The Texas Rangers have optioned pitcher Taylor Hearn and infielder Ezequiel Duran to AAA Round Rock, the team announced after today’s game. While the official moves to replace Hearn and Duran on the active roster will be officially announced tomorrow, barring something exceptional, the team will be activating Glenn Otto from the COVID il and adding the just-acquired Steven Duggar to the roster.
The Rangers also announced that Spencer Patton, who was designated for assignment on Thursday when the Rangers acquired Duggar and had to add him to the 40 man roster, has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to AAA Round Rock.
The Rangers will need to make another move to clear a 40 man spot for Otto when he is activated tomorrow.
Duran was called up from AA Frisco to replace Josh Smith with Smith went on the injured list. Duran has a respectable .258/.281/.435 slash line, but has slowed after a hot start to his major league career. The Rangers were going to be hard-pressed to get playing time for both Smith and Duran, and given that Duran was called up to fill in while Smith was out, his being sent down to make room for Duggar seemed like the most likely move.
The decision to send down Hearn to clear a roster spot for Otto is surprising. It had previously been announced that Hearn would be pitching out of the bullpen this weekend, and he was expected to pitch today, so it appeared that he was n’t likely to be in the rotation going forward. Still, I thought Hearn would stay on the active roster, with either Brett Martin or John King being sent down.
However, with the Rangers not needing a fifth starter again until July 5, and with Hearn having gone 49 pitches today, Hearn ended up being the odd man out. Hearn threw four shutout, no hit innings against the Nationals today, but he generated just four swings and misses, striking out just one batter (against two walks), and his command was once again less than ideal.
So for the time being, the Rangers will have a nine man bullpen again, and we will see, once July 5 rolls around, what the plan is for that fifth spot in the rotation.