The Rangers brought in 14 pitchers, including several rising young prospects, for a minicamp that opened Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark. It was too soon for right-hander Cody Buckel to be included.

A year ago, this would have been unthinkable.

Buckel had won the Nolan Ryan pitcher of the year award as the top minor league arm. Arizona insisted Buckel be included in a deal for outfielder Justin Upton, who ended up with Atlanta. Buckel topped the organization’s list of pitching prospects.

Buckel went to spring training with the major league team on a nonroster basis. In his first appearance, against the Chicago White Sox, Buckel walked five of the seven hitters he faced and never escaped the clutches of what is referred to in clubhouses as “The Thing.”

Buckel never shook the mental beast. He made only eight minor league appearances last season and allowed 35 walks in 102/3 innings.

The Rangers and Buckel are gradually putting it all back together. The club believes Buckel, at 22, can return to top-shelf prospect status.