GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Indians were hoping to find a way to keep first baseman Chris McGuiness in their system, but in the end the Rangers wanted him back.
On Wednesday, Cleveland returned McGuiness -- acquired from Texas during December's Rule 5 Draft -- to the Rangers for a cost of $25,000. The Tribe's 40-man roster now has 39 players, which potentially clears a spot for non-roster utility man Ryan Raburn to be added to the roster before Opening Day.
"I've said it before, I wish he wasn't a Rule 5," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday. "It's hard for a position player to skip Triple-A and come to the big leagues. It's not altogether fair to expect them to be able to put up numbers. There's so much to like about him."
Cleveland spent $50,000 to select the 24-year-old McGuiness in the Rule 5 Draft. Players added in that manner must remain on the acquiring team's 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original club at half the cost. It became clear this spring that McGuiness -- with no career at-bats above Double-A -- was not going to make the Indians' roster.
McGuiness hit .195 (8-for-41) in 24 Cactus League games this spring.
"I couldn't ask for anything else," McGuiness said Tuesday of his playing time. "I was in there every day. I got 40 at-bats. You couldn't have asked for more chances. I started a few games. The chances were there. I just couldn't really get into a groove. I couldn't find a rhythm, but that's part of baseball. It goes and comes. It's one of those springs."
Last season, McGuiness hit .268 with 23 home runs, 25 doubles and 77 RBIs in 123 games for Double-A Frisco in the Rangers system. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Arizona Fall League after hitting .283 with four homers and 27 RBIs in 25 games for Surprise in the offseason.