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Mazara homers in return to Rangers' lineup

Calhoun optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to open roster spot
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated outfielder Nomar Mazara from the 10-day disabled list prior to Thursday's 8-6 win over the Angels, and he wasted little time making an impact.

The 23-year-old Mazara was back in the lineup for the Rangers, batting fourth and starting in right field. In his first at-bat, he hit a two-run homer off Angels right-hander Taylor Cole. It was Mazara's first homer since June 29. He finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated outfielder Nomar Mazara from the 10-day disabled list prior to Thursday's 8-6 win over the Angels, and he wasted little time making an impact.

The 23-year-old Mazara was back in the lineup for the Rangers, batting fourth and starting in right field. In his first at-bat, he hit a two-run homer off Angels right-hander Taylor Cole. It was Mazara's first homer since June 29. He finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored.

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"I was feeling pretty good in the Minor League rehab games," Mazara said. "I think I had my approach together. I just saw a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it."

That was the kind of spark that manager Jeff Banister hoped Mazara could provide in the middle of the order as third baseman Adrian Beltre missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring.

"He's one of our guys in the core group, so it's nice to get him back," Banister said. "It keeps everyone else in comfortable spots. He's a big player for us and we need him on the field."

Mazara had been on the disabled list since July 20 with a right thumb sprain. He last played for the Rangers on July 14 against the Orioles. Prior to the injury, Mazara hit .272 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 91 games.

"It was a long three weeks," Mazara said. "I'm glad to be back out here."

Outfielder Willie Calhoun was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Mazara. Calhoun, the club's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, played 22 games after being promoted on July 20, batting .275 with one home run and 9 RBIs. Banister said that he was impressed by what he saw from the 23-year-old.

"I thought the at-bats were very competitive," Banister said. "We're encouraged by how he played the outfield. He had one play that got away from him a bit. Other than that, he played nice routine defense. All in all, it was a good experience for him to be up here."

Banister said that Calhoun will be back in the Majors this season, but right now will focus on improving at Round Rock. Calhoun will likely be a September callup when the rosters expand, if he is not needed before then.

"This is going to allow Willie to get regular at-bats, which at this point he needs," Banister said.

Jacob Prothro is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington.

Texas Rangers, Willie Calhoun, Nomar Mazara