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The Rangers announced today that they have outrighted catcher J.P. Arencibia, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, infielder Guilder Rodriguez, outfielder Engel Beltre, right-hander Wilmer Font and left-hander Pedro Figueroa off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Round Rock. Both Kouzmanoff and Arencibia are eligible to become free agents, and will likely do just that. The moves drop the Rangers’ 40-man roster to 37, as three of the players (Beltre, Kouzmanoff and Figueroa) all had to be activated from the 60-day DL in order to be outrighted.
Arencibia, previously of Blue Jays fame, hit .177/.239/.369 in 222 plate appearances for Texas this year, appearing at both catcher and first base. His .196/.263/.427 batting line following a recall from the minors and a shift to first base was an improvement over his numbers while serving as a catcher, but his 28 percent strikeout clip this past season was still troubling.
Kouzmanoff was outstanding in 13 games for Texas before hitting the 60-day DL due to a back injury that required surgery. The former Padre/Athletic hit .362/.412/.617 with a pair of homers in 51 trips to the plate as he filled in for a then-injured Adrian Beltre.
Beltre spent the entire season on the DL as he recovered from surgery on each of his legs, and Figueroa saw just 10 games of action before going down to Tommy John surgery. Rodriguez was a feel-good story that made his big league debut and collected two hits after 13 seasons in the minors. Font didn’t pitch in the Majors this season and underwent elbow surgery in August before being designated for assignment last week when the team claimed Alfredo Figaro from the Brewers.
Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar has cleared a hurdle as he attempts to return from a torn muscle in his shoulder, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. He can now begin swinging a bat, and may be able to begin throwing within ten days. Profar is currently on the 60-day DL, and the Rangers have indicated he might return in early June. Profar’s return would provide a nice boost for the Rangers, who so far have gone with Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy at second base — one key component of Texas’ big offseason move of trading Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder and cash was opening a starting spot for Profar in what had been a crowded infield. Here are more quick notes on injuries.
- The list of pitchers requiring Tommy John surgery continues to grow. Next up is Pedro Figueroa of the Rangers, who will have Tommy John on Wednesday, according to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (via Twitter). Last week, it was reported that doctors had diagnosed Figueroa with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The Rangers claimed Figueroa from the Rays in February.
- Speaking of injured pitchers, Yankees hurler Michael Pineda will have an MRI after leaving a simulated game with a sore lat muscle, Newsday’s David Lennon tweets. Pineda’s suspension for pine tar is due to end Monday, but the Yankees might be without him longer than that. If Pineda needs to miss additional time, David Phelps will continue to make starts in his place. (Pineda has a Grade 1 tear of his teres major, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted after this post was initially published. The teres major is a muscle in the back, near the shoulder. As Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan points out in a tweet, Pineda has had significant shoulder issues in the past. Pineda will reportedly miss three to four weeks.)
- Meanwhile, another Yankees pitcher, Ivan Nova, had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes. Nova’s elbow troubles will keep him out until 2015. Nova had an 8.27 ERA in 20 2/3 innings before being shut down.
Athletics right-hander A.J. Griffin‘s elbow hasn’t responded well after being shut down for a month, and the 26-year-old will seek a second opinion from Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff, who performed Tommy John surgery on Oakland’s Fernando Rodriguez, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Griffin has been out with flexor tendinitis, which is often a precursor to Tommy John, Slusser points out. She goes on to write that the loss of both Griffin and Jarrod Parker for the season would likely lead the A’s to actively seeking starting pitching on this summer’s trade market, even if they were merely looking for a back-of-the-rotation innings eater to provide some stability.
More out of the AL West…
- While Griffin is another potential victim of the Tommy John epidemic, Rangers left-hander Pedro Figueroa can definitively add his name to that list. The team told reporters today, including FOX Sports Southwest’s Anthony Andro, that Figueroa has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and damage to his flexor tendon, and he will likely undergo Tommy John within the next week (Twitter link).
- Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune conducted a Q&A in which he answered many of his Twitter followers’ questions, and within the article noted that the Mariners are still looking to add a bat to improve their lineup. The team has “never stopped looking” for a bat, he writes, before cautioning that they don’t appear to have much interest in Kendrys Morales. Dutton also touches on the team’s payroll, Hisashi Iwakuma‘s health status and Abraham Almonte‘s role with the club.
- The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea compares Sean Doolittle‘s recent five-year contract extension to previous deals of five-plus years for relievers, noting that Doolittle’s contract has little precedent. Shea concludes that the deal works for both sides and doesn’t carry as much risk as other contracts for a pitcher would, as Doolittle is a converted first baseman that has only been pitching for about three years.
WEDNESDAY, February 5th: Roe has rejected an outright assignment and elected free agency, the club announced.
FRIDAY: Roe has cleared waivers and has eight days to decide whether to elect free agency or head to camp with the Rangers as a non-roster invite, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweeted last night that Roe was likely to elect free agency if he cleared waivers.
WEDNESDAY, January 29th: The Rangers have claimed southpaw Pedro Figueroa off of waivers from the Rays, the club announced via press release. Righty Chaz Roe was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Figueroa, 28, had been in DFA limbo since being designated by the Rays to make room for the Grant Balfour signing. Obviously, Tampa ultimately placed him on release waivers — the second time Figueroa has changed hands by this method in the last month. Spending most of his time at Triple-A last year with Oakland, Figueroa threw to a 4.10 ERA and 7.4 K/9 against 5.0 BB/9 in 59 1/3 innings.
Roe, a 27-year-old reliever, came to Texas via waiver claim in early November. Pitching last year for the Diamondbacks, Roe threw 22 1/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball, with 9.7 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9. Roe was originally the 32nd overall choice in the 2005 draft.
The Rays have designated southpaw Pedro Figueroa for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for the recently signed Grant Balfour, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
Tampa claimed the 28-year-old Figueroa off release waivers from the A's earlier this month, designating Jerry Sands for assignment to clear space on the roster for the Dominican hurler. Figueroa allowed four runs in just three innings for Oakland in 2013 and pitched to a 4.10 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in 59 1/3 innings for their Triple-A affiliate. Figueroa held opposing left-handers to a .671 OPS in 2013 between the Majors and Minors, but he struggled against opposite-handed batters, yielding a .929 OPS.
The Rays have claimed Pedro Figueroa off of unconditional release waivers, according to Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune (via Twitter). To make room on the roster, the club has designated outfielder Jerry Sands for assignment.
Figueroa, 28, has 24 big league appearances to his credit over the last two years with the Athletics. He spent the bulk of last year at Triple-A Sacramento, posting a 4.10 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in 45 relief appearances and one start.
Sands, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Pirates just before Christmas and didn't get a chance to go house hunting in Tampa Bay. Sands batted just .207/.311/.329 with seven home runs in 106 games (397 PAs) at the Triple-A level in 2013. Once a favorite in the Dodgers' farm system, he became one of the players in the Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett blockbuster of August 2012. The Red Sox included him in another notable trade last offseason – the deal that sent Mark Melancon to Pittsburgh and Joel Hanrahan to Boston. In his minor league career, Sands is a .276/.366/.526 hitter with 128 homers in 2433 plate appearances.