The daily pregame media briefing Friday with manager Ron Washington could have turned into an Abbott and Costello routine, but at this point, asking what’s on second isn’t funny.
Jurickson Profar won’t be there for two or three months, possibly the rest of the season, after the shoulder muscle he tore in spring training tore again earlier this week. That leaves two players who started in Double A, Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas, and veteran Donnie Murphy.
Odor, the Rangers’ top prospect, is the leader in the clubhouse. He will get the majority of starts, though Sardinas will also play second and back up at shortstop. Murphy is in the mix, too, but he is more likely to serve as the backup at third base and possibly first, even though he has never played there.
For Odor, his first two weeks in the majors have seen him launch his first career homer and also be part of controversial play that cost Yu Darvish the chance at a perfect game. A recent 1-for-12 slide has dropped Odor’s average to .179, but he’s not feeling any pressure or taking any joy that Profar’s injury is allowing him to stay in the majors.
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“I feel bad for him. That’s my friend,” Odor said. “I’m here because they need me, so I need to do my job and try to help my team win games.”
Murphy was activated from the disabled list and replaced on it by first baseman Prince Fielder, who will undergo season-ending cervical-fusion surgery next week. Murphy, who played six games with Triple A Round Rock while recovering from neck stiffness, said that he is willing to give first a try.
“If they say something to me, I’m definitely up for it,” he said. “I’m definitely game for it.”
Outfielder Daniel Robertson suffered three small non-displaced fractures on the orbital bone below his left eye, but a specialist told him that he can resume playing in a few days after the swelling goes down.
Robertson’s vision was not impaired after his face smacked Alex Rios’ knee Thursday as they pursued an Ian Kinsler popup in the third inning. Robertson also has a black eye and a deviated septum.
He plans to wear a protective helmet and a mask on the bases similar to those worn by basketball players with facial injuries.
“If they needed me to play today, I could,” Robertson said. “But the discomfort that I’m feeling and the swelling in my face makes it tough. I didn’t see the play. I still haven’t seen it. For me to come out with what I have now and the possibility to play in less than a week, it’s amazing.”
There is no guarantee, however, that Robertson will avoid the disabled list. The Rangers could add a left-handed-hitting outfielder from Triple A Round Rock, either Brad Snyder or Bryan Petersen, with a long line of right-handed starters facing the Rangers.
Right-hander Nick Martinez is set for his second start Saturday after serving as the Rangers’ long man for three weeks, and he said that he should be able to pitch seven innings.
He threw 84 pitches in five innings Sunday, and a pitcher typically can pile 20 pitches onto his previous outing as he attempts to get stretched out.
“I think I’m ready to go,” said Martinez, who is seeking his first big-league win. “I’m just going to control what I can control. I’m not worried about getting myself a win. I’m worried about getting the team a win.”