The Texas Rangers activated pitcher Dane Dunning from the 10 day injured list today and purchased the contract of catcher Yohel Pozo. To open up spots on the active roster, the Rangers optioned pitcher Wes Benjamin and first baseman Curtis Terry to AAA Round Rock. To clear a spot on the 40 man roster, the Rangers have designated pitcher Jimmy Herget for assignment.
Dunning was placed on the injured list with an ankle impingement a week and a half ago, and indications at the time were that he would miss just one start, so this isn’t surprising. Benjamin had been called up to give the Rangers an extra arm, and so the expectation was he would go down when Dunning was activated.
More interesting is the swapping of Curtis Terry and Yohel Pozo. Terry was called up after a strong first half at AAA, but he has struggled in the majors, going 4 for 45 with two walks against 15 Ks. He will presumably go to Round Rock and look to get back on track.
The decision to replace Terry with Pozo is interesting. The 24 year old Pozo spent his entire career with the Rangers organization before hitting the free agent market this offseason. He signed with the San Diego Padres on a minor league deal, but because he wasn’t rostered on their AAA affiliate, Pozo was eligible to be selected in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 Draft. And that is exactly was the Rangers did.
Pozo has slashed .337/.350/.608 in 280 plate appearances for Round Rock. He makes contact — he has just 6 walks and 33 strikeouts this season. He’s primarily been a catcher, but has played a little first base and also been a DH quite a few times this year. His defense has never been seen as a strength behind the plate, and the fact that Terry is the guy who was sent down rather than a catcher would seem to suggest Pozo will get the bulk of his playing time at DH. He is starting at DH tonight.
As for Herget, he was added to the 40 man roster when he was called up not longer ago, and now has been DFA’d by the Rangers for the second time in six months. As he has been outrighted previously, he has the right to elect free agency if he clears waivers.
UPDATE — Chris Woodward apparently just said Pozo was brought up to hit, and will catch rarely, if at all, in the majors.