Club officials have confirmed that the Rangers are planning to switch their Triple-A affiliation from Oklahoma City to Round Rock for the 2011 season.The Rangers announced on Monday they are extending their working agreements with Double-A Frisco and Class A Spokane and Hickory. But Oklahoma City was left out of the announcement. At this time, clubs can only work on renewing their agreements with their present affiliates. They can not begin talks with other affiliates until later in September. But club president Nolan Ryan also owns the Round Rock team and it has long been a foregone conclusion that the Rangers would switch in 2011. The switch would help the Rangers gain inroads into the Central Texas market although they have enjoyed a strong following in Oklahoma City over the years. The Rangers have been at Oklahoma City since 1983. The Astros, currently in Round Rock, will likely switch to Oklahoma City, which actually was their first Triple-A affiliate during 1962-72, when they were the 89ers. The Rangers would also like to find a new high Class A affiliate. Currently they are at Bakersfield in the California League but play in one of the oldest ballparks in the Minor Leagues and the situation there has been far from satisfactory. There is a possibility they could switch to Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is one of the owners there but Myrtle Beach also has a strong relationship with the Atlanta Braves. That is still up in the air. The new agreement with Frisco is a four-year deal. Spokane and Hickory are two-year deals. Frisco is owned by Mandalay Sports Entertainment, a group currently trying to buy the Oklahoma City franchise.
Murphy to alternate with Borbon for Rangers
KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Nelson Cruz, activated off the disabled list on Monday, is back in the Rangers' lineup and manager Ron Washington is back to alternating David Murphy and Julio Borbon.Murphy was in the lineup on Monday with Borbon on the bench. But Washington made it clear that Borbon and Murphy will both continue to play. Washington wanted Murphy out there on Monday because the Rangers had scored just two runs over their past two games. "I need some run producers out there, guys who can drive in runs," Washington said. "Murphy can drive in runs. I have four pretty good outfielders. I'm going to give them all time so they are all engaged. I feel comfortable with all of them out there. Murphy started in center with Cruz in left and Vladimir Guerrero in right. Josh Hamilton was originally in center field but was moved to designated hitter right before the game because the Rangers want to give his legs a rest. Murphy gives the Rangers potentially more run production when he is in the lineup while Borbon offers more speed and defense. Murphy went into Monday's game hitting .338 with a .425 on-base percentage and a .568 slugging percentage in his last 23 games. "It's been the same thing all year," Murphy said. "They are going to play the hot hand. Julio needs to know how important he is to this team. He'll get his chances over the final month the same way I knew I would get my chances early in the season. He needs to stay ready down the stretch." Borbon has played extremely well defensively but his hitting has tailed off as the summer has progressed. He is hitting .222 in his last 42 games, he has just two RBIs in his last 33 games and he has just two steals in his last 61 games. "You're going to see Murphy out there and you're going to see Borbon out there," Washington said.
Texas sends Harden to 'pen; Holland to start
KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers are moving Rich Harden to the bullpen and Derek Holland is going to the rotation.Holland will start on Friday against the Twins. The Rangers informed Harden of the decision before Monday's game against the Royals. "It was two-fold," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "One is we've had inconsistencies out of the fifth starter the last few times through. We're trying to mix and match to find the right chemistry. We're going to give Derek another chance. This also gives us another right-hander out of the bullpen with Frankie [Francisco] out." Harden is 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA in his last four starts and 5-5 with a 5.17 ERA in 17 starts this season while missing over two months because of a strained muscle in his lower back and inflammation in his left shoulder. Harden has made 144 career starts and just eight relief appearances in his Major League career. He hasn't pitched in relief since 2007. Holland is 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA in five starts and two relief appearances this season in three separate tours of duty with the Rangers. He was also 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Harden started on Saturday against the Athletics and lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits in a 5-0 loss. Holland took over and allowed one run on three hits in 42/3 innings.
The Rangers optioned outfielder Brandon Boggs to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for outfielder Nelson Cruz, who was activated off the disabled list. The Rangers recalled outfielder Craig Gentry from Triple-A Oklahoma City and put him on the disabled list. Gentry, who was a certain September callup, is sidelined with a broken wrist. By recalling him from Triple-A, the Rangers leave open the possibility that he could be on the postseason roster, even if it's only as a pinch-runner. Second baseman Ian Kinsler is 1-for-6 in two games on rehab assignment for Double-A Frisco. Kinsler, who has been on the disabled list since July 29 with a strained left groin muscle, will play at least two more games at Frisco on Monday and Tuesday but the Rangers still expect him to be activated on Friday against the Twins. Cristian Guzman, on the disabled list with a strained right quad muscle, is 3-for-8 in three games for Frisco. He is expected to be activated at some point this week as well. Scott Feldman, on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his right knee, is with the Rangers on the current road trip going through his throwing program.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.