4/24/2014 5:50 P.M. ET
Kouzmanoff heads to Texas to have back examined
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The Rangers have sent third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff back to Texas to have his back examined by Dr. Drew Dossett. Kouzmanoff has a history of back issues and had to come out of Tuesday night's game against Oakland because of some tightness.
Kouzmanoff has not improved as much as the Rangers had hoped, so they want him to undergo a complete examination. The Rangers have to make a roster decision on Friday night when they activate Adrian Beltre from the disabled list.
"We want to make sure we know what's going on before we have to create a roster spot for Adrian," general manager Jon Daniels said.
Kouzmanoff could end up on the disabled list if he is expected to miss more than a few days. The Rangers are already short-handed because Shin-Soo Choo is sidelined with a sprained left ankle.
But Choo did report improvement after undergoing treatment on Thursday, and Daniels expressed hope the Rangers left fielder will avoid going on the disabled list.
Kouzmanoff had been playing third base while Beltre was on the disabled list with a strained left quad muscle. In 13 games, Kouzmanoff is hitting .362 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.
Former pitcher Oliver now a special assistant
SEATTLE -- Former pitcher Darren Oliver has been officially added to the Rangers' staff of special assistants. Oliver joins Greg Maddux, Ivan Rodriguez and Tony Fernandez on the list of distinguished former players who are assisting with the instruction throughout the organization.
"Darren is obviously a well-respected member of the Rangers family from his time on the field and in the community," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Back when he was still playing, Ollie and I talked about this and the different things he could do after his playing career is over.
"He is a guy pitchers want to talk to, players want to talk to. He brings a different perspective, a common-sense guy. He's not going to be overly complicated with mechanics, but he respects the game and a lot of guys can relate to him."
Oliver has already been working for the Rangers. He joined the Rangers in their annual trip to the Dominican Republic, was in Spring Training for several weeks and has been at a number of home games. The Rangers just formalized the relationship on Thursday. Like Maddux, Oliver will likely take on special projects and supplement the overall pitching instruction and philosophy of the organization.
"A lot of players want to be associated with someone in the big leagues [who has] had success," Oliver said. "Maybe they can be more honest with them and feel more comfortable ... someone who can understand the struggles that [happen] on the field. If they can have someone who has been through it before, it gives them somebody to talk to."
Oliver spent 20 years in the Major Leagues, including 10 with the Rangers. He began his career as a reliever in 1994, moved to the rotation in '96 and was mostly a starter through 2004. At that point his career seemed over, but he re-invented himself as a reliever and spent eight highly successful seasons in that role from 2006-2013 before retiring. He was with the Rangers for a third time in 2010-11 as a setup reliever on two World Series teams.
"He has been through a little bit of everything," Daniels said. "A lot of unique turns in his career, and each one allows him to relate to a different group of guys."
Rangers reliever Figueroa to have Tommy John
SEATTLE -- Left-handed reliever Pedro Figueroa has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon in his left elbow and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery sometime next week.
The Rangers claimed Figueroa on waivers this winter and he made the team in Spring Training. Figueroa has a history of command and control problems, but he appeared to be making progress toward conquering those issues and becoming an effective left-handed setup reliever.
He was 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 10 games for the Rangers. But he had to come out of Tuesday's game against Oakland after just one pitch when he felt pain in the elbow. This will be the second Tommy John surgery for Figueroa. The other was in 2010 when he was with the Athletics.
"Obviously, we feel terrible for Pedro," general manager Jon Daniels said.
Feliz lands on DL at Triple-A with elbow soreness
SEATTLE -- The Rangers have placed pitcher Neftali Feliz on the disabled list at Triple-A Round Rock for what is being described as general soreness in his right elbow.
Feliz, who underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1, 2012, was examined by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington on Thursday. Meister found no structural issues with the ligament or tendons, but just some inflammation in the elbow that is being treated with oral medication.
Feliz hasn't pitched for Round Rock since April 16. He has appeared in five games with a 1.59 ERA. He has allowed two hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six. He is expected to begin a throwing program next week.
Feliz appeared in six games for the Rangers last September, but he did not make the team out of Spring Training. Instead he was sent to Round Rock to continue building his stamina, as well as work on some mechanical issues.
"The work ethic has been outstanding," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We were very pleased how he was applying things they were doing on the side. His stuff varied, some days were better than others."
• The Rangers have placed pitcher Michael Kirkman on the disabled list at Triple-A Round Rock with a minor calf injury. The Rangers also want Kirkman to get extra time with pitching coach Brad Holman, and he could end up being used as a reliever once he returns.
• Cory Burns was taken off the temporarily inactive list to reinforce the Round Rock bullpen.
• After hitting three home runs on Wednesday night, Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach third baseman Joey Gallo has nine home runs in 19 games. That's the second most in the Minor Leagues so far this season. He leads all Minor Leaguers with an .891 slugging percentage and is tied for third with 22 RBIs.
• The second annual Texas Food Truckin' Fest will be held Friday and Saturday in the stadium parking lots in Arlington. The event will include live music and will benefit the Tarrant Area Food Bank. The event will run from 4-10 p.m. CT on Friday and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.