ARLINGTON, Texas — Adam Rosales is a wanted man in the AL West race.
The utility infielder with a .220 career batting average has spent the first half of August going back and forth between the Texas Rangers and A's, who are in the closest division race in the majors.
“[The A's] were hoping I would go back to [Triple-A] Sacramento, and they would call me up in September. Obviously the Rangers have interest in me, too,” Rosales said. “Both teams want me. It's just a matter of having a place for me to play.”
There have been more roster moves than games played for Rosales the last two weeks: Oakland designated him for assignment twice. He was claimed both times by the Rangers, who also moved him off their roster once before getting him back this week.
“I know he's been in a whirlwind moving all around the country,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “But this should tell him we care about him.”
Rosales was first designated for assignment by the A's on July 31 to make roster room for newly acquired infielder Alberto Callaspo. Texas claimed Rosales on Aug. 2, and he spent three days on its roster without playing — all for games in the visiting dugout at Oakland, a circumstance he could only describe as “weird.”
The Rangers designated him for assignment Aug. 5 after All-Star right fielder Nelson Cruz was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball and they called up two outfielders from the minor leagues.
Oakland got him back three days later and he appeared in one game, as a pinch-runner and shortstop at Toronto. But the A's needed a roster spot the next day for right-hander Sonny Gray to come up from the minors for a start, and they sent Rosales out again.
“I'm handling it the best I can. It's just a real unique experience,” Rosales said, cracking a smile. “I feel like I have the personality and the character to do it.”
Rosales reported to the Rangers on Tuesday, a day after they reclaimed him and when Texas general manager Jon Daniels finally met him.
“It's kind of like I got sent down to [Triple-A] Round Rock, and then came back,” he said. “It's like I never left them.”
During that span, the Rangers acquired right fielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox for infielder Leury Garcia. They suddenly needed some infield protection, and Rosales was the right fit.
“I can't imagine it's been fun,” Daniels said of all the shuffling for Rosales. “That certainly wasn't our intent. I don't think that was Oakland's intent, either. Circumstances change. You have to make the best decisions you can at that time. The bottom line, he's a guy two teams would like to have.”
Rosales made his major league debut with Cincinnati in 2008, and he was traded to Oakland before the 2010 season. He played all four infield positions for both of those teams, and even played a handful of games in left field for the A's. Oakland also designated him for assignment July 8, but he cleared waivers then and was sent outright to Sacramento. Rosales was recalled July 24 and started twice for the A's before his unique two-stepping.
When the Rangers claimed him the first time, Rosales shipped his car and some other personal belongings to Texas. Fortunately, he didn't send it back to the West Coast after Oakland re-claimed him.
“I'm like OK, what if I get designated again from the A's,” he said. “We weren't sure what the A's were going to do with us. … Let's just be patient and see what happen and we might be a Rangers before we know it. And we were right.”