With deal official, Guzman starts for Rangers
Veteran infielder joins Texas after initially vetoing trade
ANAHEIM -- At first, Cristian Guzman said no thank you.When the Nationals approached him on Friday and asked if he would accept a trade to the Rangers, Guzman said he would not. As a 10-and-5 player, Guzman had the right to veto any trade.
"The first time, I said no," Guzman said. "I would have to move my family, my kids are in school there and they would have no time to come see me. Then they were still talking and I said, 'OK, I'll go to Texas.' I changed my mind right away. I didn't think too much about it. First place ... playoffs are good ... the World Series is better."The Rangers officially announced on Saturday they have acquired Guzman from the National for two Minor League pitchers. Guzman joined the Rangers on Saturday and went 0-for-4 in the sixth spot in manager Ron Washington's lineup. Guzman will be the Rangers' primary second baseman while Ian Kinsler is on the disabled list with a strained left groin muscle. When Kinsler returns in August, Guzman will become the team's utility infielder. "He gives Ron a lot of options," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He can play shortstop, he can play second base, we feel confident he can play third base -- if need be, he can play the outfield or first base. "He'll play primarily in the middle of the infield, but he's a guy you can put anywhere and get a professional big league approach and feel confident about it." In return, the Rangers sent Minor League pitchers Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark to the Nationals. Both were with Double-A Frisco, where Tatusko was 9-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 13 starts and 11 relief appearances, while Roark was 10-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 17 starts and five relief appearances. Both were not considered high prospects, although they have enjoyed success in the Rangers' farm system. Roark was a 25th-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and pitched at the University of Illinois, while Tatusko was an 18th-round pick out of Indiana State in 2007. "They needed an infielder with Kinsler going down," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We have two good young Double-A prospects that will help our inventory -- two starting candidates. It's a trade -- veteran player for prospects." Guzman is the fourth veteran the Rangers have acquired in the past month. The Rangers have also acquired catcher Bengie Molina, starter Cliff Lee and infielder Jorge Cantu since the beginning of July. Cantu joined the team on Friday and was also in the lineup for Saturday's game. "I think we're all excited the team is doing what it can to improve us," third baseman Michael Young. "Obviously, Cliff and Bengie have already made a huge impact on this team. The other two guys, I've played against them. Both are good players and will be good additions to the team." Daniels said the Rangers were considering Guzman even before Kinsler went down with an injury. Daniels said they have been considering him as far back as Spring Training, when they were looking for an infielder. "We feel good about what we have been able to do the last few weeks," Daniels said. "In constructing our roster, we wanted to give Ron as much as deep and versatile depth as we could ... to give him the option of putting together a lineup on a daily basis and withstand the potential of injury. We wanted to have as deep and versatile bench as we could in case something popped up. "We've loved our club all year, but we feel these adjustments complement what we already have." Kinsler was placed on the disabled list backdated to Wednesday and is eligible to come off on Friday, Aug. 13. Kinsler is hoping he'll be ready on that date but the Rangers aren't sure. "I know Ian feels good where he's at," Daniels said. "He feels he could play tonight if he had to. We felt it was in everybody's best interests to get this thing treated to where it's not an issue going down the stretch. He's a critical part of this club, and we want to get him healthy. We're going to err on the side of caution." Guzman was a front-line shortstop for most of his career with the Twins and the Nationals, and was an All-Star in both 2001 and '08. Washington switched him to second base this season to make room for Ian Desmond. Guzman has also played eight games in right field. But once Kinsler comes back, Guzman will likely be used sparingly as a utility infielder. "For this year, yeah I can handle it," Guzman said. "They needed somebody and this place is better for me. The thing is, the team is in first place and we've got an opportunity to go to the playoffs. There are a lot of good teammates here, although I'm not saying Washington didn't have good teammates. Everybody was cool there. But I know this team is playing good."