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Rangers promote two pitchers

Rangers promote two pitchers

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers reinforced their overextended bullpen on Wednesday, but did so at the expense of infield depth, leaving manager Ron Washington short on the bench.

The Rangers did so by promoting right-handers Kameron Loe and Elizardo Ramirez from Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday. In turn, the Rangers placed pitcher A.J. Murray on the disabled list and optioned third baseman Travis Metcalf to Triple-A Oklahoma.

Sending down Metcalf left the Rangers one man short on the bench and without a true backup infielder. Right now Chris Shelton is the Rangers only option if something happens to any infielder. He could fill in at third base, allowing Ramon Vazquez to fill in at any other position. Frank Catalanotto could also play either third or second in an emergency. In the meantime, Vazquez will start every day at third base whether it's with a left-hander or a right-hander on the mound.

"We've done this before," Washington said. "We don't like having to do it, but we'll get by. Hopefully, everybody will stay healthy and I won't have to move anybody around."

Loe and Ramirez were added to a bullpen that was forced to pitch a combined 12 innings over the previous two games and leads the Major Leagues in innings pitched. Washington went into Wednesday's game hoping to get away from using a number of overworked relievers including Jamey Wright, Frank Francisco, Josh Rupe and Robinson Tejeda.

But more help is on the way. Kevin Millwood starts for the Rangers on Thursday against the Indians and Vicente Padilla is expected back that same day from Nicaragua, where he has been on bereavement leave. The Rangers are planning on him pitching Friday against the Rays.

The Rangers are expected to stay with a three-man bench at least through the weekend, but would like to get the extra position player by June 13. That's when the Rangers open a three-game Interleague series against the Mets in Shea Stadium and they'll be playing under National League rules.

That's nine days away. Metcalf has to be down at least 10 days so the Rangers would likely add infielder German Duran before then.

Murray had to leave Tuesday's start against the Indians in the third inning because of pain and discomfort in his left shoulder. He has had two previous operations to repair tears in the shoulder, but right now the Rangers are hoping that it's just a strained rotator cuff and not something worse.

"I'm praying it's not," Murray said. "I'm going with what they're saying, that it's a strain and not the other thing."

Murray felt the shoulder start to bother him in the second inning, but tried to pitch through it. He came out in the third after getting Ryan Garko to pop out with the bases loaded for the first out of the inning.

"I should have said something, but I knew the bullpen was taxed," Murray said. "After I got that popup, I knew I couldn't go anymore."

Loe was with the Rangers from May 21-28 before being optioned back to Triple-A. He also needed to stay down there 10 days, but the rules allow for a quicker return if he's replacing an injured player like Murray.

This is Ramirez's first time with the Rangers, but he is 4-14 with a 5.99 ERA in 38 career Major League games with the Phillies and the Reds. He was 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 12 games, including eight starts, for Triple-A Oklahoma.

"They give us some length in the bullpen and give us a chance to give the other arms in the bullpen a breather," assistant general manager Thad Levine. "Hopefully we can get everybody back in a short period of time. We want to clear this up as quickly as possible."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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