NEW YORK -- The Rangers signed catcher Koyie Hill to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday, the same day that Luis Martinez made his first start at catcher for Texas. The club is scrambling to find depth at a position that was shared by Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba for the first four months of the season.Napoli is on the disabled list and Torrealba was released after the Rangers acquired Geovany Soto from the Cubs on July 31. Torrealba could be close to signing with the Blue Jays. Hill was released by the Nationals on Aug. 3 after hitting .163 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 31 games at Triple-A Syracuse. He played in 11 games with the Cubs earlier this season. In 313 Major League games, Hill has a career average of .210 with eight home runs and 76 RBIs with the Dodgers, D-backs and Cubs. Martinez was called up from Round Rock on Saturday after Napoli went on the disabled list with a strained left quad muscle. Martinez was up with the Rangers for one week in July but appeared in only one game. On July 18 in Oakland, Martinez went behind the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 3-3 game. He was there for three pitches, as the game ended on Brandon Hicks' home run off reliever Michael Kirkman. Martinez played in 22 games for the Padres last season before signing as a Minor League free agent with the Rangers in the offseason. "It's a great opportunity," Martinez said. "I'm going to make the best of it and help my team any way I can. This team has so much talent; I want to help any way I can to get us in the World Series and get a ring. I'm enjoying every moment of this."
Rangers won't rush Napoli off disabled list
NEW YORK -- Catcher Mike Napoli sprained his left ankle in the World Series last year and was still dealing with that issue in Spring Training. Before the ankle completely healed, Napoli started having trouble with his left quad muscle.The Rangers did not put Napoli on the disabled list until Saturday, but he suggested that he has not been completely healthy all season. "It has been a grind this year," Napoli said. "I've been in the training room all year, starting in Spring Training." Napoli, who last played on Friday, started resuming hitting on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium after taking three days off. He also did some leg exercises with strength coach Jose Vazquez. Napoli is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 26, but after what he has been through this year, the Rangers aren't going to rush anything. His return may not come until September. "I hope I'm ready when two weeks are up, but I'm not going to push it," Napoli said. "I want to be out there playing, but it will be nice to get behind the plate healthy and not have this thing nagging at me." This is the second time in Napoli's two seasons with the Rangers that he has been on the disabled list. Last year, he was sidelined from June 12 to July 3 with a strained rib cage muscle. When he was placed on the disabled list last year, Napoli was hitting .221 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 46 games. After being activated, he hit .378 with 20 home runs and 50 RBIs in 67 games. He is currently hitting .223 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs in 92 games, so maybe the stay on the DL will give Napoli a similar boost when he returns. "I hope it does," Napoli said. "Maybe it will. But I don't want to get injured and take a rest just so I can start hitting again. Hopefully, it will work out."
Double-A BP next up on Uehara's agenda
NEW YORK -- Rangers reliever Koji Uehara, who has been on the disabled list since June 10 with a strained right lat muscle, is scheduled to throw batting practice on Wednesday for Double-A Frisco. That's the first of four steps the Rangers have planned for the right-hander in anticipation of activating him on Aug. 26.The schedule calls for Uehara to throw two sessions of BP with Frisco, then make two appearances on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock. Those two appearances -- one inning each - are scheduled for Aug. 21 and Aug. 24. "He should be ready to go after that if he has no setbacks," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Uehara had a 2.11 ERA in 20 games for the Rangers before going on the disabled list. The Rangers expected him to come off the disabled list after throwing a scoreless inning for Round Rock on July 14. But he re-aggravated his injury and had to start the healing process all over again.
Washington on his starting rotation: "Our starters, other than [Ryan] Dempster, are still trying to find out who they are. [Derek Holland] is in his fourth year, [Matt] Harrison is in his third year. They're still learning. They just happened to be in some situations where they played in some big games early in their careers. Being on the big stage helped them, but they've still got some growing to do." Washington on the Yankees: "What they're doing ... it's all about winning. They can win 110 games, and if they don't win the World Series, it doesn't matter. I hope we can get to that point in Texas. I'm a competitor, and competitors think like that. Who wouldn't want that? That's why those guys are the elite. They expect to win. Who would want it any other way?" Ichiro Suzuki hit a triple against the Rangers in Monday night's 8-2 loss to the Yankees. It was his 15th career triple against the Rangers, the most by an opponent in club history. Ichiro had been tied with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. The Rangers have promoted right-handed pitcher Roman Mendez from Class A Hickory to Double-A Frisco. Mendez was one of three players acquired by the Rangers from the Red Sox for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in July 2010. Mendez, 22, has been converted from a starter to a reliever and has allowed one hit and one walk while striking out six over six innings in his last five relief appearances.
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.