ARLINGTON -- Double-A outfielder Craig Gentry was called up on Tuesday because the Rangers need a pinch-runner for the stretch run. That's all. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels made it clear that Gentry was not being called up because the club views him as an inevitable candidate for Marlon Byrd's job next year. "This has zero effect on that," Daniels said before the Rangers' doubleheader against the Blue Jays.
Byrd is a free agent at the end of the season. There is mutual interest in him coming back and there have been some discussions during the season. But right now, Byrd still remains unsigned for 2010. "I have no clue what will happen, but I have clearly expressed to the Rangers that I want to be back next year," Byrd said. "I want to be here long-term. I've expressed that to my agents and they've also expressed that to the Rangers. That said, I don't know what my future holds." The Rangers have a crowded outfield next season, beginning with Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, Julio Borbon and Nelson Cruz. They are all under Texas control for at least three more seasons, and Hamilton, with three years of service, is the only one who is arbitration-eligible. But there is still strong sentiment within the organization to re-sign Byrd. Byrd and Cruz are the only right-handed hitters in the group. Byrd has also seen the most playing time of the five, hitting .277 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs in 117 games and 444 at-bats. He has also emerged as a strong leader in the Rangers' clubhouse. The economics are a different situation. Owner Tom Hicks has the club up for sale and nobody really knows what the Rangers will be able to do with their payroll this winter. But money will likely remain tight. "It's the same as before -- Marlon is a very important part of this club," Daniels said. "But we will hold off on any discussions with any free agents until after the season. We've made no secret that he's a big part of our club. We both have decisions to make." Gentry is coming off an outstanding season at Double-A Frisco that has forced the Rangers to take notice. He hit .303 with a .378 on-base percentage, 100 runs scored, eight home runs and 53 RBIs. He is also considered an excellent defensive player. Texas was going to add him to the 40-man roster this winter anyway, but he is still far down in the franchise's outfield depth chart. "He's got a number of guys ahead of him," Daniels said. "He brings some things to the table to make him a good fit, but it's not about next year. It's about helping us now." The Rangers chose Gentry over Greg Golson. Brandon Boggs was another candidate, but he has a dislocated left shoulder and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Texas felt that Gentry was most deserving. "He was impressive in Spring Training and he's had a heckuva year at Frisco," manager Ron Washington said. "He's opened some eyes. He can run. You think Borbon can run -- this guy can run too." Gentry, a 10th round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arkansas, was caught by surprise when he was told Monday night that he was going to the big leagues. "I just don't know what to think," Gentry said. "It feels like a dream. It hasn't sunk in yet. I had no idea. I thought we had a chance to make the Double-A playoffs or I'd be going home. I've worked hard and put in a lot of time. To have it pay off is a good feeling." The Rangers also called up pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Warner Madrigal and catcher Kevin Richardson from Triple-A Oklahoma City, and activated pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Eddie Guardado as well as infielder Esteban German from the disabled list. Texas, with the September expansion of the rosters, has 32 players available right now. Pitcher Willie Eyre will be recalled later this week. The Rangers, who were at 39 players, had two create two spots on the 40-man roster to make room for Gentry, Richardson and McCarthy, who was on the 60-day disabled list. One move was Boggs. The other move was pitcher Thomas Diamond being designated for assignment. Diamond, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is 1-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 32 games with Frisco. The Rangers will likely try to get Diamond through outright waivers so they can assign him to the Minor Leagues. If so, he will still pitch in the Arizona Fall League and likely come to Spring Training next year with a non-roster invitation. "We had to make a roster move," Daniels said. "These decisions are never black-and-white. This was the move we felt was most prudent."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.