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Laird pulls right hamstring, goes on 15-day DL

WASHINGTON -- Texas Rangers catcher Gerald Laird was put
on the 15-day disabled list Friday night after pulling his right
hamstring while beating out a bunt single in the fourth inning of Texas' loss to the Washington Nationals.

Laird began to limp as he crossed first base, then took a few
more steps before crumpling to the ground in pain. He was replaced
by pinch runner Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who remained in the game as
the catcher.

Laird is batting .306 with four home runs and 25 RBIs. He'll be
placed on the roster by catcher Max Ramirez, who was recalled from
Double-A Frisco.

Laird became the second Rangers player placed on the 15-day DL
on Friday. Earlier in the day, right-handed pitcher Doug Mathis was
shelved because of inflammation in his right shoulder. To take his
spot, Texas recalled right-hander Luis Mendoza from Triple-A
Oklahoma.

Manager Ron Washington said Mathis (2-1, 6.85 ERA), who was
recently moved to the bullpen, felt uncomfortable during throwing
sessions Thursday and Friday. The move is retroactive to Monday.

Mendoza started three games earlier this season for the Rangers,
going 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA. He was available in the bullpen for the
interleague series opener against the Nationals.

Meanwhile, right-hander Joaquin Benoit, sidelined because of
weakness in his right shoulder, made first appearance since June 7,
pitching a scoreless 13th inning.

Top hitter Milton Bradley remained out of the starting lineup
for the third straight game due to a strained left quadriceps.
Bradley appeared as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and grounded
out to second base.

Also, Hank Blalock is scheduled to begin a three-game rehab
assignment with Oklahoma on Saturday. Blalock, who is recovering
from wrist surgery while making the transition from third base to
first, is expected to join the Rangers on Tuesday for the start of
a three-game series at Houston.