ARLINGTON -- The Rangers continued their late spring scramble for more starting pitching, sending outfielder David Dellucci to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Robinson Tejeda and outfielder Jake Blalock on Saturday. The trade leaves the Rangers with an outfield of Brad Wilkerson in left, Laynce Nix in center and Kevin Mench in right. Adrian Brown also made the team as a fourth outfielder. General manager Jon Daniels said the trade was motivated by the loss of pitcher Adam Eaton to a strained tendon on his right middle finger. Eaton has decided to have surgery and will be sidelined for at least 12 weeks.
Tejeda at some point is expected to join the Rangers rotation. "Tejeda is a guy we have asked about in the past and have watched for a long time," Daniels said. "With Adam being out, we wanted to increase our upper-level pitching. "Tejeda is a 24-year-old power pitcher we're looking at as a starter. He has a plus fastball who hits up to 96 [mph]. He's a good competitor, good changeup, developing curveball, had some success in the big leagues last year." Tejeda was 4-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 games, including 13 starts, with the Phillies last year. He was 3-3 with a 2.87 ERA in those 13 starts. Tejeda also pitched for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and Daniels said, "Being asked to pitch in that environment was a real vote of confidence." Tejeda was immediately optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma. Right now the Rangers are still planning on using left-hander John Koronka as the fifth starter in their rotation behind Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kameron Loe and R.A. Dickey. Tejeda pitched four innings in a Minor League game in Florida on Saturday and then flew to Boston to be with his wife, Eduvirgen, who was getting ready to give birth to a child. Because of the uncertainty involved in that event, the Rangers thought it best to option Tejeda to Oklahoma. Koronka joined the Rangers on Saturday and will pitch in a simulated game on Sunday. His first start for the Rangers is Friday against the Detroit Tigers.
But Tejeda could be in the rotation before April is over."We'd like to get him up here as soon as possible," Daniels said. Dellucci batted .251 with 97 runs scored, 29 home runs and 65 RBIs in 128 games last year, his best season ever in the Majors. He played in 19 games in Spring Training with the idea of being the Rangers' Opening Day left fielder. But Nix came on strong in the final week of Spring Training and it became obvious that he was earning his way back into the starting lineup. "It was hard to trade David," Daniels said. "He has been with us for two years; he has a strong relationship with the players and the community. He was pretty shocked." "David is my best friend on the team," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "I guess you can never have too much pitching but it's tough to lose David." Blalock, 22, is the younger brother of Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock. He played at Class A Clearwater in 2005 and batted .279 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs and 65 RBI. He was taken in the fifth round by the Phillies in 2002 and is expected to be assigned to Double-A Frisco.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.