Jake Smolinski’s first taste of the major leagues includes experience on the disabled list.
The Rangers put the outfielder on the 15-day DL with a bruised foot. Smolinski had impressed during his brief stay, hitting .389 in 11 games.
“That’s life in baseball,” manager Ron Washington said. “It’s a tough break, too. He still has some discomfort. We want to make sure it’s right.”
Smolinski’s spot on the active roster was taken by right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams. To make room for Williams on the 40-man roster, the club released pitcher Justin Marks.
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Smolinski represented the team’s 23rd disabled-list transaction this season, a major-league high. The Rangers have used a major-league leading 52 players this season.
Williams became the 13th pitcher to start a game for the Rangers this season and 31st overall, a club record. In the modern era — since 1901 — only five teams have used 32 or more pitchers in a season.
Only seven players have been on the active roster all season: Elvis Andrus, Robinson Chirinos, Shin-Soo Choo, Neal Cotts, Leonys Martin, Alex Rios and Shawn Tolleson. Texas has used 82 different lineups in 103 games.
‘We shall return’
The Rangers’ exclusion from the mix in the American League West will be a one-year wonder, Washington said Friday as his club welcomed to town the bearers of the best record in baseball.
“I have no doubt about it,” Washington said when asked if he expected his team to be a player in 2015. “My theme in spring training was if we stay healthy and the guys we depend on do what they’re supposed to do, we’d be there competing.
“I still believe that.”
Oakland, too, has had its share of injuries, including to starting pitchers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, yet nothing near the degree of the Rangers. Oakland has used the DL 13 times, matching the number of players Texas currently has on the DL.
The Athletics continue to hum along with good pitching, leading the majors in ERA. Oakland starters had allowed one earned run or fewer in 11 of its past 17 games entering Friday.
“They lost some starting pitching, but they have pitching in their system,” Washington said. “They seem to be able to fill their holes. They play very well together. Right now, they believe in themselves.”
Weekend coaching chores
Washington has shuffled some coaching responsibilities this weekend while the team is without pitching coach Mike Maddux, who is in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for his brother, Greg.
Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins will fill in for Maddux as pitching coach, and Triple A Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman is in to work in the bullpen.
“It’s going to be quiet,” Washington joked about Maddux’s absence. “Hawk can handle it. They’ll survive.”
• Washington said there was no thought of moving up Yu Darvish a day, considering the right-hander threw only 67 pitches in a rain-shortened loss to the Yankees on Wednesday. Darvish will take his regular turn Monday.
• The Rangers activated left-handed pitcher Joseph Ortiz (fractured foot) off the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Double A Frisco. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team transferred Kevin Kouzmanoff (back surgery) from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.
• The team announced a new five-year sponsorship agreement with Hyundai, which will include rebranding the Batter’s Eye club in center field.