Rangers acquire middle infielder from Cubs

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have acquired shortstop/second baseman Andre Blanco from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.

Blanco, a switch-hitter from Venezuela, played 40 games at second base and 15 at shortstop for the Cubs in 2009. The switch-hitter batted .252 with 1 home run and 12 RBIs.

Blanco is the third middle infielder the Rangers are traded for this spring, joining Hernan Irribarren, who has since been optioned to Oklahoma City, and Gregorio Petit, brought in from Oakland a couple of days ago. Blanco, however, may be the most serious contender yet with the best chance of unseating Joaquin Arias as the current backup middle infielder.

There's also a chance the Rangers will need two extra middle infielders at the beginning of the season if Ian Kinsler's injury lingers longer than expected.

"(Blanco) gives us another option at utility infielder," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "He's a gifted defensive shortstop and now we have 7 or 8 days to evaluate him. His (best) tool is his glove."

Blanco's acquisition, however, doesn't mean that the Rangers won't continue to upgrade at the utility infield position.

"It's one area we're trying to address," Levine said. "It's an area where we're still looking."

The Rangers are particularly interested in Arizona's Augie Ojeda but so far have not been able to work out a deal with the Diamondbacks.