Jurickson Profar wasn’t recalled from Triple A Round Rock on Sunday to rescue the Texas Rangers, and the early indications are that he will be in the big leagues only until June 1.
But he will be in the starting lineup Monday night against Oakland in place of second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle.
Kinsler attempted to swing in the cages to test the injured rib area, but he felt discomfort. Though the Rangers think he could be ready in five or six days, they opted to give him until June 2 to eliminate the chance that he doesn’t make the injury worse.
“We decided to put him on the DL and give him some time to make sure it’s right,” manager Ron Washington said. “That area there can fool you. You can feel good, and then it takes one sharp movement and there it is. This was best for him and best for us also.”
Kinsler wasn’t in the starting lineup for games Friday and Saturday against Detroit with what was called bruised ribs, an injury suffered last week at Houston, where he was struck in the ribs by a throw while trying to steal second base.
He aggravated the area Thursday when he twisted away to avoid being hit by a Justin Verlander pitch. The Rangers said that Kinsler’s awkward slide into third early in the game didn’t cause discomfort.
He pinch-ran in the ninth inning Friday night, and clearly was in discomfort after sliding into second base. The DL move is retroactive to Saturday.
“You just don’t want to see something mushroom into a bigger issue,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “It’s critical we get these guys back. I’d rather see them miss two weeks in May than two months at the beginning of the summer.”
Daniels said the hope is that Kinsler is back in only 15 days, but Profar hasn’t been told how long he will be up. Profar said that he is glad to be back with the Rangers, with whom he made his major-league debut Sept. 2.
He won’t become the Rangers’ everyday second baseman, Washington said. Leury Garcia will also continue to get starts, and both could be in the same lineup if Washington chooses to rest Elvis Andrus. Garcia would likely play shortstop.
Profar, notoriously a slow starter, struggled in April while trying to adjust to a heavy dose of off-speed pitches from Triple A pitchers.
He left the Pacific Coast League with a .278 batting average, a .360 on-base percentage and four homers. Two of those came Saturday.
Over his past 10 games, the switch-hitting Profar was hitting .410 (17 for 41).
“It’s different baseball there,” he said. “You have a lot of off-speed stuff, and I had to adjust. I’ve been hitting the ball, but they weren’t falling. Now, they’re starting to fall.”