Texas Rangers

March 31, 2014

Fielder, Choo struggle as new-look lineup shows balance

Off-season acquisitions Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo go 1 for 9 in Rangers debut.

The Texas Rangers’ two prized off-season acquisitions earned roughly $234,000 combined for their first official day with an AL West hopeful.

Together, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder went 1 for 9 with two strikeouts in the Rangers’ season-opening 14-10 loss to Philadelphia on Monday at Globe Life Ballpark in Arlington.

One game doesn’t make a season, but those two and the Rangers as a whole are optimistic one game is indeed an indicator of the type of balance this team has offensively, especially at the bottom of the order that comes at a fraction of the cost.

The Rangers’ 14-hit attack included lineup spots seven through nine going 6 for 12 with with two walks, six RBIs and three runs scored.

Leonys Martin was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and journeyman second baseman Josh Wilson was 2 for 3 with a three-run double, tying a career high in RBIs.

“That’s what it takes to be a winning team,” Fielder said. “Everyone needs to do their part. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough today.”

Choo had hit safely in four of his five career season openers before going 0 for 4 with a strikeout and a walk.

Choo defied his patient reputation with at-bats of two, three, two and four pitches in his first four plate appearances, three of which came against Cliff Lee, who throws a lot of strikes.

Choo was the first batter on two pitching changes, including against lefty Antonio Bastardo. Choo worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases during a threat in the seventh inning.

Wilson’s double gave the Rangers their first new life in the second inning, cutting a six-run deficit to three. Jim Adduci had a run-scoring single pinch-hitting for Wilson in the seventh.

“We know that he’s the kind of player to give us good defense and key at-bats,” Adrian Beltre said of Wilson. “There’s no doubt we’ll need a lot from him.”

Martin carried over a hot streak from spring training.

The center fielder had a run-scoring single and came around to score on Wilson’s double in the second. He followed that with a second RBI single in the fifth and also walked in the seventh.

The order, top to bottom, “is good,” Martin said, with the expectations the same for every hitter in the lineup.

“I don’t care what spot you hit.”

Texas will need all the run support it can conjure if Monday’s pitching display becomes a trend.

“It’s good to start that way offensively,” said Beltre, who had two hits and three runs scored. “We know we have good balance. If we do that all year, we’ll have a good chance.”

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