Arencibia struggles to find his place for Rangers down stretch

Posted Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Texas Rangers slugger J.P. Arencibia is a man without a position.

And with the Rangers trying to get a long look at younger players the final month of the season, the at-bats could be hard to find for him.

They’ve already become scarce for Arencibia, who was relegated to DH on Sunday in the Rangers’ finale at Houston.

Arencibia moved to first base from catcher after returning to the Rangers from a two-month stint in Round Rock after the All-Star break.

But after a fast start in his return, his offensive production slipped. After playing in the first 23 games, including 22 starts at either first base or DH since the break, Arencibia has played in just 10 of the Rangers’ past 17 games, including Sunday.

“I get it. They need to try the young guys to see what they can do,” said Arencibia, whose averaged had dipped to .170 after peaking at .198 on Aug. 5 with a three-hit night in Chicago. “I’ve been around the game long enough.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington is trying to juggle playing time for rookie Ryan Rua and a utility infielder such as Adam Rosales, who has started at every infield position but catcher, including seven times at first. Rosales is batting .352 in 20 games in August.

“They know,” Washington said. “I’m doing the best I can to give them at-bats when I can get them. The priority is we’re going to see [the young players].”

But it’s still tough, Arencibia said, to deal with the lack of at-bats when he was feeling good at the plate. His seven homers and 25 RBIs since the break still rank among the top 10 in the league.

“When I came back and I was playing every day the numbers were there,” he said. “You saw what I could do. Then I stopped playing. I have to figure out a way to still produce whenever my number is called.”

Arencibia said he misses catching, but understands the club’s desire to see Robinson Chirinos and Tomas Telis gain experience. He’d rather be an everyday player, instead of being used sparingly as a DH. He compared the difficulties of being designated hitter to pinch-hitting four times in a game.

“Especially when you go from catching and you’re in everything or playing first base you’re still in the game,” he said. “DHing takes a skill. People think it’s easy because you just hit but you still have to find ways to still stay in the game and stay loose. It’s not an easy thing.

“All these things are happening for a reason and I’m trying to make the best of it and learn how can I be a productive DH when I’m in there. What can I do to stay sharp? I still think I can be an everyday guy.”

Lewis leader

As a small group of reporters descended around him in the clubhouse Sunday morning, Colby Lewis tried to curb expectations.

“I’m going to say the same stuff I always say,” he said with a laugh.

Lewis, 35, may feel like a broken record in interviews, but he’s also been, arguably, the most dependable starter for the Rangers in 2014. If Yu Darvish doesn’t return, Lewis (9-10) will likely finish as the team leader in starts and innings pitched. He trails Darvish by seven innings (1441/3 to 1371/3) entering Monday’s start at Kansas City.

“I didn’t think I’d be in that position at the beginning of the year to put up the type of innings and have the amount of starts as I do,” said Lewis, who’ll make his 25th start. “I was hoping to fight for the fifth spot in the rotation [in spring training]. With the injuries it has enabled me to get more than I expected, that’s for sure.”

Briefly

• If Miles Mikolas (arm fatigue) is unable to start Thursday against the Mariners, Scott Baker is the likely candidate to make his third consecutive start in the rotation. Robbie Ross, who threw five no-hit innings before coming out because of a pitch count on Saturday, could also be used.

• Yu Darvish still has yet to throw a baseball since going on the disabled list on Aug. 13 with right elbow inflammation.

• Rookie infielder Ryan Rua had his parents and fiancee in Houston to see him collect his first couple of major league hits. He handed over his first major league hit ball from Friday to his parents for safekeeping.

• Outfielder Jim Adduci, who has been on the seven-day concussion list since Friday, said he’s been dealing with lower back pain and neck soreness. Both areas took the brunt of his fall while he made a catch on Thursday. “It kind of felt like I was in a car accident,” he said. “But it’s getting better day by day.”

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
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Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
Los Angeles «14Final | Box
Chicago Cubs5
Boston3Bottom 6th | Box
Baltimore1@theBallpark | TV: NESN, MASN
Toronto3Bottom 7th | Box
NY Yankees5@theBallpark | TV: SNET, YES
Milwaukee2Top 8th | Box
Pittsburgh0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, ROOT-PIT
Washington3Bottom 7th | Box
Miami2@theBallpark | TV: MASN 2, FSN-FL
Chicago WSox4Top 6th | Box
Tampa Bay3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, Sun Sports
NY Mets0Top 6th | Box
Atlanta0@theBallpark | TV: SNY, FSN-S
Arizona1Bottom 4th | Box
Colorado3@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, ROOT-RM
Seattle1Top 4th | Box
Houston1@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, CSN-HOU
Detroit4Top 4th | Box
Kansas City0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-DET, FSN-KC, ESPN 2
Cleveland2Top 5th | Box
Minnesota2@theBallpark | TV: STO, FSN-N
Cincinnati1Bottom 4th | Box
St. Louis2@theBallpark | TV: FSN-OH, FSN-MW
Philadelphia 9/19 9:35 PM ET
Oakland TV: CSN-PHI, CSN-CA
Texas 9/19 10:05 PM ET
LA Angels TV: TXA-21, FSN-W, MLB Net
San Francisco 9/19 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: CSN-BA, FSN-SD, MLB Net
Full Scoreboard
Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
No games today
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Week 3Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Tampa Bay14Final | Box
Atlanta «56Gridiron Replay
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Detroit TV: FOX
Indianapolis 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
NY Giants TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: FOX
Dallas 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Kansas City 4:25 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Denver 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Pittsburgh 8:30 PM ET
Carolina TV: NBC
Monday
Chicago 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
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Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
No games today
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