04/23/10 12:33 AM ET
Rangers signal for Smoak; Davis demoted
Texas' top pick in 2008 Draft named starting first baseman
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Justin Smoak is now the Rangers' starting first baseman.
Texas announced after Thursday's 3-0 win vs. Boston that Davis is being optioned to Triple-A and Smoak is being called up from Oklahoma City. He is expected to start at first base on Friday night, when the Rangers open a four-game series against the Tigers at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Smoak, a switch-hitter who was the Rangers' first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was 0-for-4 on Thursday for Oklahoma City. But he is still hitting .300 with 10 runs scored, six doubles, two home runs and five RBIs in 15 games. He has also walked 16 times.
"Justin has been having really quality at-bats at Triple-A, and we just felt we could use more production out of that spot in the lineup," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We want to see if he can continue to have those high quality at-bats in the big leagues."
Davis was 0-for-3 with a walk in four plate appearances on Thursday. That left him hitting .188 with no home runs and one RBI in 15 games. He had walked five times and struck out 17.
"Chris is working hard," Daniels said. "He's putting the time and the work in. It's early in the season, but I think if this had been Chris' first exposure to the big leagues, we would have been inclined to wait.
"But we've got a quality option performing at Triple-A. We felt like, offensively, we're not clicking yet as a club and this was an opportunity to help in that regard."
The Rangers snapped a six-game losing streak with Thursday's victory, but they have been struggling offensively from almost the beginning of the season. Texas went into Thursday's games 10th in the American League in hitting, with the fourth-fewest runs scored and the fifth-fewest home runs.
"We're not looking at Justin Smoak to ride in on a white horse and save the day," Daniels said. "We just want him to play good defense and get us four to five quality at-bats a night. The rest will take care of itself. There are other spots in the offense that are off to slow starts. But this is a position where we have some depth in the system and a guy we feel that can help us right now."
The Rangers have to make room for Smoak on the 40-man roster. The most expedient move would be to call up pitcher Omar Poveda and put him on the 60-day disabled list. He had Tommy John elbow surgery in Spring Training and is out for the season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.