Texas put center fielder Julio Borbon on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with inflammation in his left hamstring, leaving the Rangers without any of their opening-day outfielders.
AL MVP Josh Hamilton has been out since breaking a bone in his upper right arm April 12 and Nelson Cruz came out of a game May 3 with a strained right quadriceps.
Borbon joined the slugging outfielders on the DL after he was hurt Friday night running to catch a flyball against the Los Angeles Angels. An MRI exam Saturday showed there was no tear.
Texas purchased the contract of outfielder Endy Chavez from Triple-A Round Rock. The 33-year-old Chavez was in the starting lineup Saturday for his first game in the majors since tearing his the ACL in his right knee in 2009. He led off and played center field against the Angels.
"It's a great feeling. I started working almost two years ago to be back," said Chavez, who has played in nine major league seasons for five teams. "It was a tough rehabilitation. Sometimes I got frustrated because I thought I'm not going to make it. I worked hard, continued to do it and you see the results now."
To make room on the 40-man roster for Chavez, the Rangers transferred right-hander Brandon Webb from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list. The 2006 NL Cy Young winner, who is trying to come back from right rotator cuff surgery in 2009 with Arizona, would still be eligible to be reinstated May 30, though he isn't expected to be ready by then.
Borbon grabbed his left leg after catching the flyball in the seventh inning Friday. He later said he felt a slight pull when he took the first couple of steps after breaking for the ball.
Before going 0 for 3 with three strikeouts Friday, Borbon had a 10-game hitting streak. When manager Ron Washington shuffled his lineup this week, he had put Borbon in the leadoff spot.
Hamilton took batting practice Friday for the first time since getting hurt, and said he felt good Saturday before going out for another session. Cruz has been working out almost the entire time he has been on the DL.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel," Washington said. "In a couple of weeks, we'll have some big guns back."
Cruz ran the bases for the first time Saturday and could start a rehabilitation assignment Monday, then possibly rejoin the team next weekend in Philadelphia. Hamilton will have another MRI next week to see how his broken bone is healing before the team decides about his rehab assignment.
"I wasn't sore like I thought I would be, like I have been past mornings," Hamilton said Saturday. "I'll take BP again today and throw to bases again, see how it feels tomorrow. And then do it again the next day, and then the next day and then the next day."
Chavez was hitting .305 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 30 games at Round Rock.
Chavez is a .270 career hitter in the majors with Kansas City, Montreal/Washington, Philadelphia, the New York Mets and Seattle. He played 54 games for the Mariners in 2009 before getting hurt June 19 in a collision with Yuniesky Betancourt while both went after a popup.
After going to spring training in 2010 on a minor league contract with the Rangers and rehabbing from the knee injury, he played only eight minor league games before a right knee strain ended his season. He was on another minor league deal at spring training this year.
"I noticed in spring training toward the end he started getting strong," Washington said. "He's been down there (at Round Rock) doing everything, stealing bases, running well. Before that guy got hurt, he was a hot commodity. I think we did a good job of rehabbing him and now we get a chance to pay us back."