Rangers Moves: Ian Kinsler Returns From Paternity Leave, Mike Napoli To DL

The Rangers have placed Nelson Cruz on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.

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13 Total Updates since April 6, 2011
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Rangers Lose Mike Napoli To Strained Oblique, Call Up Taylor Teagarden

On day after Ian Kinsler returned to the lineup after his paternity leave and the Rangers sent Chris Davis back to Round Rock, they have placed Mike Napoli on the disabled list with a strained oblique. To replace him they brought back Taylor Teagarden.

We’ve seen from Tommy Hunter that a seemingly minor oblique strain can become a long term headache, so this is really bad news for the Rangers. Napoli has played 46 of 66 games in 2011 and has hit .221/.344/.493. Even with a recent slide that’s the third highest OPS among 11 Rangers with at least 60 AB this season.

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Rangers Place Ian Kinsler On Paternity Leave

Following in the footsteps of Colby Lewis, Ian Kinsler has taken advantage of MLB’s new paternity leave and will be away from the team for 1-3 days. Chris Davis comes up from Triple-A Round Rock to replace him. Davis is in the lineup Wednesday, playing third and hitting ninth.

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Nelson Cruz Placed On Disabled List

The Texas Rangers have placed outfielder Nelson Cruz on the 15-day disabled list, listing the injury as a strained right quadriceps. 

Cruz last appeared in a game on May 3, in Texas' 4-3 loss to Seattle. The news that Cruz is hitting the disabled list is somewhat surprising, given that it was hoped that Cruz would return to the lineup this weekend against the Yankees. Cruz will now be sidelined until at least May 19. 

Texas is now without their best hitter (Josh Hamilton) and arguably their second best hitter in Cruz. 

Cruz has struggled a bit this year, though. Through 105 at bats, Cruz is hitting just .219/.303/.438 with seven home runs and 18 runs batted in. 

Craig Gentry has been recalled from AAA Round Rock to take Cruz' spot on the active roster. 

Should Cruz return when he is eligible to return, it will be in time for interleague play as the Rangers head to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies on May 20. Cruz will miss the remainder of this weekend's series with the Yankees, as well as series' against the A's, White Sox, Angels and Royals

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Rangers Activate Neftali Feliz

The Texas Rangers activated closer Neftali Feliz from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. Feliz had been sidelined with shoulder inflammation, but has seemingly fully recovered. Feliz made one rehab appearance for AA Frisco, pitching one inning and allowing one hit  while striking out the side.

Feliz' return will obviously help a dinged up Texas bullpen. Both Darren O'Day and Mason Tobin are on the 60-day disabled list. Lefties Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver will be able to resume normal roles as well, allowing Ron Washington to manage his bullpen with a bit more ease knowing that Feliz will be the guy in the ninth inning.

Texas has sent down catcher Taylor Teagarden to Round Rock to make room for Feliz on the active roster.

Feliz hasn't appeared in a game with the Rangers since Texas' 4-1 loss to the Angels on April 20th. He returns just in time to face the New York Yankees, who remember Feliz quite well from the 2010 ALCS. Feliz struck out Alex Rodriguez looking to end the series and send Texas to their first ever World Series.

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Texas Rangers Sign Leonys Martin

The Texas Rangers have finally been cleared to sign Cuban Leonys Martin, according to a tweet from Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald.

Leonys Martin just signed officialy his contract with Texas. It is $15.5 millions for five years, a source confirmed it to El Nuevo Herald

The $15.5 million deal is by far the most that the Rangers have given an international fee agent. Martin has been working out at the Rangers’ complex in Surprise, Arizona this week in anticipation of the deal being finalized.

The Cuban is regarded as a toolsy player with excellent speed and defensive ability, but his hit tool has been questioned by scouts. He is a left-handed hitter. Martin is expected to join the Rangers’ Double-A club in Frisco after some time in extended spring training.

To read more on Martin’s abilities, check out Buster Olney’s Insider piece and John Manuel’s rundown. Jason Cole also took video of Martin taking batting practice in Surprise this week. See that here.

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Texas Rangers Place Neftali Feliz On Disabled List

Per Anthony Andro, the Texas Rangers have placed closer and 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner Neftali Feliz on the 15 day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with right shoulder inflammation. 

Feliz has appeared in eight games for Texas this year, pitching 8.1 innings. He's allowed four hits, five walks and struck out six while allowing just one run on the year so far and earning five saves. 

Feliz last appeared in a game on Wednesday, April 20th, when he walked three batters in an inning while striking out one. 

Cody Eppley has been recalled from AAA Round Rock to take Feliz' spot on the 25 man roster. Eric Hurley was placed on the 60-day disabled list in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Eppley.

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Rangers Inch Closer To Leonys Martin Signing

The long rumored signing of Cuban refugee outfielder Leonys Martin continues to move forward but is still not quite official. El Nuevo Herald reported Wednesday that Martin has passed his physical after agreeing with the Rangers to a five-year major league deal for $15.5 million. The deal reportedly includes a $5 million signing bonus.

According to the Herald, Martin now needs only to obtain a work permit for the deal to become official. Once the signing is complete, Martin is expected to join the Rangers’ Double-A club in Frisco. Various scouting reports have questioned his swing and the health of his legs, so the Rangers may want to keep close tabs on him. They would be able to do that in Frisco, since the park is just 45 miles from team headquarters.

Once the deal is submitted to the league office, the club will have to clear another roster spot. One move was already made necessary Wednesday as veteran Brett Tomko was added to the big league roster.

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Rangers Call Up Taylor Teagarden, Brett Tomko

The Rangers continued Wednesday to churn the back end of their roster, adding Taylor Teagarden and Brett Tomko, optioning Michael Kirkman to Triple-A Round Rock, and placing Mason Tobin on the disabled list. Teagarden has played just six games for Round Rock, but he is off to a quick .389/.476/.944 start. Tomko has a 6.35 ERA through two starts and 11.1 innings.

The net of the moves is a normalized roster, as Teagarden gives the team a fourth bench member and more flexibility to use Mike Napoli at designated hitter without risk. Texas is also back to two left-handed relievers among their now seven-man bullpen, and they have more deep options with Tomko added to veteran Dave Bush.

Kirkman will likely rejoin the Express rotation. Tobin’s outlook is more clouded, as he remains under the restrictions of MLB’s Rule 5 draft rules. Because he is on the disabled list, the Rangers will be able to use him in the minors on a rehab assignment when he’s healthy. Tomko’s addition to the 40-man roster means that the Rangers will have to clear a spot. They do still have injured minor league pitchers who can be transferred from the 15-day list to the 60-day list.

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Rangers Option Mark Lowe

The Texas Rangers have optioned reliever Mark Lowe to make room for Colby Lewis’ return from leave for the birth of his child. Lowe had been expected to contribute in late game situations, but he’s struggled.

The move means Michael Kirkman retains his bullpen spot. Nolan Ryan said Monday that the team sees Kirkman as part of the solution to their bullpen questions. He was a contributor out of the pen late in the season and in the playoffs in 2010, after pitching much of the year in the Triple-A rotation.

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Tanner Scheppers Returns To Disabled List

Rangers prospect Tanner Scheppers finally made his season debut for Round Rock Saturday, after starting the season on the disabled list with a sore lower back. Sunday he returned to the DL with the same problem.

His start saw mixed results, as Scheppers struck out three and walked none in two innings, but he allowed four hits and three runs.

The Rangers have hope that Scheppers can help them later this season. To do so, he needs to make improvement on his secondary pitches and command. That effort will have to wait a little longer to proceed.

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Rangers Sign Manny Corpas, Claim Ramon Aguero

The Rangers have signed former Rockies closer Manuel Corpas to a minor league deal and have claimed Ramon Aguero on waivers from the Pirates. Corpas, now 28, is recovering from “Tommy John” surgery to repair a torn ligament in his elbow and is not likely to pitch this season. The Rangers presumably will look to help him recover and then try to keep him around in 2012 when he will try to return to the mound. Corpas struggled to repeat his 2007 the past three years and finally succumbed to arm issues.

Aguero is a 26-year-old minor leaguer who signed with Pittsburgh in 2005 under the name Samuel Vasquez and as a 17-year-old. It was revealed in 2008 that he had used a false birth certificate and was three years older. He also made his US debut that year and struggled, but took a step forward in 2009 and has been one of the Pirates’ better pitching prospects since.

He has a fastball that reaches the upper 90’s and secondary pitches with some potential, but he struggles with his command and delivery. He also has had persistent injury issues that limited him to under 30 innings last season and have kept him from throwing as many as 90 innings in any season.

The Rangers have placed him on their 40-man roster but are optioning him to the minor leagues. To clear a spot, they placed Omar Beltre on the 60-day disabled list. They are also thought to be close to signing Cuban free agent Leonys Martin to a major league deal, which would require another transaction, possibly Wilmer Font moving to the 60-day DL as well.

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Rangers Moves: Texas Reportedly Close To Signing Cuban Leonys Martin

"Major League sources" are telling ESPN DFW, the Star TelegramHardBallTalk and Diario de Cuba that Cuban defectee Leonys Martin is close to signing with the Texas Rangers. Martin would likely report to the Rangers' High A or Double-A team once he's ready to play but is reportedly receiving a major league deal, which speaks to his appeal on the open market and also means that a transaction will be needed to clear room on the club's 40-man roster.

John Manuel wrote about Martin last September when word surfaced that he had defected. Manuel projected a seven figure bonus and had this to say about his game:

He's a lefthanded hitter whose best tools are his speed and defense. He's a plus runner at least, being timed in 4.1 seconds to first base from the left side in Taiwan, and showed strong small-ball skills, with the ability to drag bunt for hits and handle the bat on the hit-and-run.

Martin is also regarded as a patient hitter willing and able to draw walks, which could be an attribute that separates him from another speedy left-handed hitting Rangers center fielder, Julio Borbon. He would become the most advanced outfielder with a legitimate shot at holding down a major league starting role. Engel Beltre is one of the system's best prospects, but the Double-A headliner still needs another year or two to polish his game. The club used their top pick in the 2010 draft (No. 17 overall) on Jake Skole, who will begin this season Friday in Low A.  

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