ARLINGTON -- The Rangers on Saturday placed pitcher Frank Francisco on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his right rib cage and called up Derek Holland from Triple-A Oklahoma City.Holland has been mainly used as a starter this season, both with the Rangers and at Oklahoma City. But he will work out of the bullpen for now as a long reliever. Francisco had an MRI on Saturday and the results showed inflammation but no tear in the muscle. He will be shut down while he undergoes treatment, and there is no timetable as to when he will resume throwing. The Rangers still expect him to pitch at some point in September and be available for the postseason. "No doubt about it, he's a huge piece," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I still say we don't get this done without Frankie. I said that earlier, and I still say that." With Francisco out, Washington is likely to use Darren Oliver and Darren O'Day as his eighth-inning setup relievers with Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando available in the sixth and seventh innings. Michael Kirkman is the team's middle reliever, and Holland now gives them a true long man. Harrison is moving up in the bullpen pecking order. He has allowed just two runs in his past 15 2/3 innings and has a 1.57 ERA in his past 17 games. "We're not afraid to use him in tough situations," Washington said. "He's doing a good job. He's finally figured out how to come in and throw strikes." Holland was 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 11 games for the RedHawks and 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA in six games with the Rangers this season.
Holland one possibility for playoff roster
ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland was promoted to the Rangers on Saturday, and if he is still with them Tuesday, he will be eligible to be on the postseason roster.That will be another factor to consider in what will eventually be an intriguing situation for the final spot on the postseason roster. It all will revolve around the fifth spot in the rotation and why the Rangers could bring outfielder Willy Taveras to the big leagues in the next few days. The Rangers use a five-man rotation during the regular season but likely would use a four-man rotation if they reach the playoffs. The question is what to do with the fifth-starter spot on the roster in playoffs. There are two choices: go with an extra reliever in the bullpen or an extra bench player. The extra reliever could be one of the five starters -- most likely Rich Harden -- or it could be Scott Feldman or Dustin Nippert. Both are on the 15-day disabled list. Going with Holland would give the Rangers four left-handed relievers. If the Rangers go with the extra bench player, Taveras might be the right choice. The primary role of a fifth player off the bench would be a late-inning pinch-runner, and Taveras has 195 stolen bases at the Major League level. The Rangers signed him to a Minor League contract this month, and he is at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Esteban German is another possibility. To be eligible for the postseason, a player has to be on the 25-man roster or the disabled list on Aug. 31.
Deer and claw T-shirts coming soon
ARLINGTON -- The deer and the claw are coming to a store near you.The blue T-shirt that has the claw on the front and the deer on the back will be made available to fans hopefully by mid-September. These are the T-shirts the Rangers have been wearing this summer that signify their two celebratory gestures. Fans can pre-order the T-shirt at the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop at The Ballpark in Arlington or at the Rangers stores in downtown Fort Worth or Dallas. The shirts will be available from sizes small to XXL and will sell for $26. A foam claw will also be available for $9 at some point. "We don't have them in stock yet but we are hoping by mid-September," Rangers vice president John Blake said. The claw is a long-distance high-five that players give each other after doing something good during a game. It was first devised by Esteban German in the Minor Leagues and brought to the Rangers by Nelson Cruz. The "deer wave" is given when a player does something special that requires him to utilize his speed.
Offensive milestones being reached
ARLINGTON -- Two players reached offensive milestones and another is approaching one: Michael Young hit his 30th double of the season on Friday night. He has at least 30 doubles in eight straight seasons. The only other active player with a streak that long or longer is Albert Pujols, who has at least 30 doubles in 10 straight seasons. Josh Hamilton had three hits on Friday. He has 24 three-hit games this season, a club record. Mickey Rivers (1980) and Ivan Rodriguez (1997) both had 23 three-hit games. Vladimir Guerrero needs four RBIs to reach 100 for the season. It would be his 10th season with at least 100 RBIs.
Rangers starter Tommy Hunter's 11 wins since the beginning of June is the second most by any Major League pitcher. CC Sabathia of the Yankees has 13 wins. ... Hunter is 20-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 35 starts over the past two seasons. ... The Royals will go with three right-handers in their upcoming series with the Rangers: Kyle Davies on Monday, Sean O'Sullivan on Tuesday and Bryan Bullington on Wednesday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.