Second baseman Jurickson Profar won’t be at full strength when spring training opens next week for the Texas Rangers as a bout of shoulder tendinitis will limit him from some drills.
General manager Jon Daniels said Profar is a week away from beginning a throwing program but will be able to hit, run the bases and work in the field. He likely will serve as the designated hitter once Cactus League games begin Feb. 26.
“The good thing is that the majority of what the development guys want him to work at at second base is footwork,” Daniels said. “He’ll still be able to participate and do all those things. It’s just the throwing aspect. It shouldn’t be much of a delay.”
Injury is the only thing that would keep Profar from being in the Opening Day lineup March 31. Daniels reiterated the company line that Profar has to earn the job but acknowledged that the roster is thin behind him.
“We have not brought in anyone who is guaranteed to be on the club,” Daniels said. “But we have brought a number of guys who are capable of doing some different things. He’s going to have to come in and put his head down and show he can do it. We want him to earn the job.”
Right-hander Ben Rowen will be slowed at the start of camp with biceps tendinitis but is expected to catch up quickly, and catcher/first baseman Robinson Chirinos will be a full go despite dealing with a bruised pinkie.
Left-hander Derek Holland isn’t expected to arrive to spring camp until at least Feb. 22. The Rangers want him to be off crutches first, and he remains on schedule to walk without assistance for the first time on Feb. 20.
Not going batty
The Rangers will look internally for a right-handed bat to fill out their bench, even though Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales, a switch hitter, remain free agents.
Daniels said that Chirinos, Michael Choice and Alex Castellanos are among the group of righty hitters who will compete this spring to be on the Opening Day roster. Daniels has maintained contact with Cruz’s agent, Adam Katz, but there isn’t much there.
“My expectation is that he will sign elsewhere,” Daniels said.
Mum on Hanson
Daniels said he is hopeful a pitcher will be added to the roster in the coming days, but he didn’t specifically mention free agent Tommy Hanson, despite multiple reports linking the right-hander to the Rangers on a major-league deal.
Hanson, according to a source, was to take a physical Tuesday. One holdup could be the Rangers waiting until they can place Holland on the 60-day disabled list later this week to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Hanson.
“I don’t have anything to say on any free agents that we haven’t announced,” Daniels said. “I’m hopeful that we will add some depth here before we kick off.”