Rangers spring break: Chirinos took shot to heart, then head

03/12/2014 5:20 PM

11/12/2014 4:14 PM

Head and heart

Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos doesn’t think it was a sign from above. But it seemed much more than sheer coincidence.

One Sunday morning two years ago during spring training with the Tampa Bay Rays, Chirinos became a Christian in a chapel at the Rays’ Port Charlotte complex.

Later that day, a foul tip drilled his catcher’s mask during a game with the Pirates. “I don’t remember everything that day,” Chirinos said. “I got hit. I thought I was fine.”

But the dizziness got worse, not better, and it became clear he was suffering from a concussion. His vision was so blurry that he struggled to walk and keep his balance. His 2012 season was a scratch as he struggled with a headache that lasted more than a month and vision issues that made everyday life, much less playing baseball, seem impossible.

“I think everybody, at one point, is kind of scared whether they’re going to play the game again,” he said. “It took about two months to really feel back to normal and then after that it was a slow process, getting better day by day.”

Eventually, his vision problems dissipated. The Rangers acquired him for cash last April.

“I thank all the guys in Tampa because they really worked hard to bring me back,” he said. “There were days it was hard to believe I was going to get better. But they kept pushing me, they would keep encouraging me and I believed them. I think I was better after I came back from the concussion; my vision and balance and all that stuff.”

As for the coincidence, Chirinos isn’t sure. But he’s certain it helped him with his comeback.

“The way I look at it is he guided my life before I got hit,” he said. “I don’t think if I didn’t have Jesus in my life I was coming back from that concussion. It happened for a reason. When that happened that’s when I really came to Christ and got to know Jesus. That was the best part of a tough year. But it was the best year I’ve had in my relationship with God.”

Word from Wash

“We just care about each other. When you talk about Prince Fielder and Choo, two productive players, I think I might have to take my belt off if they’re not being welcomed in that clubhouse.” — Manager Ron Washington on why it’s been an easy transition to the Rangers for Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo.

Injury update

OF Shin-Soo Choo (sore elbow): In Wednesday’s lineup after resting Tuesday.

RHP Matt Harrison (lower back stiffness): Felt good after throwing his first inning in a “B” game Tuesday.

RHP Miles Mikolas (elbow): Cleared after throwing batting practice Tuesday.

RHP Shawn Tolleson (shoulder): Cleared after throwing batting practice Tuesday.

INF Kensuke Tanaka (fractured teeth): Available to play.

OF Alex Rios (strained right intercostal): Progressing in all baseball activities, close to being cleared.

C Geovany Soto (foot surgery): Catching live batting practice, next step would be to catch in game.

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