Rangers notes: Jurickson Profar makes debut in left field

Posted Saturday, Jul. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Jurickson Profar found himself in unfamiliar territory Saturday.

The rookie infielder and top prospect in baseball roamed left field for the Texas Rangers. He lost a ball in the sun but recovered and made a nice diving catch on Jason Castro’s liner to end the third inning on his first play in the outfield.

Profar had never played in the outfield until Saturday. He has always been an infielder and pitched in his early years. But Profar was excited about the opportunity, since adding another position gives him another avenue to get in the lineup.

“I worked a lot out there, so I’m confident,” Profar said. “The thing that I was working on was reading the ball off the bat, if it’s a jam shot or when they square it up.”

Profar has spent the past couple of weeks going through outfield drills with coach Gary Pettis, who wasn’t ready to make a determination on the progress.

“He’s just chasing fly balls,” Pettis said. “Let’s not make a big deal about Profar. We’ve got other outfielders, too.”

But Pettis gave manager Ron Washington the go-ahead to start Profar in the outfield. Washington would have liked to break Profar in during a blowout, but that opportunity never presented itself.

Washington cautioned not to read too much into the decision, with no set amount of games the team would like to get Profar in the outfield.

“We’ll see how he does,” Washington said. “When he plays again, I’ll make that determination. Don’t get ahead of yourself because you might get fooled. It just gives him another position I can put him at.”

Soria soon

Reliever Joakim Soria had another day of rest Saturday after throwing on consecutive days Wednesday and Thursday.

Rangers brass hadn’t made a decision as whether to activate Soria on Sunday or Monday, but was scheduled to meet on that subject.

Soria, returning from Tommy John elbow surgery and a pectoral strain, said he feels good and is excited to return to the majors for the first time since September 2011.

Soria threw seven scoreless innings, allowing one hit with eight strikeouts, over seven appearances during his rehabilitation assignment.

“We’re confident in his ability to get outs,” Ron Washington said.

Overcoming obstacles

Rookie right-handers Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch are each a work-in-progress, and learning how to navigate through a major league lineup on a consistent basis.

Ron Washington was pleased to see Tepesch implement his changeup more in his start Friday, saying it’s a necessary pitch against left-handed batters. Grimm, meanwhile, is working on limiting the big inning and his approach with two outs in an inning.

Grimm has gone 2-3 with a 9.31 ERA over his last six starts, but believes he will turn it around when he starts Sunday.

“It’s going to be a good day and I’m confident going into it,” Grimm said. “I had a good bullpen session, focused mainly on my fastball and changeup.”

Briefly

• Alexi Ogando, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, allowed three runs on two homers over two innings in his first rehab start for Triple A Round Rock on Saturday. He threw 41 pitches, 28 for strikes. Ogando’s next scheduled start is Thursday with the Express in Omaha.

•  The Round Rock Express announced that Manny Ramirez will start Sunday at designated hitter.

•  A.J. Pierzynski, in a 2 for 25 slump, was off Saturday as Geovany Soto caught Yu Darvish. Pierzynski will return to the lineup Sunday, Washington said.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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