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08/07/09 8:24 PM ET
Padilla designated for assignment
Right-hander could be traded but likely to be released
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Vicente Padilla's time with the Rangers came to an abrupt end on Friday when he was designated for assignment right before the beginning of a three-game series with the Angels. The Rangers have 10 days to make a move with Padilla, who will go immediately onto trade waivers. If a team claims him, it will pick up the remainder of his $12 million contract plus his option for 2010. If he clears waivers, the Rangers will try to trade him while picking up some or all of the remainder of his contract. If no trade is made, the Rangers will release him. Dustin Nippert will take Padilla's spot in the rotation. Outfielder Julio Borbon was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma and was active for Friday's game with the Angels. "It's primarily a culmination of events over time," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're putting together a club and an organization where everybody is pulling on the same end of the rope. When one guy isn't, it becomes apparent. "We're trying to be a team in every sense of the word and this just wasn't working. I'm sure he'll catch on with somebody, but it just wasn't working here." The Rangers made the move with Padilla just two days after he lost to the Athletics, 7-5, while allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings. Scott Hairston hit a two-run home run in the first inning and two batters later Padilla hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch. The Athletics responded two innings later when pitcher Chad Reineke hit Michael Young. The Rangers had already expressed their displeasure with Padilla about his penchant for throwing at hitters. Padilla hit Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira twice in a game on June 2 in a 12-3 loss and was called onto the carpet for his actions. The Rangers put him on outright waivers, but no team claimed him at the time. "It has never been about throwing at hitters," Daniels said. "It's about being a good teammate. Hitters get hit. There is a right way to do it and a wrong way. It wasn't one particular event, it was a culmination of events. "We talked about our organization doing things a certain way and standing for something. When you bring young kids up to the big leagues and you're in a pennant race, you've got to back up what you're talking about or it's meaningless." Padilla, who was the Rangers' No. 2 starter going into the season, was 5-3 with a 4.28 ERA in nine starts since the incident in New York. He also missed starts because of a sore right shoulder and a bout with the swine flu, but Daniels said that wasn't a part of the decision. "The guy was sick," Daniels said. Padilla, who is making $12 million this year, was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA in 18 starts this season and 43-34 with a 4.90 ERA since the beginning of the 2006 season after the Rangers acquired him in a trade with the Phillies. Kevin Millwood, who is 44-43 with a 4.59 ERA since the beginning of 2006, and Padilla have been No. 1 and No. 2 in the Rangers rotation during that time. "We understand that," Daniels said. "We understand what it does. There are other guys on the club who are deserving of the opportunity." Nippert is 3-0 with 2.73 ERA in eight games, including four starts this season. He is 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in four starts and he is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in six games, including two starts, since the All-Star break. "I feel as confident with Nippert taking the ball as much as Padilla," Daniels said. Daniels said the Rangers will look outside the organization for pitching help, but are prepared to go down the stretch with Nippert, Millwood, Scott Feldman, Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter. Millwood was the only one in the Rangers starting rotation when the season began. Holland, Nippert and Hunter have made a combined 32 Major League starts in their careers. "We'll keep our eyes open," Daniels said. "Nippert is very deserving of this opportunity. If an opportunity presents itself to improve the club, we'll look at it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.