No one with the Texas Rangers is complaining about the current catching duo of Chris Gimenez and Bobby Wilson, who are doing their job behind the plate and exceeding expectations when at the plate.
It’s a good thing, because the Opening Day duo of Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Corporan remain out indefinitely.
Chirinos had a minor setback last week with his left shoulder, feeling soreness while swinging a bat. He won’t try to swing again until Tuesday, but he caught a bullpen session Sunday before the finale of the Rangers’ three-game series against Tampa Bay.
“The doctor told me to take a couple extra days,” Chirinos said. “I want to be out there on the field helping my team. Sitting on the bench and watching is no fun.”
Corporan (strained left thumb) was pulled off a rehab assignment 10 days ago after feeling soreness with Triple A Round Rock. He said that was a quasi-trial run to see where the thumb was and if he could play through the pain.
It’s better now, and he has been doing all baseball activities. The Rangers, though, still have him on hold.
He will need surgery in the off-season.
“It isn’t 100 percent, but it’s something I have to learn to play through,” Corporan said. “We’re in a big spot, and every guy in here is important.”
Manager Jeff Banister said that the Rangers haven’t missed a beat with Wilson, who started Sunday, and Gimenez, who homered and drove in three runs Saturday.
“The emphasis was on the defensive side, and we’ve seen that,” Banister said. “For them to add the offensive flair they’ve been giving us, it’s a plus. It’s more than we expected.”
Mike Napoli made only his second start Sunday since he was acquired Aug. 7 in a trade from Boston and his first at Globe Life Park, where he played in 2011 and 2012.
The fans continued to greet him warmly, cheering him loudly and even with a few chants of “Nap-o-li.” He heard them during pinch-hit appearances Friday and Saturday.
“It kind of gets me too fired up,” Napoli said. “I love it. It’s awesome. It’s nice to be embraced like that by fans.”
He entered his start hitless in seven at-bats, though he took a walk and scored in his Aug. 8 debut at Seattle. A streaky hitter who has been mired in a slump most of the season, Napoli said that he stuck to his routine during his down time, and it paid off with a double and a single Sunday against the Rays.
Rays starter Drew Smyly was the first left-hander the Rangers had faced since last weekend. They are scheduled to face Seattle lefty Mike Montgomery on Wednesday.
“I’ve been hitting a lot,” Napoli said. “I feel good. I’m just trying to do the necessary things to stay fresh and ready.”
Josh Hamilton limped Saturday after beating out a sixth-inning infield hit, then hobbled around the bases. When the Rays finally stopped the Rangers’ seven-run rally, Hamilton was out of the game and wasn’t in the lineup for the finale.
Getting lifted from the game was a result of the score at the time, 10-1. The day off Sunday, a day game after a night game, had already been circled by Banister, who knows that Hamilton’s left knee is going to be balky the rest of the season and will need maintenance days the rest of the way.
“I had targeted this day,” Banister said. “You have to do things that help alleviate the soreness. I felt like we were at a point in the game last night that we could get him off his legs and start that rest process a little early.”
Ryan Strausborger started for Hamilton and went 3 for 4 with his first major league home run. Strausborger is the only extra outfielder on the Rangers’ bench after Ryan Rua was sent to Triple A Round Rock last weekend to clear a spot for Napoli.
Left-hander Derek Holland will probably start Wednesday if he feels no ill effects in his shoulder after his bullpen session Sunday. Banister said that decision could be made Monday.
If Holland is inserted into the rotation Wednesday, fellow lefty Martin Perez would be bumped to Thursday and rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez would probably be headed back to Triple A.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760