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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Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
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Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
Buffalo «2Final | Box
San Jose1
Boston12nd Prd 17:24 | Box
Toronto0TV: NHLN, CBC, NESN
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Montreal1TV: CITY TV, MSG, TVA Sports
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Minnesota0TV: SUN, FSN-N
Florida 10/25 9:00 PM ET
Arizona TV: FSN-FL, FSN-AZ
Washington 10/25 10:00 PM ET
Calgary TV: CBC, TVA Sports 2, CSN-DC
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
Kansas City0Bottom 1st | Box
San Francisco0@theBallpark | TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game Four. Kansas City leads series, 2-1.
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego21Final | Box
Denver «35Gridiron Replay
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
Buffalo «2Final | Box
San Jose1
Boston12nd Prd 17:24 | Box
Toronto0TV: NHLN, CBC, NESN
NY Rangers12nd Prd 18:45 | Box
Montreal1TV: CITY TV, MSG, TVA Sports
New Jersey02nd Prd 15:10 | Box
Ottawa0TV: SN1, MSG+2
Dallas32nd Prd 13:10 | Box
NY Islanders3TV: FSN-SW, MSG+
Detroit12nd Prd 10:49 | Box
Philadelphia0TV: FSN-DET, CSN-PHI
Chicago11st Prd 15:21 | Box
St. Louis0TV: FX-CA, WGN, FSN-MW
Pittsburgh11st Prd 13:21 | Box
Nashville0TV: ROOT-PIT, FSN-TN
Tampa Bay01st Prd 13:53 | Box
Minnesota0TV: SUN, FSN-N
Florida 10/25 9:00 PM ET
Arizona TV: FSN-FL, FSN-AZ
Washington 10/25 10:00 PM ET
Calgary TV: CBC, TVA Sports 2, CSN-DC
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