Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Lineup shuffle reflects how an MLB team's plans always change

The fan who interfered with a potential Renato Nunez home run in the fourth inning Wednesday is removed from his seat at Tropicana Field.
The fan who interfered with a potential Renato Nunez home run in the fourth inning Wednesday is removed from his seat at Tropicana Field. The Associated Press

Another day off awaits the Texas Rangers on Thursday. After playing 14 consecutive days to open the season before their first off day, they might be starting to feel spoiled.

The off day ahead of a six-game home stand is the second of three consecutive no-baseball Thursdays before a stretch of 12 games without an off day.

Not everyone will be entirely off. Injured players will receive treatment, and the Rangers must decide whether to put Jurickson Profar on the seven-day concussion list so that they can still back date the move three days.

While he has been in the MLB concussion protocol since falling on the right side of his head Monday, he has been unable to speak to the media. But he has been seen in the clubhouse, and on Wednesday was carrying around his glove and bat like he was looking for a pickup game.

Or maybe he was trying to give the appearance that he's ready to play. He even took some grounders. A doctor, though, will determine if he can play Friday.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

1. In the interest of full disclosure, many other writers get more reactions on Twitter than I do, and I'm fine with that. I can't imagine the insanity that rages on other writers' feeds.

Mine has plenty of it.

Take, for instance, the simple act of posting the Rangers' lineup Wednesday morning. With a day game followed by an off day, the chances were high that Adrian Beltre would be the designated hitter or off entirely.

Sure enough, Beltre was at designated hitter, and, because of the injury situation, manager Jeff Banister was required to do some shuffling to make it happen. In the end, Nomar Mazara was the left fielder, Shin-Soo Choo was in right field, Joey Gallo was at first base and Ronald Guzman was on the bench.

Not ideal, with Mazara playing his off outfield position, but not the end of the world. The Rangers had their three biggest left-handed bats in the lineup against Rays right-hander Jake Faria, and Choo is their top leadoff man with Delino DeShields out.

To some, though, the lineup was a sign of the apocalypse. Their days were ruined. They completely abandoned common sense.

(The criticism of the replay review of Renato Nunez's near homer was warranted. If the replay umpire can't find enough evidence to confirm the fan-interference call, doesn't that mean there's evidence the ball should have been a homer? Why punish the batter?)

Two of my cherished followers couldn't figured out why Guzman was not in the lineup. Both agreed that it was time to trade Beltre at once, or trade Choo and make Beltre the regular DH so that Gallo could be the everyday third baseman and Guzman could play first every day.

A few others were miffed that Banister had reneged on the pledge to not move Mazara around this season. One wanted to know why not move Choo (because he hasn't played left field since 2014).

Here's the deal: Teams enter the season with all kinds of plans, knowing full well that not all of those plans are going to materialize. It took all of two games before Banister had to start creating new plans, thanks to DeShields' injury, and plans were altered further with three key injuries last week.

None of the injuries were in the Rangers' plans, but they happened. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was not in the Rangers' plans this season, but here he is. Does anybody really think that Bartolo Colon was this heavily involved in the Rangers' plans?

Now, it's hard to imagine him not being in their plans. But plans change, Twitter.

Keep that in mind before planning for the start of the apocalypse.

2. DeShields won't be taking off Thursday. The center fielder will begin a rehab assignment with Double A Frisco, playing five innings Thursday and seven Friday before being evaluated Saturday.

He could be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list Monday.

"It could be Saturday," DeShields said.

That would be exactly three weeks after he broke the hamate bone in his left hand in the Rangers' second game. He had surgery to days later. DeShields originally wanted to be activated Friday.

Whether it's Saturday or Monday, he will beat the prescribed recovery timeline by one to three weeks. Considering how fast DeShields runs, perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise.

That running has been greatly missed.

The Rangers entered Wednesday with four stolen bases in nine tries. Only one team in baseball — the Oakland A's — had fewer, though the Rangers were one of five with four.

The pressure the Rangers like to apply on opposing pitchers and defenses with their base running has been nearly non-existent. The Rangers haven't swiped a base in six games, their second such stretch already this season.

"Not as aggressive," manager Jeff Banister said. "It's part of our game. It's part of our game that really helps the offense. Our guys have done well with the on-base at the top of the lineup, but we missed the running dynamic. It puts the opposing defense in some situations. It puts the pitcher on the mound in a different mind-set."

3. Beltre's peaceful morning catching up on his shows was interrupted by an intrepid reporter's pursuit of the truth.

What did he say Tuesday night to former teammates Carlos Gomez after he attempted to throw out Beltre at first on a single to right field?

"I can't repeat it," Beltre said.

The future Hall of Famer sprinted through the bag safely and gestured toward right field while saying something not fit for print. Gomez just smirked back at Beltre, who then grinned like he normally does when something funky happens in a game.

Not everyone thought it was a light moment, primarily those concerned about Beltre's legs. Gomez was hit by pitch in his next plate appearance, but it doesn't seem like a good move for a sub-.500 team trying to win a game they led 6-1, but with a Rays runner on first and one out.

"I didn't think it was a big deal," Beltre said. "I was expecting it. It's Carlos."

And his legs? They were fine then and were fine Wednesday morning, but he could haven't done without the test.

"I didn't need that," Beltre said. "At all."

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the broken right elbow suffered late Wednesday by shortstop Elvis Andrus. He has never been on the disabled list in his career.

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