ARLINGTON (AP) – The low point of that high five for Jeff Baker is a trip to the 15-day disabled list.
The Texas Rangers placed the utilityman on the DL with a sprained right thumb on Tuesday, five days after an over-exuberant high five from an unidentified teammate.
“It’s frustrating when something is out of your control and it’s non-baseball related,” Baker said. “I couldn’t really control what happened. Now I’m obviously hurt. But at the same time, it’s kind of a delicate situation because it is a teammate and he feels terrible about it. It is what it is.”
Neither Baker nor the Rangers have said who gave Baker the high five on Thursday. The move to the disabled list is retroactive to that day.
Manager Ron Washington had said the team had no plans to put Baker on the disabled list, and the player who has appeared at five different positions this season was hoping to return this week. That changed after a conversation before Tuesday’s game against Oakland.
“He can’t swing, and he can’t throw. We decided this was best for him and best for us,” Washington said. “We thought he would be ready this weekend. But when we talked to him, he said he couldn’t guarantee that. We need to have healthy bodies here. We’re hurt enough.”
Baker said there is still swelling in his thumb and “it is just kind of progressing at baby steps.”
Texas opens an interleague series at St. Louis on Friday, the same day first baseman Mitch Moreland is expected to return from the DL. Baker said he couldn’t say for sure he’d be ready to play then.
“They just asked me for an honest assessment, if I thought I’d be ready Friday,” Baker said. “I couldn’t really answer.”
Also Tuesday, the Rangers optioned rookie first baseman Chris McGuiness to Triple-A Round Rock. He had started nine of the previous 11 games at first base, and was hitting .176 with 13 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances.
They recalled rookie left-handed reliever Joseph Ortiz from the Triple-A Round Rock, along with catcher Robinson Chirinos.
Usual designated hitter Lance Berkman was in the starting lineup at first base after resting in the previous two games. He could play in the field until Moreland is back, with Chirinos also an option at first base.
Texas also has six pitchers on the disabled list.
Reliever Joakim Soria, who has yet to make his Rangers debut while recovering from a ligament replacement surgery 14 months ago, is scheduled to make a rehabilitation appearance Thursday for Double-A Frisco. He threw live batting practice at Rangers Ballpark on Monday, his second such session in four days.
Right-hander Alexi Ogando, out since June 6 with shoulder inflammation, had a long toss session Tuesday and said he still feels something when he throws.
“I want to make sure my arm is 100 percent,” said Ogando, the former reliever who is on the DL for the second time this season.
Opening day starter Matt Harrison (surgery on a herniated disk in his lower back) is throwing from 60 feet and Colby Lewis (right elbow surgery) is scheduled to throw off a mound Thursday.
Baker is hitting .317 with nine home runs and 16 RBIs, with a .386 clip against left-handed pitchers.
But he can’t hold a bat or throw a ball right now.
“I’m not there yet. We’re still trying to get the swelling out of there,” he said. “The next hurdle is going to be when you make contact and the ball’s beating your hand up a little bit there. The biggest thing is make sure we get it right and knock it out and not have any more setbacks.”
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