ARLINGTON -- By releasing injured pitcher Justin Miller -- who will require Tommy John surgery on his right elbow -- the Rangers increased their options in case there is an immediate need to call up a player from the Minor Leagues. The Rangers had a full 40-man roster before they put Miller on release waivers. Now, with an open spot, they can call up a player or pitcher who is not on the 40-man roster.
That could have been the case this week if they had been forced to put Adrian Beltre on the disabled list because of his strained left hamstring. Third baseman Mike Olt -- who ranks as the No. 3 prospect
in Texas' system, according to MLB.com, and is hitting .262 with four home runs and eight RBIs at Double-A Frisco -- is not on the 40-man roster. Neither are Triple-A Round Rock infielders Luis Hernandez, Tommy Mendonca, Yangervis Solarte or Matt Kata.
The Rangers have a 40-man roster option at catcher in Luis Martinez, and in the outfield with Leonys Martin, Engel Beltre and Julio Borbon. But Brad Hawpe would have to be added to the 40-man roster if the Rangers decided to bring him up from Double-A at some point.
The Rangers have several pitchers who could be called up from Triple-A who are already on the 40-man roster. Most notable is Yoshinori Tateyama, who is likely first in line. Also on the 40-man roster are Neil Ramirez, Mark Hamburger and Michael Kirkman. Hamburger (10.93 ERA) and Kirkman (7.27 ERA) are struggling, but Ramirez, after a rough Spring Training, is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his first four starts.
Some notable Round Rock pitchers not on the 40-man include Tanner Scheppers (4.50 ERA), Greg Reynolds (3.00 ERA), Sean Green (0.87), Ben Snyder (1.93) and Aaron Heilman (3.00). Neal Cotts, who suffered a strained ribcage muscle in Spring Training, has not yet resumed throwing.