Rangers Call Up Olt

Less than a month ago, after playing in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City, Mo., I asked former Connecticut infielder Mike Olt what he was hearing about a possible promotion in the Texas Rangers organization. There had been whispers that he might get called up to the big leagues from Double-A ball.

"I try not to think about all of that," Olt said on July 9.

Now Olt can think about it. Wednesday night, after the Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Angels 11-10, it was announced the team had purchased Olt's contract from Double-A Frisco of the Texas League.

The Rangers optioned infielder Brandon Snyder to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Olt on the major-league roster. The Rangers also moved right-hander Colby Lewis, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, to the 60-day disabled list.

Olt, who has played four positions this season in Frisco, was hitting .287 with 27 home runs and 81 RBIs in the minors. Snyder hit .281 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 38 games.

Olt was selected by the Texas Rangers with the 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He was the first UConn player taken in the first round since Charles Nagy in 1988.

In the Futures Game, Olt started at third base but moved to first in the fifth inning and played the entire game. He was 1-for-5 at the plate, driving in a run with a double to the base of the centerfield wall in the sixth inning to help the US Futures defeat the World Futures 17-5. A record crowd of 40,095 attended the game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Olt's bio on the Kauffman Stadium message board (Ken Davis)

"The whole experience definitely was a real eye opener," Olt said after the game. "It was an All-Star game but it felt like you were in the big leagues basically. It was a pretty surreal experience.

"The atmosphere was something that really gave me goose bumps, playing in front of 40,000 fans. It was just a fun thing to be a part of."

Olt will give the Rangers a right-handed bat and deepen manager Ron Washington's bench.

"We've been looking to strengthen the bench and put our best club out there," general manager Jon Daniels said, according to ESPNDallas.com. "Listening to our people, we feel like Mike can help with this team. We wanted to give Mike a chance. We feel like he's earned it, and both our scouts and developmental staff all have recommended that this guy in a role can help Washington and the club."

Olt has a .973 OPS and has been used primarily at third. He can also play the outfield, in addition to first base.

"He's a great kid," Michael Young told ESPNDallas.com. "We saw him a lot in spring training. We're excited to have him. He'll 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. We're looking forward to getting him here."

A report from The Associated Press was included in this story.

UPDATE FROM TEXAS: The Rangers called up former UConn infielder Mike Olt from Double-A to give their offense a boost. Well, the Rangers beat the Angels 15-9 Thursday night and Olt got a single off former Ranger C.J. Wilson in his first MLB at-bat. Olt finished 1-for-3 and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 7th. He singled to left field in the second inning. Wilson tossed the ball to the Rangers dugout for Olt to keep and the crowd in Arlington gave Olt a standing ovation. Olt's parents, from Branford, were there to enjoy the moment and cheer. Olt gave a big sigh of relief as he took his first lead off the bag as a major leaguer. Olt started at first base and batted eighth for the Rangers. In his second at-bat, Olt was robbed of another hit when he lined to short. He struck out in his final at-bat. After his single, Olt was driven home on a single by Josh Hamilton. It appears Olt will be platooning at first and starting when the Rangers are facing left-handers.


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