ARLINGTON -- Jeff Baker is still unable to throw a baseball or grip a bat, so the Rangers placed him on the disabled list on Tuesday with a sprained right thumb. The Rangers also optioned first baseman Chris McGuiness to Triple-A Round Rock while calling up catcher Robinson Chirinos and left-handed pitcher Joseph Ortiz.
Baker has not played since last Wednesday, a day before injuring the thumb in a pregame over-exuberant high-five with an unidentified teammate. He has not been able to resume baseball activities. The Rangers were hoping Baker would be ready by this weekend, when they play the Cardinals in St. Louis. But that's not going to be the case.
"It's progressing, but I'm progressing in baby steps," Baker said. "The decision was made, now I need to get ready. It's frustrating, but it's out of my control. The biggest thing is to get healthy and don't have any setbacks."
McGuiness was sent back to Round Rock after going 6-for-34 with one RBI and 13 strikeouts in 10 games since being recalled on June 6. The Rangers are expecting Mitch Moreland to come off the disabled list on Friday and will likely use Lance Berkman or Chirinos at first base in the next three days. Berkman started there on Tuesday night vs. the A's. The Rangers may start Chirinos on Wednesday with left-hander Tommy Milone pitching for Oakland.
"If Berkman comes off the field tonight feeling good, you might see him out there [Wednesday]," manager Ron Washington said.
Chirinos is primarily a catcher, but he can play first or third base if needed. He gives the Rangers the versatility they are losing with Baker sidelined. But the Rangers especially miss Baker when facing left-handed pitching. He is 17-for-44 (.386) with eight home runs off left-handers this year.
The Rangers called up Ortiz to give them an extra left-hander in the bullpen after Neal Cotts pitched 2 1/3 innings on Monday night. Robbie Ross has also been carrying a heavy load and the Athletics had five left-handed hitters in Tuesday's starting lineup.
"We just felt we needed to get another left-hander up here," Washington said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less