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07/18/08 9:52 PM ET

Rangers call up catcher Teagarden

Young backstop makes debut against Twins on Friday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Taylor Teagarden might have to put those Olympics plans on hold.

The Rangers called up the young catcher from Triple-A Oklahoma prior to Friday's game against the Twins. Texas also activated Hank Blalock from the disabled list.

To make room for the pair, the club designated reliever Joselo Diaz for assignment and optioned pitcher Kameron Loe to the Minors.

The Rangers called up Teagarden because catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who sustained a groin injury prior to the All-Star break, was bedridden during the layoff with the flu.

With Gerald Laird on the DL and Max Ramirez the only healthy catcher on the roster, the Rangers didn't want to be caught in a situation without a backup.

Additionally, Texas had two open roster spots because starters Vicente Padilla and Eric Hurley are currently on the DL. Padilla will be activated to pitch on Sunday and Hurley will be activated to start on Monday.

"We don't need nine in the bullpen with a fully rested staff after the break," general manager Jon Daniels said. "So we wanted to make sure we were protected."

Daniels said of Saltalamacchia's status: "We wanted to play it safe, especially on the turf, and especially when we basically had two free roster spots to play with."

Saltalamacchia is listed as day-to-day. If he is able to return by Monday, Texas could option Teagarden back to the Minors. This would allow Teagarden to head to Beijing for the Summer Games -- he was selected to the U.S. team earlier this month. If Teagarden is to be eligible for the Olympics, he must be sent down to the Minors by Tuesday. The Rangers have been in touch with USA Baseball in regards to Teagarden's status.

"We were very cognizant of his status with the Olympic team and I think that had Salty been fine, we would not have called Taylor up and he would have gone out and played with the Olympic team," Daniels said. "[But] we have to take care of our priorities here, first."

"I would like to see him go to the Olympics," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "But if we have a need for him to be here, sorry."

Teagarden made his Major League debut on Friday when Washington put him in the starting lineup, batting ninth.

"He just got here and I want to get his feet wet as quickly as I possibly can," Washington said. "What better time to get his feet wet than to go out there and catch a veteran [like Kevin Millwood]?"

If the reports Washington have heard about Teagarden are true, the Rangers' pitching staff should enjoy working with the youngster.

"I was told that he is known for his defense, known for his throwing, known for his game calling," Washington said. "The last day before we got to break, that Futures Game was on. And I watched him back there and I think everything that I heard was true. He was blowing them up trying to steal on him, he was receiving very good, blocking very good."

Blalock, meanwhile, made his first start since April 25, batting sixth and playing third base. During his rehabilitation from the injury, Blalock was moved to first base. However, the emergence of rookie Chris Davis caused Washington and Daniels to ask Blalock to return to the position he had manned since he was a 21-year-old rookie in 2002.

Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.