With Hamilton ailing, Texas acquires Venable
Rangers designate Choice, send Minor Leaguer Greene to Padres in deal
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have strengthened their outfield depth in case Josh Hamilton ends up on the disabled list because of his sore left knee.
That appears to be a growing concern because the Rangers acquired veteran outfielder Will Venable from the Padres for Minor League catcher Marcus Greene and a player to be named before Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Mariners. The Rangers made room for Venable on the 40-man roster by designating Triple-A outfielder Michael Choice for assignment.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said there were a "couple" of reasons they pursued Venable.
"Will is a good baseball player ... tremendous reputation on and off the field," Daniels said. "He is a left-handed hitter who can run, has power, play all three outfield positions. He also gives us some depth in case of injury, gives us some protection in all three spots. He is a professional, intelligent hitter."
Hamilton was not in the lineup Tuesday for the third straight game and is not expected to play Wednesday. The Rangers may wait until Thursday to see if Hamilton can play or if they need to make a roster move.
"I'm still optimistic he'll be OK," Daniels said. "But we don't want to be caught offguard if it lingers. If he doesn't improve, we'll have to consider it."
Venable is not expected to officially report to the Rangers until Thursday when they open a four-game series against the Tigers in Detroit.
"That gives us until Thursday before we have to make a roster move," Daniels said.
Venable was batting .258 with a .316 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage for the Padres. In 283 at-bats, he had 10 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 11 stolen bases.
He was drafted by the Padres in the seventh round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Princeton where he was a teammate of pitcher Ross Ohlendorf. He has eight years of Major League experience with a career average of .252 with a .316 on-base percentage and a .410 slugging percentage. Over 162 games, he averages 20 doubles, seven triples, 14 home runs and 23 stolen bases.
His father, Max, played 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Giants, Expos, Reds and Angels.
Choice was acquired from the Athletics on Dec. 3, 2013. A former first-round pick out of University of Texas-Arlington, Choice hit .182 in 86 games for the Rangers last season and did not make the team this year out of Spring Training.
Greene was a 16th-round Draft pick by the Rangers in 2013 out of New Mexico Junior College and is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. The player to be named is expected to be a more significant part of the deal.
Choice has spent almost the entire season at Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .244 with 12 home runs and 60 RBIs in 110 games. The Rangers at one time hoped Choice would be an everyday outfielder for them.
Now they have 10 days to trade him, release him or outright him to Triple A. If he clears trade waivers, he would be eligible to be the player to be named.
"Guys come at different paces," Daniels said. "Different skill-sets requiring different [time frames] …right-handed power, he would have been a good fit for us. It didn't play out, but it was not for lack of effort."
The Rangers are also uncertain if outfielder Leonys Martin will be ready for September, but at least for now, he is not undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand.
Martin was examined by a specialist Tuesday and it was determined that he was dealing with a pre-existing injury that he might have simply aggravated. Martin will undergo rest and rehabilitation in the hopes that he can still be a September callup.