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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ John Wetteland, the Texas Rangers' career saves leader, was hired by the team Thursday as a pitching instructor.

Wetteland's first assignment will be to spend about three weeks in the team's instructional league program that begins next week in Surprise, Ariz.

The 36-year-old Wetteland, who last pitched in 2000, was 48-45 with a 2.93 ERA and 330 saves in 618 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1989-91), Montreal Expos (1992-94), New York Yankees (1995-96) and Rangers (1997-2000).

He was forced to retire due to recurring back problems.

Wetteland was the MVP of the 1996 World Series when he saved all four Yankees victories against Atlanta. He is seventh on baseball's career saves list with 330, and had at least 40 in four seasons.

After joining the Rangers as a free agent, Wetteland saved 140 games over four seasons. He had 42 saves in 1998, and broke his single-season record a year later when he had 43 and made the All-Star team for the second year in a row.