The Texas Rangers have activated relief pitcher Keone Kela from the 10 day disabled list. To make room for Kela on the 25 man roster, the Rangers have designated infielder Pete Kozma for assignment.
This is a surprising move to me, and what that seems to be driven a bit by desperation. Drew Robinson has forced his way into a the left field rotation of late, and the Rangers want to have his lefty bat in the lineup against the majority of righthanders, it seems. However, they also want to go back to the eight man bullpen, at least for the time being, as they sort through who is a viable option and who isn’t. Robinson would normally be the choice to go down to make room for Kela.
Instead, however, the Rangers are designating Kozma for assignment. Kozma was claimed on waivers earlier this year to be the utility infielder when Jurickson Profar was sent down. Kozma almost never plays, but he is a legitimate backup at all the infield positions. With Kozma now off the roster, Robinson is theoretically the backup shortstop, as well as the backup second baseman.
As a practical matter, the Rangers seem to be indicating Elvis Andrus will play every day for the time being, and if it is a blowout or he gets hurt and has to leave the game Robinson might get a few innings. If Elvis were to actually need to miss a game or two, presumably Profar would be called back up.
My guess is that the Rangers will re-evaluate this arrangement at the end of the month, when they will either be in the race, and have a better idea what they are doing with their pen, or will be out of the race, and thus likely have dealt several players on the active roster and won’t be worried about using a roster spot on a true UIF.