With an off day on Monday, Ron Washington felt it was an opportune time to get Shin-Soo Choo and Mitch Moreland extended rest.
That’s why those were the two regulars given off days on Sunday. Both are dealing with sore left ankles and Moreland also has a little bit of back stiffness.
Both have struggled at the plate of late, too. Choo is batting .200 over his past nine games, and Moreland has a .192 average over his past six games.
“They needed it,” Washington said.
Choo has particularly struggled the past three weeks. He is batting .205 over his past 23 games to drop from a season-high .370 average to his current .289.
Washington believes that Choo’s ankle could be part of the reason for that. Choo initially injured it April 21 when he hit first base awkwardly.
“You need your lower half to hit and that’s his push leg, so that could be affecting him,” Washington said. “He’s not turning on a lot of balls inside that he swings at. He’s topping them. It could have an effect, but this is a good time to get him two days in a row.”
Choo entered as a pinch-hitter for Yu Darvish in the eighth inning and drew a walk.
Michael Choice had been in the lineup to replace Choo in left field and the leadoff spot, but was scratched with a left shin contusion. Daniel Robertson ended up handling those duties.
Fresh face at first
Washington didn’t have many options to play first base for Morleand on Sunday and opted to go with utility infielder Donnie Murphy.
Murphy found out during breakfast and went through a brief pregame workout at first with Washington and bench coach Tim Bogar. He had never played the position before.
“This is something new, but Wash just told me to catch the ball,” said Murphy, who borrowed Chris Gimenez’s first base glove. “I think it’s as simple as that.”
Washington had no concerns about Murphy playing first.
“I think everybody can play first base,” said Washington, who laughed at his contradictory comment from what was portrayed by his character in Moneyball.
“Murphy is a good enough athlete to hold it down for us for one day.”
Right-hander Tanner Scheppers, who is on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, allowed one run on a solo homer over 12/3 innings during a rehab appearance Saturday at Triple A Round Rock.
Scheppers allowed two homers in his previous outing on Thursday. Washington said the team has not discussed whether Scheppers is ready to return Tuesday when the team opens a nine-game homestand.
“I’m sure we’ll have something decided by Tuesday on what we want to do,” Washington said.
Most of the Rangers enjoyed a private tour of the U.S. Capitol following Saturday’s game, courtesy of Ryan Thompson, chief of staff to Texas Congressman Joe Barton.
Elvis Andrus raved about the trip with his personal favorites seeing the Speaker’s Room and the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
“It was really great, an amazing day,” Andrus said. “Something you’ll never forget for sure.”
Andrus also got to see other parts of the city, including the Lincoln Memorial and the White House.
He joked that he should have kept his “Abe Lincoln beard” a little bit longer, which would have made for a better photo opportunity.