The lineup maneuvering wasn’t an indication that Chirinos will start taking at-bats away from Lucroy, but rather just a normal baseball decision. Had the finale against the Cleveland Indians been a night game, Lucroy and Chirinos would have likely both been in the lineup again at catcher and designated hitter.
American League managers typically don’t like to have their other catcher DH. Should the that game’s catcher be forced to exit, the team loses the DH and the pitchers have to bat.
But with Lucroy and Chirinos likely to be in the same lineup more often, the Rangers have thought about calling up a third catcher to keep on the bench. It’s a perfect-world scenario, but the relief issues are keeping Banister from a catching utopia.
An eighth reliever is needed more than a fourth bench player.
“That would probably free up a little more playing time,” Banister said. “It can get a little dicey when you have both of them in there. If something happens to the guy that’s in the gear, we’ve got a bat in a pitcher’s hand, probably in a significant spot in the order.
“We’ll deal with it if it comes to that. Right now as we sit, the extra arm in the bullpen is necessary.”
Brett Nicholas, a member of the 40-man roster and a Triple A All-Star for Round Rock despite an early-season injury, likely would be the third catcher.
Lucroy hasn’t been nearly as productive at the plate as he was after being acquired last year at the trade deadline, but that would have been a tough bar to meet again. His catcher’s ERA is higher than Chirinos’, but Chirinos has also been the primary catcher for Yu Darvish.
“Jonathan needs to continue to play well behind the plate and continue to be productive at the plate,” Banister said.