Jurickson Profar keeps roster spot as Rangers activate Ian Kinsler

Posted Saturday, Jun. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Bench coach Jackie Moore delivered part of the big news Saturday morning, when he posted a Texas Rangers lineup card that had Ian Kinsler batting first and playing second base.

Additional news came from a club official who announced that Leury Garcia had been optioned to Triple A Round Rock.

Not mentioned — but it didn’t have to be — was that Jurickson Profar was staying with the big-league team, and not in the typical utility role.

Manager Ron Washington confirmed that the game’s top prospect is going to play more than Garcia did in an effort to give the Rangers their best chance at remaining in playoff contention.

Profar hasn’t unseated Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus or anyone else, but he will be sprinkled around the infield on a semi-regular basis and possibly even find himself in a corner outfield spot.

“He’s garnered a lot of credibility in that clubhouse,” Washington said. “He showed that he can play. He’s one of our best 25.”

Outfield coach Gary Pettis will begin working with Profar, who hasn’t played the outfield since his Little League days in Curacao. The Rangers believe that Profar is athletic enough to handle playing one of the corners.

“Is he going to be a Gold Glover right away? Probably not,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “I like his chances of being solid out there.”

Daniels and Washington declined to say how much Profar was going to play each week, but he won’t sit for extended stretches as Garcia did. Kinsler, Andrus and even third baseman Adrian Beltre can expect to take a seat more often than they have in the past.

“We wouldn’t have kept him here if he wasn’t going to play,” Daniels said.

The solution to what to do with Profar came a day earlier than expected when Kinsler was reinstated from the disabled list after missing 25 games with a stress reaction in his ribcage.

He played two games, one fewer than originally scheduled, for Double A Frisco, going 0 for 8 with a walk. But he felt fine physically after playing 11 innings Friday and made the call that he was ready to go.

“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’m healthy, and I can play. There’s no point in playing nine innings in Double A when I can play nine innings here.”

Kinsler was welcomed back to a warm ovation before his first at-bat. The Rangers went 11-14 while he was on the DL for an injury suffered May 16.

One player who was glad to see him was Andrus, who had been the Rangers’ leadoff man in Kinsler’s absence and struggled. Andrus was back in his customary No. 2 hole and hoping to get back into a comfort zone.

“That’s a position that I really feel comfortable with,” Andrus said. “I think Ian is a big reason. He sets the tone, and when you have a guy getting on base, it makes it easier for everybody.”

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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