The Texas Rangers optioned outfielder Willie Calhoun and catcher Sam Huff to AAA Round Rock after today’s game. Active rosters were expanded to 28 from Opening Day through May 1 due to the shortened spring training this year (thanks, lockout), and so the moves were made to get the Rangers down to 26 on the active roster.
Huff had been called up to fill in while Jonah Heim was on the paternity list. Heim returned to action today, but Kolby Allard was sent down instead of Huff, so you can interpret this as Allard being one of the two players who was dropped to get the roster to 26.
The decision to option Calhoun loomed as a possibility after the Rangers opted to promote outfielder Zach Reks when Spencer Howard was sent down on Friday. Calhoun has not put up good numbers, although he does has more walks than strikeouts, and had earned praise for doing the right things at the start of the season.
Manager Chris Woodward mentioned, however, that an increase in pulled ground balls of late from Calhoun was an issue. When we did the Year in Review for Calhoun, we noted that he was among the league leaders in exit velocity for ground balls, but at the bottom of the league in exit velocity on fly balls. Doing a better job elevating balls he makes good contact on was a necessity for Calhoun in 2022, and something he was apparently not doing a good enough job of as of late.
The Rangers will be activating Jon Gray in the next few days. The Rangers are currently at 13 pitchers, and with MLB allowing a maximum of 14 pitchers per team through May 30, Reks, or another position player, could end up going down when Gray returns. For now, though, Reks is part of the team’s LF/DH mix.
UPDATE — The Rangers have also activated Josh Sborz from the injured list and optioned him to AAA. Sborz had been on a rehab assignment with the Express. By activating and optioning today, rather than waiting until tomorrow or sometime later, the Rangers can recall him after ten days. Beginning May 2, players optioned have to stay down fifteen days before being recalled, rather than ten.