition of the versatile Bynum, who has played the outfield, second base and shortstop the last three seasons in the A's minor league system, the Cubs have now finalized their 25-man roster.
Upon acquiring Bynum, they placed RHP Wade Miller on the disabled list and optioned INF Ryan Theriot to Triple-A.
E-mail Steve Holley: firstname.lastname@example.org.