Having received the least offensive production from their second basemen of any team in the American League, the Texas Rangers decided to make a change.
They promoted two of their top prospects from Double A Frisco by purchasing the contract of Rougned Odor and recalling Luis Sardinas.
Donnie Murphy and Josh Wilson had been getting the majority of the starts at second base, but Rangers’ second basemen combined to bat an AL-worst .195. Murphy was placed on the disabled list with a neck strain, and Wilson was designated for assignment.
“If you’re going to make a change, you want it to make an impact,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “This just happened to be a spot where we’ve got some good players. We’re looking for ways to get better, and we got a couple people internally that our people recommended.”
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Odor, 20, is expected to get the majority of starts at second base, manager Ron Washington said. Washington estimated that Odor will get four to five starts a week and had him in Thursday night’s lineup vs. Colorado.
Odor (whose name is pronounced ROOG-ned oh-DORE) got off to a slow start at the plate with Frisco but has been among the hottest batters of late. He batted .421 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over the last nine games.
For the season, Odor is batting .279 with six home runs and 17 RBIs over 32 games.
The Rangers have held Odor in high regard, particularly his gritty style playing the game. In fact, that led Washington to nickname him “Roughneck.”
“It was grit that made me call him ‘Roughneck’ instead of ‘Rougned,’ ” Washington said.
Washington went on to say: “Right now, he’s the hottest thing in Double A. Now, he can come up here and be the hottest thing in the big leagues.”
The Rangers considered starting the season with Odor once Jurickson Profar went down with a torn muscle in his right shoulder but opted to go with more experience. That has changed a month into the season with Odor continuing to shine in the minor leagues.
Sardinas, meanwhile, gives the Rangers a utility infielder. He has played second and short in the minor leagues, and the team feels he can fill in at third base, too.
Sardinas had one stint with the Rangers earlier this season from April 19-26, going 1 for 3 with a run scored over three games.
Daniels believes Odor and Sardinas will gain immeasurable experience by being in the big leagues and also hopes they can bring energy to a team that has lost eight of its last 10 games.
“On one side, they can learn from [Adrian] Beltre and [Shin-Soo] Choo and the rest of the guys here,” Daniels said. “And maybe their energy and how they go about the game will help those guys as well.”
Daniels also gave an update on Profar, saying the projected everyday second baseman is rehabbing well. The plan is for Profar to report to the Arizona facility next week for more rehab and begin serving as the designated hitter in games.
He’ll then join a minor-league affiliate where he will DH a couple more games before playing the field.
Outside of the second base shuffle, the Rangers made another move with their pitching staff. They designated Scott Baker for assignment the day after he saved the bullpen by allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
But the Rangers needed another long man and purchased the contract of right-hander Justin Germano from Triple A Round Rock.