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Elier Hernandez up, Steven Duggar down

The Rangers have optioned Steven Duggar to AAA Round Rock, and are calling up outfielder Elier Hernandez

MiLB: MAY 22 El Paso Chihuahas at Round Rock Express Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLB Rumors: Elier Hernandez is being called up by the Texas Rangers today, according to Hector Gomez on Twitter. No official announcement has been made by the team yet, although those announcements usually come mid-afternoon on game days when there’s a night game. I’ve not seen anything from the beat guys yet.

This isn’t a move I saw coming. Hernandez, 27, was originally with the Kansas City Royals organization, which means the Rangers saw a lot of him in spring training every year in Surprise. The Rangers signed him as a minor league free agent for 2021, and he split the year between Frisco and Round Rock, slashing .231/.292/.394 in 422 plate appearances. He was brought back in 2022 on a minor league deal once again, and appeared to be simply minor league depth.

Hernandez has had a nice year offensively for Round Rock, however — he is slashing .295/.364/.546 in 231 plate appearances, with 45 Ks against 20 walks. He’s a righthanded hitter who has playing mostly right field and first base this season, and given the makeup of the roster, a righthanded hitting COF/1B type would be very useful to have on the bench.

With Mitch Garver on the 60 day injured list, the Rangers have an open 40 man roster spot available, so no move would need to be made to clear a spot. My assumption is that the Rangers will option Steven Duggar, who has been the team’s fifth outfielder, and who has been terrible in his limited action. Duggar has options remaining, so he can be simply optioned to AAA, though the Rangers could opt to designate him for assignment so that he can be removed from the 40 man roster immediately. The Rangers will need a 40 man roster spot when Jonathan Hernandez is ready to be activated.

The other possibility is that a position player on the active roster is injured or otherwise going to be unavailable. Adolis Garcia was out of the lineup yesterday, though I assume it was just a regular day off.

UPDATE — The Rangers have officially announced that the team has purchased the contract of Hernandez, adding him to the 40 man roster and the 26 man roster. Steven Duggar has been optioned to AAA Round Rock.