The Rangers announced today that they’ve activated catcher Robinson Chirinos from the 60-day disabled list and designated right-hander Phil Klein for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Right-hander Luke Jackson was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to clear a spot for Chirinos on the active roster.
Chirinos, 32, has missed all but five games this season to date after suffering a fractured forearm when he was hit by a pitch in early April. His injury led the Rangers to pick up Bryan Holaday and Bobby Wilson via trade, and that pairing of journeyman has somewhat incredibly provided the team with an outstanding .274/.324/.472 batting line and eight home runs. The Holaday/Wilson tandem has been so productive, in fact, that Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Rangers are considering carrying three all three catchers (Twitter link). Chirinos and Holaday, he points out, can play other positions on a limited basis, as each is a former infielder.
While Chirinos isn’t a household name, he performed well for the Rangers while seeing quite a bit of work behind the dish last season; in 273 plate appearances, he batted .232/.325/.438. Combined with his work from the 2014 campaign and his brief time early in 2016, Chirinos has batted .236/.306/.430 with 24 home runs in exactly 162 games dating back to Opening Day 2014.
As for Klein, the 27-year-old gave Texas 19 useful innings back in 2014 but has struggled in the Majors in both 2015 and 2016, working to a combined 6.23 ERA in 26 innings. While he performed well at Round Rock last season (2.97 ERA in 63 2/3 innings), he’s struggled there as well in 2016 and will now be in limbo for up to 10 days as the Rangers have the option to trade him, release him or send him through outright waivers.