Plenty of good happened Saturday at Angel Stadium for the Texas Rangers.
They got another quality start from Cole Hamels, who allowed one run in six innings, and they saw Adrian Beltre have his best game of the season at the plate with a home run and two doubles.
The bullpen looked like it did last season, with Shawn Tolleson working a scoreless ninth inning.
But the 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels was overshadowed quickly after the game ended by the news that catcher Robinson Chirinos suffered a broken right forearm and that Shin-Soo Choo appears to be headed to the disabled list with a strained right calf.
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The Rangers were awaiting the results of an MRI taken of Choo’s calf during the game. They know that they will be without Chirinos for an extended stretch, with Bryan Holaday taking over, and both injuries sent the club into scramble mode.
I have to deal with it. I always believe that God is not going to give you anything. I have to take it like it is and put in my best effort to come back as soon as possible.
Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos
“We’ll talk about what the option is,” manager Jeff Banister said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good start in having Holaday behind the plate. Right now, we’re walking through all our options.”
Brett Nicholas, who impressed during his first big league camp before getting assigned to the minors, is likely to be brought up from Triple A Round Rock in a move that will require the Rangers to put Chirinos on the 60-day disabled list or designated a player for assignment to create a spot on the 40-man roster.
Chris Gimenez is eligible to come off the disabled list, but he’s not able to play because of an infection in his left leg. Michael McKenry, who was also in big league camp, is still slowed by an abdominal strain.
“He handled himself very well behind the plate, received the ball well and handled our pitching staff well,” Banister said of Nicholas. “Adequate thrower, blocked the ball well, and he showed something with the bat.”
Chirinos was injured as he was hit by a Garrett Richards fastball while trying to check his swing. Though he stayed to finish the at-bat, which ended in a flyout, he knew the arm was broken as soon as he tried to rotate it.
The broken bone is the latest injury for Chirinos, who had a left shoulder strain that cost him about two months last season. He missed the 2012 season because of a concussion.
“A lot of stuff you don’t control, and that’s part of the game,” Chirinos said. “You can get injured at any time.”
Holaday, who had an RBI double in the seventh inning, said that he will be ready to assume a heavier workload, but his first thoughts were with Chirinos.
The Rangers had six catchers at spring training. Robinson Chirinos, Chris Gimenez and Michael McKenry are injured; Brett Nicholas and Kelin Deglin are in the minors; and Bobby Wilson was traded for Bryan Holaday.
“You never want to see that happen to a teammate,” Holaday said. “We all have his back. He’s a great guy, and it’s just terrible when something like that happens.”
Choo was injured as he stretched in the outfield during batting practice. The Rangers’ right fielder and No. 2 hitter, Choo had reached in all five games this season and had already drawn four walks.
The Rangers have more outfield options in the minors than at catcher, but only prized prospect Nomar Mazara is on the 40-man roster. James Jones, Jared Hoying, Ryan Strausborger and Lewis Brinson are also options.
Ryan Rua started for Choo and drilled a double in the fourth after Beltre had started the inning with his first homer of the season for a 2-1 lead. Beltre added doubles in his next two at-bats.
Hamels found trouble in the first as Yunel Escobar singled and Craig Gentry walked. Mike Trout, though, bounced out, and all Albert Pujols could do was roll into a fielder’s choice for the 1,700th RBI of his career. Hamels snagged a ball back to mound to get C.J. Cron for the final out but on his 27th pitch of the inning.
Hamels (2-0) would catch up, thanks to three double plays over the next four innings. He allowed two hits and a walk, but faced the minimum from the second to the fifth.
93 Pitches in six innings Saturday for left-hander Cole Hamels, who threw 27 pitches in the first inning
Escobar and Gentry reached again ahead of Trout and Pujols in the sixth, but Trout bounced into a fielder’s choice and Pujols popped out with the runners at second and third.
Trout and Pujols combined to go 0 for 6 against Hamels.
“You have to look at those two guys as some of the best players in baseball,” said Hamels, who allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four. “They’re going to do some damage if you leave some pitches up or make some mistakes. I was just trying to make the best pitches I could.”
The next pitch Hamels throws won’t be to Chirinos, whose broken right forearm along with Choo’s strained right calf overshadowed the Rangers’ victory Saturday.