Kyle Blanks finally made his debut in left field for the Texas Rangers on Friday night, a move that has been talked about since spring training.
It allows manager Jeff Banister to keep Blanks’ bat in the lineup, along with Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland. All three are most comfortable at first base — especially Fielder who has played at first exclusively throughout his career — while Moreland and Blanks have each spent time in the outfield.
Against the Cleveland Indians on Friday, Fielder was the DH and Moreland played first.
Blanks came up with the Padres as an outfielder and has more experience there than Moreland. Blanks started 38 games at first for the Padres from 2009 through 2014 before being traded to the Athletics. With the A’s last season, he started 12 games at first and just one in the outfield while dealing with Achilles injuries in both ankles.
He was held back early in spring training as he recovered from off-season surgery. He missed the past two games to give his feet a rest, Banister said.
“When a guy tells me he’s good enough to go, he’s good enough to go,” Banister said. “It helps all players to be versatile, especially a guy like Kyle Blanks and [Adam] Rosales, Tommy Field.
“When you are versatile and you can swing the bat and have the ability to play other positions, you can extend your time at the major league level. [You’ll] find a way to stay, especially if you’re on a roll hitting.”
Since being called up April 29, Blanks is batting .321 with three homers and six RBIs.
Banister said left-hander Ross Detwiler, who allowed three runs in five innings in Thursday’s loss and is 0-5 in his first seven starts, will remain in the rotation.
Detwiler has pitched better since taking a week off from the rotation in April to work on his delivery, but he has still struggled to pitch deep into games.
“We’re going to continue to work with him, and I believe he’s going to continue to improve,” Banister said. “You never say never.”
For now, the Rangers hope Detwiler can regain the formula that helped him hold the Astros to one run in seven innings May 4. His second-longest outing was 5 2/3 innings, when he allowed five runs in his second start.
Banister prefers older starters such as Colby Lewis, Wandy Rodriguez and Yovani Gallardo to have an extra day of rest before starts in a five-man rotation. Finding a replacement for Detwiler, the fifth starter, doesn’t appear to be a preferred option at the moment.
Beltre blasts No. 400
Prince Fielder had just ripped a two-run homer to right field Friday night to pull the Rangers into a 2-2 tie with the Indians at Globe Life Park.
Adrian Beltre quickly followed with a 413-foot blast to straightaway center to give Texas a 3-2 lead in the first inning. He is tied with Shin-Soo Choo for the team lead with five homers this season.
It was also Beltre’s 400th career homer. He’s the 52nd player in MLB history with at least 400 homers. He’s fourth among active players, and he trails Hall of Famer Duke Snider (407) for 51st all-time. He needs 13 more to move ahead of Alfonso Soriano and into the top 50.
It was Beltre’s 80th homer at Globe Life Park, his most at any park in the league.
Maddux’s master plan
Pitching coach Mike Maddux missed Friday’s game while attending his daughter’s master’s degree ceremony at Baylor.
His other daughter graduates from SMU on Saturday, but Maddux will be back with the team.
Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins acted as the pitching coach Friday, while minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark acted as the bullpen coach.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760
A look at Adrian Beltre’s home runs throughout his career since his rookie season with the Dodgers in 1998:
Red Sox (2010)