Top prospect Olt to make Rangers debut

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rangers weren’t willing to trade prospect Mike Olt before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Now they get to see what they were protecting.

Olt will be in a Rangers uniform for the first time Thursday after the major league club purchased his contract from Double-A Frisco.

A power hitter, Olt hit his 28th home run Wednesday night. In 95 games with Frisco, Olt was hitting .288 with 17 doubles, a triple and 82 RBI.

Olt, 23, is primarily a third baseman, but he has played some at first base and right field. For now, he is being billed as bench depth.

“We’ve been looking to strengthen the bench and basically put our best club out there,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “Listening to our people, we feel that Mike can help in a role on this team.”

Daniels said the Rangers wanted to wait until after the trade deadline passed before calling up Olt, in case any trades prompted other moves.

Brandon Snyder was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Olt. Snyder made eight starts at first base, one at third base and four starts in the outfield.

“He’s a good athlete,” Daniels said. “He’s a baseball player. He’s smart, he puts the effort in. He’s going to figure some of those things out. There’s going to be a learning curve, but we wouldn’t call him up if we didn’t think he could help.”

Olt was selected 49th overall by the Rangers in the 2010 June draft. He was the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month in both May and June this season, but his stock really soared after hitting an RBI double in the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend.

“He’s a great kid,” said the Rangers’ Michael Young, who also plays first and third. “We’re excited to have him. He’s going to be in a position where he can help us out, hopefully have some good at-bats and get his feet wet in the big leagues.”

Olt has struck out 101 times in his 95 games in Double-A, but Daniels said the Rangers understand Olt still has some growing to do.

“Like a lot of guys with some power, strikeouts are going to be part of his game,” Daniels said. “That’s something he’s going to continue to make adjustments and learn. Understanding that and accepting that, we feel like he can help the club. We want to give him a chance.”

The Rangers also placed pitcher Colby Lewis on the 60-day disabled list after having elbow surgery Friday.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire