The Rangers will select the contracts of first baseman Greg Bird and right-hander Jimmy Herget prior to tomorrow’s game, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Texas already opened a 40-man roster spot by putting injured closer Jose Leclerc on the 45-day IL, but they’ll need to create another spot tomorrow. First baseman Ronald Guzman has already been optioned to the Rangers’ alternate training site, per the Rangers’ press release announcing Leclerc’s injury.
Bird inked a minor league deal with Texas over the winter. The longtime Yankees prospect at one point looked like the first baseman of the future in the Bronx, when he debuted at 22 and slashed .261/.343/.529 slash with 11 homers through just 46 games back in 2015. Unfortunately for Bird, he missed the entire 2016 campaign after shoulder surgery and has been hobbled by injuries since. Lingering ankle issues required another surgery for the slugger, and his 2019 campaign was torpedoed by plantar fasciitis. With the emergence of Luke Voit, the Yankees cut Bird loose rather than tender him a contract this winter.
Now 27, Bird joins the Rangers’ roster as a lifetime .211/.301/.424 hitter. He’s not expected to serve as the everyday first baseman — that role is handled by veteran Todd Frazier — but Bird will be mixed in there and at designated hitter on occasion. In the meantime, Guzman, a former top prospect himself, will get some time to work things out at alternate camp.
As for Herget, he’ll be getting his second look in the Majors after debuting with the Reds a year ago. He only tossed 6 1/3 frames with Cincinnati and allowed three runs in that time. The 2015 sixth-round pick carries a career 3.12 ERA with better than a strikeout per frame in 150 2/3 Triple-A innings, but he’s also averaged four walks per nine in that time.