HOUSTON -- The Rangers have optioned right-handed-hitting outfielder Joey Butler to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Alex Rios. Butler played in just two games for the Rangers but was 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.
"It was very tough," manager Ron Washington said. "He handled himself well up here and helped us win a ballgame. He was another piece of the development system that came up here and did well."
The Rangers decided to keep Engel Beltre, a left-handed hitter, instead. Butler was called up because the Rangers wanted a right-handed-hitting outfielder to pair with David Murphy. But that was before they acquired Rios. Washington said he'll use Craig Gentry in left field in games he wants to sit Murphy.
Washington acknowledged that Gentry is his best center fielder. But he is adamantly opposed to using Leonys Martin in left field because he doesn't look too comfortable there. So the Rangers have two everyday outfielders with Martin in center and Rios in right. Murphy and Gentry will handle left, and Beltre will be an extra player off the bench.
Butler is one of five players in Rangers history with more than two at-bats and a batting average of .500 or better. Steve Balboni was 3-for-5 (.600) as a 1993 September callup, Milt Cuyler was 3-for-6 for the Rangers in 1998 and Kevin Richardson was 3-for-6 in 2009. In addition, Alexi Ogando is 3-for-6 as a pitcher hitting in National League parks.
Butler should get more at-bats as a September callup when the rosters expand to 40 players, although the Rangers are not promising anything.
"It depends on the roster, but he is certainly deserving," Washington said. "But to guarantee it, we've got to wait and see how things shake out."