SEATTLE -- The Rangers designated first baseman Ben Broussard for assignment and activated third baseman Travis Metcalf off the disabled list on Thursday.

Broussard was dropped from the roster with a .159 batting average, three home runs and eight RBIs. He has not driven in a run since April 6 and has lost his job at first base to a platoon of Frank Catalanotto and Chris Shelton.

"Ben is a better player than he has shown," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He had a down month that came at a bad time for the team. If you look around the league at guys like Frank Thomas, Jacque Jones, Brad Wilkerson and Jason Michaels, who have been let go, teams are getting to the point where they need to do what's right for the team. Ben's a quality left-hander who can pinch-hit, play first base and play left field. I expect him to contribute for somebody."

The Rangers acquired Broussard from the Mariners in the offseason for Minor League second baseman Tim Hulett. Unless a team trades for him or claims him off waivers, the Rangers will be responsible for the remainder of his $3.85 million salary this season.

The Rangers were going to make this move on Tuesday when outfielder Marlon Byrd is expected to come off the disabled list, but they accelerated the timetable because Michael Young was out of the lineup on Thursday with a strained hip flexor.

Young is expected to be ready on Friday, but his injury forced the Rangers to use German Duran at third base and Ramon Vazquez at shortstop on Thursday. That left Texas without a backup infielder, and Daniels did not want to put manager Ron Washington in a position to use Young on a cold night in Seattle.

So the Rangers activated Metcalf, who was on the disabled list since March 21 after undergoing surgery on his left hamstring.

"I didn't want Ron to be caught short," Daniels said.

Metcalf has been playing in extended Spring Training games in Arizona, but he has yet to play in a Minor League game this season. He was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday, but the RedHawks' game was rained out.

The Rangers initially flew him to Seattle in case Young had to go on the disabled list. Then they decided to activate him and cut ties with Broussard.

Metcalf isn't quite ready, but the only other option on the 40-man roster was Joaquin Arias, the RedHawks second baseman who has yet to play shortstop this season because his shoulder still isn't ready. Metcalf was chosen because he at least can make a throw to first from the left side of the diamond.

"I'm so happy to be around a baseball atmosphere for a change," Metcalf said. "I was going insane in Arizona. I'm good and ready to go. I played in six or seven extended league games, ran the bases and haven't had any problems. I haven't had a chance to test it at a higher level or a faster game, like Triple-A, but so far I haven't had any problems."

Metcalf probably needs a month of playing time at Triple-A Oklahoma before he's ready to be a serious option. He'll likely be sent down on Tuesday when Byrd is ready to be activated. But Young's situation requires him to be here now.

Young first felt the strain in his hip during batting practice on Wednesday. He still was in the starting lineup, but he had to leave after one at-bat because the hip still felt tight. Young underwent treatment during the game and reported more improvement when he arrived at Safeco Field.

He's just not at 100 percent, and the Rangers aren't interested in taking chances with their All-Star shortstop. So Young was out of the starting lineup for only the second time this season.

"It felt a lot better than yesterday, but it's still a little tight," Young said. "I'm also experienced enough to know the swings in the cage are not going to be the same as in the game. The swing in the game is faster, a lot more intense and with a lot more torque. I'll be ready to pinch-hit late in this game and be ready to go tomorrow."