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Tigers acquire PCL steals leader
12/06/2007 12:25 AM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rangers are leaving the Winter Meetings with at least one first baseman in their pocket, acquiring right-handed-hitting Chris Shelton from the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

The Rangers gave up center fielder Freddy Guzman in the deal, which is expected to be formally announced after Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. The Tigers designated Shelton for assignment last week after they signed pitchers Kenny Rogers and Francisco Cruceta.

Shelton, 27, spent all of last season at Triple-A Toledo where he hit .269 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs in 498 at-bats along with 83 walks and 141 strikeouts. But he saw extensive time with the Tigers in 2005-06.

Shelton started the 2005 season in the Minor Leagues before being called up on May 31, then hit .299 with 18 homers and 59 RBIs in 107 games for the Tigers. He was their Opening Day first baseman in 2006 and hit nine homers in the first 13 games.

But that streak didn't last and he batted .242 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in his next 102 games. He was sent back to Triple-A on July 31 after the Tigers acquired Sean Casey and didn't return to the big leagues until September.

Ironically, the Rangers don't look at Shelton as their leading candidate to play first base, but instead are trying to sign Casey as a free agent. Shelton could also be a candidate to see time at designated hitter.

Guzman is a center fielder who led the Pacific Coast League with 56 stolen bases and has 253 stolen bases over four Minor League seasons. But he has a .213 career batting average in 37 Major League games since 2004 and the Rangers never viewed him as a regular center fielder.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.