Texas Rangers

Here’s how the Rangers’ addition of Logan Forsythe could affect Asdrubal Cabrera

Rangers manager Chris Woodward preparing for Choo to be his leadoff hitter

Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward expects Shin Soo Choo to his leadoff hitter.
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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward expects Shin Soo Choo to his leadoff hitter.

The latest addition to the Texas Rangers’ spring roster has played in the major leagues since 2011 and has piled up more than 100 games each of the past five seasons.

Yet, Logan Forsythe, like many other free agents, was sitting at home when spring training started earlier this month. He finally reached a breaking point last weekend when he knew it was time to get into a camp to begin preparing for a 162-game season.

The Texas Rangers were one of the teams that had been keeping tabs on him, and he agreed Tuesday to a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league spring training. He could be in a game as early as this weekend.

He also is an indication that the Rangers might carry a utility infielder who can play up the middle rather than have third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera back up shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor.

Learning third base is going to be a tall enough task without also having to work at other infield positions.

“It gives us an option,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I do trust Cabrera being the backup shortstop, but playing third base and getting use to that kind of footwork and then having to go to shortstop for a week if Elvis were to go down, I think that’s unfair to Asdrubal.”

Texas Rangers shortstop and presumptive clubhouse leader Elvis Andrus arrived to spring training Saturday without Adrian Beltre, who retired in November.

Forsythe comes to a camp with two familiar faces, and they will play significant roles in whether he makes the team. Woodward and hitting coach Luis Ortiz were coaches on Forsythe’s last team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Woodward also coached Forsythe in 2017 with the Dodgers.

That can’t hurt.

“The quality of people here made it the easiest choice,” Forsythe said. “The time we spent together in LA, we developed really good relationships. They’re very transparent when it comes to what your role is and what you’re going to do. I’ve already talked to Woody about that, and he’s given me an idea of where I stand this spring and what I need to work on.”

Forsythe will be a utility infielder if he makes the team, and he must be able to play shortstop to be able to do that. Of his 815 MLB games, only 21 have been at shortstop and only 13 have been starts.

He is confident he can play there after spending more time at shortstop in the minors. Woodward is confident, too, having spent time with Forsythe, who opened 2018 with the Minnesota Twins, the past two seasons.

“I’ve hit a lot of fungos to him, so I’ve seen his ability from an infield standpoint,” Woodward said. “He’s really, really good at second base and really good at third base. I’ve seen it at shortstop. I haven’t seen it in games. I told him I need to see him from a game standpoint play that position. That’s where our biggest need is, as far as a backup shortstop.”

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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