Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Notes: Trade talk, Leonys Martin excited
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers made several roster moves Tuesday, a few of them in response to Nelson Cruz's strained left hamstring, which landed him on the disabled list today. Cruz is expected to be out about three weeks.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels talks about Nelson Cruz going on the DL, and the possible pursuit of Lance Berkman.
Cruz's injury means Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin got the call to the big leagues a little earlier than expected. The 23-year-old hit .295 with four homers, 16 doubles, five triples and 42 RBIs in 73 games in Arizona (AZL), Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.
A little more than a year ago today (Aug. 28, 2010), Martin left Cuba with hopes of finding a way into a Major League organization. He signed a five-year, $15.5 million deal with a $5 million signing bonus with the Rangers in May and now, four months later, he's in the big leagues.
"I’m very happy," Martin said through a translator. "Of course, I want to take advantage of being here and hope this isn't the only time in the big leagues. I want to be here a long time."
Manager Ron Washington will utilize Martin as a depth outfielder, but his primary rotation will consist of David Murphy, Josh Hamilton and Endy Chavez with Cruz out. Martin and Craig Gentry will get time as the manager needs them. Martin also gives the Rangers another speedy guy off the bench.
What they don't have are a lot of right-handed hitters in the outfield. Gentry is the only right-handed hitter out there right now.
"He can continue to figure out what his talents are all about," Washington said of Martin. "We'll give him some opportunities as we move forward but where they're going to come and when they're going to come, I don't know."
Washington and outfield coach Gary Pettis worked with Martin for a few days earlier this summer, helping him iron out some things at the plate and in the field.
"He has some things he still has to work on and this gives Gary a chance to stay busy," Washington said. "He can earn his money. He's a kid that's interested in learning. He showed some aptitude. He has to develop his instincts, especially at the major league level. That's the one thing that's lacking right now. That's only because he's lacking experience. We'll put him in an environment up here where he doen't have to worry about failing. Just go play baseball."
* The Rangers remain interested in Lance Berkman, but it's unclear whether a deal can be completed with the Cardinals by 11 p.m. Wednesday. Berkman will likely be a Type-A free agent, so the Cardinals would get two draft picks for him if they offer arbitration and he leaves after the season. So the Cardinals would want a prospect package that would be at least as good as the two picks. And there isn't much time left to get a deal done, so it seems unlikely. Stay tuned.
Berkman is a switch-hitter and he's batting .289 this season. He has 308 at-bats against righties and is hitting .295. His average is .265 against lefties in 83 at-bats.
* The reports on Adrian Beltre are that he felt fine after his first rehab game. He'll play again tonight and the Rangers will see how things go before deciding when he will return. But it's possible that could be as early as Wednesday, but we'll see.
* Scott Feldman is expected to be limited to 80 to 90 pitches for tonight's game. Mark Hamburger, just called up, will be in a position to be in long relief tonight if needed (so could Matt Harrison, though the club would rather stay away from him).
* 18-year-old SS Jurickson Profar was named the South Atlantic League MVP today.
* The Rangers are sending eight players to Surprise for the Arizona Fall League. Those include: RHP Neil Ramirez, LHP Miguel De Los Santos, RHP Ryan Kelly, RHP Johan Yan, 3B Mike Olt, INF Leury Garcia, OF Ryan Strausborger and C Elio Sarmiento.
* Mitch Moreland could play some time in right field when Washington wants to move some things around. "He could be out there a little more with Cruz out," Washington said.
* Washington wants a third catcher as part of the September callups on Thursday so that he can use Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli as the DH and C in the lineup without worrying about injury. He's got them both in there tonight despite no third catcher.