ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers went into the season determined to give Ryan Rua a chance to show he could be the regular left fielder. That plan has come to an end, at least for now.Texas optioned Rua to Triple-A Round Rock on Monday to make room for Renato Nunez,
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers went into the season determined to give Ryan Rua a chance to show he could be the regular left fielder. That plan has come to an end, at least for now.
Texas optioned Rua to Triple-A Round Rock on Monday to make room for Renato Nunez, who was claimed on waivers from Oakland. Nunez, a right-handed power hitter, went into the lineup immediately on Monday with left-hander Blake Snell on the mound for the Rays.
Nunez got the start in left field, with Joey Gallo moving back to first. Nunez can also play first and third, but his primary attraction is his power potential. Nunez spent last season at Triple-A Nashville and hit .249 with 32 home runs, 78 RBIs and a .518 slugging percentage. He hit .283 with a .587 slugging percentage against left-handers.
"I was surprised they claimed me, but I feel really good," Nunez said. "I know a lot of these guys. My job is to go out there and give 100 percent and do everything I can to help this team win."
Rua was sent down after hitting .178 with one home run, three RBIs and a .267 slugging percentage in 49 plate appearances.
"Ryan was playing every day, but Nunez became available," manager Jeff Banister said. "The front office and scouting staff have good reports on him and it was an opportunity to add a player to the organization we feel has a ton of upside. Nunez will play against left-handers and some right-handers."
Tocci to get look
The Rangers expect to get center fielder Delino DeShields back in the lineup sometime in the next two weeks. By the time that happens, they will have a much better idea about Carlos Tocci, their Rule 5 Draft pick from the Phillies who is currently sharing center-field duties with Drew Robinson.
Tocci was in the lineup for the second straight game on Monday, and will likely continue to play center field. The Rangers can't send Tocci to the Minor Leagues without putting him through waivers and offering him back to the Phillies. So they want as much information as possible before DeShields gets back and a decision has to be made between Tocci and Robinson.
"We are going to give Tocci a few days in a row," Banister said. "We love the defense, and our priority in center is defense. Not to take anything away from Drew, but we are putting a premium on defense in center field."
Robinson has left an opening, going 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts since hitting a double on Tuesday against the Angels. He has one hit in his last 23 at-bats.
DeShields, who had wrist surgery on April 2, has started facing live pitching in the indoor batting cages. He could be ready for a rehab assignment either this weekend or early next week.
Moore returns home
Rangers left-hander Matt Moore will make his first career start against the Rays on Tuesday. He pitched for the Rays from 2011-16 and likes the idea of pitching again in Tropicana Field.
"When you come through that gate and you know where everything is, you know who everybody is -- it probably took me 15 minutes to get from the parking lot to the clubhouse today, " Moore said. "It helps you find a comfortable feeling that all ballplayers are looking for."
Moore is 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA in his three starts. The last one was the best, as he allowed three runs in five innings against the Angels last Wednesday.
"I think it's a matter of trying to do too much too soon, like last year, when I was trying to win two games in one night or throw nine innings instead of six or seven quality innings," Moore said. "Putting a little more pressure on myself. The last game I was more like, 'Just go out and pitch.'"
• Doug Fister is still on the disabled list with a strained right hip and has not begun a throwing program. Bartolo Colon is going to stay in the rotation for a few more weeks, at least, and the whole season, for sure, if he throws the way he did on Sunday night against the Astros. Colon is scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Mariners in Arlington.
"Right now, he is in the rotation," Banister said. "A baseball team is pretty fluid: you never know what the next day or next week will bring. You have to be prepared for all situations."
• The Rangers have acquired catcher Tony Sanchez from the Reds to be their backup catcher at Round Rock. Sanchez, who has 57 games of Major League experience with the Pirates (2013-15) and Braves (2017), will join Cameron Rupp as the catchers for the Express.
• Monday was Adrian Beltre's 2,831st game, tying him with Rafael Palmeiro for 18th most all-time.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.