Rangers place Tateyama on DL
Eppley designated for assignment; Heilman inked to Triple-A deal
FRISCO, Texas -- The Rangers completed their 25-man Opening Day roster by placing pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.
They also announced that pitcher Cody Eppley has been designated for assignment and pitcher Aaron Heilman has been signed to a contract at Triple-A Round Rock.
The final moves came just over 48 hours before Opening Day and at a time when the Rangers are still talking to Ian Kinsler's agent about a possible six-year contract extension. Jay Franklin was at the Rangers' game with Double-A Frisco on Wednesday to meet with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine.
Tateyama, who has not pitched since March 29, was placed on the disabled list retroactive to March 30 with stiffness in his lower back. That leaves the Rangers with a bullpen of closer Joe Nathan, left-hander Robbie Ross and right-handers Mark Lowe, Koji Uehara, Scott Feldman, Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams.
"We believe in Tateyama and we trust Tateyama, but this is what's best for him and the Rangers," manager Ron Washington said. "We'll just make sure he gets his work and his treatment, and gets healthy. When he does that, we'll have a plan."
Adams was hit in the left calf by a line drive during Tuesday's exhibition against Mexico City and spent Wednesday getting treatment. He is expected to be ready for Opening Day.
"He's kind of limping a little bit, but this is go-time," Washington said.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz, who was hit by a pitch on Tuesday, was also out of the lineup on Wednesday with a bruised left elbow. He, too, is expected to be ready for Opening Day on Friday.
"He may have some stiffness and soreness, but it shouldn't keep him from swinging," Washington said.
The Rangers, who were at 39 on the 40-man roster going into the day, had to drop one player to make room for pitcher Robbie Ross and infielder Alberto Gonzalez. Both were in camp as non-roster players. They decided to designate Eppley, who pitched three innings this spring and allowed two runs on four hits, three walks and a strikeout. If he is not claimed on waivers, he will be outrighted to Round Rock.
Heilman, 33, is a nine-year veteran who was released by the Mariners last weekend. He was 4-1 with a 6.88 ERA in 32 games for the D-backs last season. He allowed 12.2 hits, 2.8 walks and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He has been used primarily as a reliever in his career with the Mets, Cubs and D-backs, and has a career record of 35-46 with a 4.40 ERA in 477 games.
"Our guys have seen him and feel there is something still there," said Jake Krug, the Rangers' director of Minor League operations. "He's a good fit for Round Rock."
The Rangers also placed pitcher Neal Cotts on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle in his left side. He is not expected to throw for another month, and will remain in Surprise, Ariz., getting treatment and doing his rehabilitation work.
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.