MLB

Rangers RHP Tateyama on DL to start season

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FRISCO, Texas (AP)

Reliever Yoshinori Tateyama will begin the season on the Texas Rangers' disabled list, and outfielder Julio Borbon is headed for the minor leagues.

Tateyama, who has been bothered by a lower back muscle strain and hasn't pitched in a week, was put on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Borbon was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock when the two-time defending American League champions finalized their opening-day roster.

Texas also selected the contracts of rookie left-hander Robbie Ross and infielder Alberto Gonzalez from Round Rock.

All the moves made before their final exhibition game were expected. The Rangers open the season at home Friday against the Chicago White Sox.

''I like (the roster). There were not a lot of decisions to make,'' manager Ron Washington said. ''I'm very pleased with what we're going into the season with.''

The most significant change from the 2011 season-opening roster is in the bullpen. Right-hander Mark Lowe is the only reliever who also started in that role last season, though there are several familiar faces for Texas.

Veteran Joe Nathan is the Rangers' new closer, while setup relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara were acquired in trades last July. Scott Feldman was a 17-game winner as a starter in 2009 before knee surgery, and Alexi Ogando was a reliever before winning 13 games as a starter last season.

''The bullpen is a little different with Ogando and Feldman starting in there right away,'' Washington said. ''That strengthens us right there.''

Tateyama will be eligible to be activated April 14.

Neftali Feliz, their hard-throwing closer the past two seasons, is now the No. 5 starter in a rotation behind Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish.

Even though Craig Gentry struggled this spring, the Rangers kept the speedy right-handed hitting outfielder on the roster over lefty Borbon.

The Rangers plan to have Josh Hamilton primarily in center after David Murphy, primarily a fourth outfielder in the past, earned the starting spot in left field. Hamilton and Murphy are both left-handed hitters.

Right-hander Aaron Heilman signed a minor league contract with Texas and was sent to Round Rock. The nine-year veteran of 477 games with the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Arizona spent the spring with Seattle before being released Sunday.

Texas also assigned infielder Luis Hernandez and veteran left-hander Neal Cotts to Round Rock.

Cotts, who hasn't pitched professionally since ligament replacement surgery in July 2009, was put on Round Rock's disabled list because of a strained muscle in his left side. He will remain at the Rangers' complex in Arizona getting treatment and doing rehabilitation since he is not expected to throw for another month.

Right-hander Cody Eppley was designated for assignment. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release or outright Eppley to the minor leagues.

Tagged: Rangers, Julio Borbon

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