The Rangers added outfielder Rafael Ortega on a waiver claim from the Rockies on Wednesday, giving them 39 players on the 40-man roster. Ortega, who batted .228 with nine stolen bases for Double-A Tulsa last season, was signed by Colorado as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2008.
Ortega is just 22 years old and has 156 stolen bases in six Minor League seasons. Before this season, Ortega had never batted below .275 at any stop in the Minor League ladder. Ortega has never hit 10 home runs in a season, but he's stolen at least 30 bases three times in his brief career.
Ortega, a left-handed hitter, missed some time due to a staph infection early in 2013 and suffered a season-ending hairline fracture to his left shin in mid-June. The fleet-footed outfielder has been healthy enough to return to action in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he's hitting .261 for La Guaira.
Ortega stole a career-high 39 bases in 70 games in the Dominican Summer League in 2009 and he proved his skills could play at the higher levels by batting .283 and swiping 36 bases for Class A Modesto in 2012. Ortega went 2-for-4 in his only taste of big league action in 2012.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less