The Texas Rangers have made a few key roster moves over the past several days that both impact the team and give insight into the front office. These moves were surprising for many fans and a couple of moves are particularly exciting. With the All-Star break just around the corner and the trade deadline looming, expect more moves in the coming weeks.
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- July 2: After struggling in his third straight start, Nick Martinez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock Express. Martinez had given up 13 runs over his last 18.2 innings and took the loss in all three games. Martinez dropped to a 5-5 record with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts. He started off strong with a 0.35 ERA in April/March but struggled in June with a 1-3 record and a 6.35 ERA. Martinez will be given extra rest while in Round Rock and he will get a chance to get back on his feet without the stress of winning the game. The Rangers are clearly worried about the way Martinez is trending right now and the rotation in general so they are making moves to try to fix it.
- The open spot on the roster was filled by Neftali Feliz who was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Feliz made an appearance in Friday’s game, pitching two shutout innings and gave up just one hit. With Shawn Tolleson solidified in the closer role, Feliz was going to need to earn that spot back.
- July 4: After being activated just two days before, the Rangers designated Feliz for assignment. He had made just the one appearance will likely get some work to get stronger while in Round Rock.
- The open spot left by Feliz on the roster along with the open spot in the rotation was filled by Matt Harrison who has completed his long rehab. He made six rehab starts between Round Rock and Frisco, compiling a 1-3 record with a 6.23 ERA in 34.2 innings. He had several struggles along the way but began to gain confidence as he continued. Check out an interview with Harrison after his start in Frisco. Harrison will be starting the game on Wednesday, his first major league start since May 13, 2014.
- July 4: Like Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez has hit a rough patch in his season and was optioned down to Round Rock after losing three straight starts. Gonzalez has given up 15 runs in his last 13. 1 innings over those starts. His most recent start was a 2-8 loss against the Los Angeles Angeles in which he gave up six runs on five hits over 1.2 innings. Gonzalez has struggled with his command this season, having walked more batters than he has struck out this season. Like Martinez, Gonzalez needs some time to work on his skills and make sure get back to the pitcher they saw in his debut.
- To fill his spot in the rotation, the Rangers called up Anthony Ranaudo from Round Rock. Ranaudo made a spot start for the Rangers in mid-June and had success against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched a 6.2 shutout inning performance, giving up just 5 hits and striking out four. Ranaudo is 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA in his first season with the Express after being acquired from the Red Sox in the offseason.
- July 5: After being one of the most exciting breakout players for the Rangers in 2015, Delino DeShields Jr. suffered a left hamstring injury that has kept him out nearly a month. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 15 and has been on a rehab assignment since June 27. DeShields has finally been activated and is ready to bring a spark back to this lineup that has been in need of some help. DeShields should step back in as the primary center fielder. The Rangers would be smart to move Rougned Odor into the two-hole and let DeShields and Odor set the table for the big bats of Mitch Moreland, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton, and Adrian Beltre.
- To make room on the roster, the Rangers optioned Hanser Alberto to Round Rock. Alberto has played in 25 games for the Rangers and has hit .247/.267/.301 in 78 plate appearances. Alberto has been a great utility player, having played second base, third base, and shortstop with his best games coming at second base. With the recent return of Odor, the Rangers no longer needed to keep Alberto on the roster. Rangers fans were likely hoping or expecting Leonys Martin to be sent down after his recent struggles.