The Rangers announced a quartet of roster moves, including the news that top pitching prospect Owen White has been optioned to Double-A after making his Major League debut. Texas also activated right-hander Joe Barlow from the 15-day injured list and called up catcher Sam Huff from Triple-A, while catcher Sandy Leon was designated for assignment.
White threw two relief innings in yesterday’s 7-3 loss to the Angels, essentially piggybacking off of the 4 1/3 innings thrown by starter Cody Bradford. Since Jon Gray was a late scratch due to a blister problem, the Rangers had a bit of a scramble to fill innings, including a quick recall of Bradford (who was working on three days’ rest since his last Triple-A outing).
With three runs allowed in those two innings, it wasn’t exactly the most auspicious debut for White, who was charged with the loss. Still, with one cup of coffee in the bigs now on his resume, White will return to Double-A and continue to prepare for what the Rangers hope will be a much longer and more productive stint in the majors down the road. A consensus top-100 prospect, White has yet to reach Triple-A ball, but figures to get the promotion to Round Rock in the relatively near future.
As one top prospect heads back to the minors, another makes his return to the majors as Huff will again be part of the Rangers’ active roster. Huff has appeared in 59 games since the start of the 2020 season (including five this season), but Jonah Heim has seemingly eclipsed him as the Rangers’ catcher of the future. Today’s move indicates that Texas will stick with three catchers on the roster, as Heim figures to get most of the work behind the plate and Huff and Mitch Garver will either work in a backup capacity or Garver will continue to get DH at-bats. Garver only recently returned from a two-month stint on the IL due to a left knee sprain, so with Garver being eased back into catching duty, the Rangers wanted the flexibility of an extra catcher.
Leon’s minor league contract was selected to the MLB roster when Garver was hurt, and while Leon has never been much known for his bat, he produced only a .146/.186/.195 slash line over 44 plate appearances. If the veteran backstop clears DFA waivers, he has the right to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency, if Leon prefers to join a team whose catching depth chart is a little less crowded. Known as a defensive specialist and expert game-caller, Leon could garner some interest on the DFA wire given how teams are constantly on the lookout for catching help.
Barlow was placed on the 15-day IL on May 29 due to kidney stones. The right-hander posted a 2.81 ERA over 64 relief innings for Texas in 2021-22, but blister problems brought an early end to his 2022 season, and Barlow then struggled in Spring Training this year. After starting the season at Triple-A, Barlow had only appeared in five games for the Rangers before hitting the IL.