ARLINGTON -- With Sept. 1 comes the opportunity for clubs to expand their rosters, and that's just what the Rangers did Monday, adding Taylor Teagarden and German Duran to their roster. Teagarden could receive up to a third of the playing time behind the plate, while Duran will be used wherever he's needed in a utility role. More additions are expected to be made as the Rangers try to finish September on a high note. After appearing in two games in mid-July to give the Rangers some depth at catcher, Teagarden spent most of August representing the United States in the Olympics and left Beijing with a bronze medal.
"We wanted to play for the gold, but to win bronze was a heck of an experience," Teagarden said. Now Teagarden is focused on using the last month of the season to learn what it takes to catch in the Major Leagues and get acquainted with the teammates the Dallas native hopes to be playing with next season. Manager Ron Washington said he would try to get Teagarden into the catching mix as much as possible when Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia need a rest. According to Teagarden, that could be as many as two starts a week. "I think we're all going to go one out of every three games," Teagarden said. If that's the case, it will mean an increase in playing time for Saltalamacchia, as well. Saltalamacchia made just eight starts in August, but Washington is ready to give him more action in order to prove himself before the club heads into the offseason. "It's Sept. 1, so it's time to get Salty going, too," Washington said. Saltalamacchia got the start Monday against Seattle, but left in the top of the fifth inning when he suffered an injury fielding a hit and throwing to first base. Teagarden came off the bench to replace him. As for Duran, he will resume his previous role as the team's utility infielder. Duran has appeared in 43 games for the Rangers over the course of two stints with the club before he was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma on July 20. Just four days later he was placed on the RedHawks' disabled list after he injured his left thumb while sliding. The injury required surgery and kept him out of action until Sunday, when he went 2-for-3 with Oklahoma. Duran's hand was heavily taped Monday, but he said it feels good. While he said his first at-bat Sunday felt somewhat awkward, he hasn't had any problems gripping a bat with the hand. Teagarden and Duran are just the first of a few players who will be added to the roster this month. Left-handed reliever Bill White is expected to be added Tuesday. Washington said most of the remaining roster additions would be used to add depth to the bullpen. However, the club wants to wait for the Minor League playoffs to conclude for its affiliates before it brings any more players up. "We'll wait until after the playoffs to see where we are," Washington said. "We've been taking their players all year. We'll leave them alone for the playoffs." The Rangers know they aren't playing for a playoff spot, but they're still 3 1/2 games ahead of the Athletics for second place in the American League West and only four games under .500 heading into Monday. Second place in the West and a .500 record are what the Rangers are playing for now to give them momentum going into 2009. "It's everything," said Washington of the importance of a strong September. "It's paramount that we go into the offseason with a good taste in our mouth. We can finish second in our division, and that's our goal right now."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.