Texas puts Kiner-Falefa on IL, acquires catcher

June 7th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have acquired catcher from the Indians organization for a player to be named later and have placed on the injured list with a sprained ligament in his right middle finger.

Kiner-Falefa injured the finger in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Orioles. He had a fifth-inning single off Orioles pitcher David Hess, then jammed the finger diving back to the bag on an attempted pickoff. He was taken out of the game in the eighth inning.

“Hopefully Kiner won’t be down long,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “They are saying 10-12 [days] on the short end. I have a hard time believing that but if it is, great. I would say 2-3 weeks.”

The Rangers wasted no time in acquiring Federowicz, completing the trade immediately after Thursday’s game. Federowicz, who was playing for Triple-A Columbus and heard about the trade after midnight, was acquired for either a player to be named later or cash considerations. He will be splitting time with Jeff Mathis.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Federowicz said. “I packed my bag and got on a plane this morning. Obviously, I have to learn the pitching staff as fast as I can. This is my ninth different team, so I have had to learn a lot of different pitching staffs and a lot of different pitchers. I think I have played with or against just about everybody on this team.”

The Rangers' first choice would have been Jose Trevino, the No. 25 prospect in the organization, but he is on the injured list at Triple-A Nashville because of a strained oblique muscle. Jett Bandy and Adam Moore have been catching at Nashville and were with the Rangers in Spring Training.

But the Rangers were attracted to Federowicz’s defensive reputation. He has seven years of Major League experience with the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Astros and Reds. He was hitting .278 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage at Columbus and had thrown out 52.9 percent (9-for-17) of attempted basestealers.

“I like Federowicz a lot,” Woodward said. “It doesn’t mean we don’t like Bandy or Moore, I like those guys. It’s more of a catching thing. Federowicz has to learn a lot of things quickly, which anybody we called up would have had to because they weren’t with us the whole time. Whoever we brought up was going to have to take on a heavy load right away.”

The Rangers have a doubleheader on Saturday against the Athletics and Federowicz is expected to catch left-hander Joe Palumbo in Game 1. Palumbo will be making his Major League debut.

Valdez to be 26th player
The Rangers are planning to call up pitcher Phillips Valdez on Saturday to be the 26th player for the day-night doubleheader against the Athletics. He is 1-6 with a 6.19 ERA in 11 starts and two relief appearances at Triple-A Nashville, but the Rangers need a pitcher who could give them multiple innings in case of a blowout during the doubleheader.

The Rangers will have to make room for him on the 40-man roster. If Valdez does get into a game, he would be making his Major League debut.

The Rangers also have to make room on the 25-man roster for Palumbo. This could be just a spot start for Palumbo, but a strong performance could persuade the Rangers to keep him around for longer than that.

“That’s definitely the goal,” Palumbo said. “I’m extremely excited to be here. I can’t wait to get out there and compete.”

Rangers beat:
• Outfielder is day to day with a bruised left hand, but Woodward said there are no plans to put him on the injured list unless further examination shows a fracture. He was hit by a pitch in the 12th inning on Wednesday night.

• Athletics infielder Jurickson Profar received his 2018 Richard Durrett Hardest Working Man Award before Friday’s game. Profar spent parts of five seasons with the Rangers before being traded to the Athletics this winter and was selected for the award last season by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

• Pitcher Taylor Hearn has been transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list. He is sidelined with a sprained left elbow and has just begun a throwing program in Arizona.