The Texas Rangers acquired right-handed knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, when they placed reliever Jake Diekman and first baseman Prince Fielder on the 60-day disabled list.
The moves by the AL West champions came on the same day pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.
Fielder was forced to quit playing last summer after his second neck surgery, but is under contract through 2020 for $24 million a season. He has to remain on the Rangers roster for them to recoup some of that money through an insurance policy.
Diekman is expected to miss at least half of the season during treatment for the ulcerative colitis, a digestive condition he has dealt with much of his life. He had surgery Jan. 25, the first of a series of scheduled procedures to remove his colon. Even though he can’t participate in any individual or team drills, Diekman was in camp Tuesday to be with his teammates
Gamboa goes to the Rangers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He was 0-2 with a 1.35 ERA in seven relief appearances for the Rays last season, the first major league action for the 32-year-old pitcher.
Since Fielder didn’t formally retire, he had to remain on the Rangers’ 40-man roster during the offseason. But he can be placed on the 60-day disabled list once camp opens and not count against their roster limit.
Fielder got a $214 million, nine-year contract in 2012 from Detroit, which traded the slugger to Texas after two seasons. The Tigers owe Texas $6 million apiece in 2017 and ’18, and $7 million in each of the following two years as part of that November 2013 deal. The Rangers are responsible for the remainder, about half of which will be covered by disability insurance.
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