Texas Rangers

A Saturday surprise for the Rangers, and it isn’t good news for Rougned Odor

Rougned Odor seeing success with 2018 approach

The Texas Rangers are seeing the benefits of Rougned Odor’s improved approach in the form of two opposite-field home runs.
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The Texas Rangers are seeing the benefits of Rougned Odor’s improved approach in the form of two opposite-field home runs.

The good news, what little there is from putting a regular on the 10-day injured list, is that the sprained right knee hampering Rougned Odor isn’t expected to result in a long absence.

The second baseman will miss around two weeks’ worth of Texas Rangers games and then be evaluated further. When describing the injury, general manager Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward both described it as a short-term thing.

That’s part of the reason the Rangers purchased the minor-league contract of Danny Santana and move right-hander Edinson Volquez to the 60-day IL. They had options, but Santana was the easiest and the cleanest.

After watching him in spring training, the Rangers also believe that he is a better player than he has shown the past few seasons.

“He’s probably got more tools in his bag than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Woodward said. “And he’s a tremendous, tremendous human being and teammate. He’ll fit right in. I think he’s going to have some impact.”

Those are bold words about a player whose career trajectory has been rocketing downward since a terrific rookie season in 2014. Santana had only 28 MLB at-bats last season, with the Atlanta Braves, and batted only .179.

But he was one of the Rangers’ best players in spring training after a swing overhaul that gives him a better chance of making contact. He also showed that he can play shortstop adequately and has one of the Rangers’ best outfield arms as a center fielder.

He’s confident he can handle second base.

“I know what I can do,” Santana said.

Among the other choices the Rangers considered was moving Isiah Kiner-Falefa to second base and recalling catcher Jose Trevino. Kiner-Falefa was the choice last April when Odor hit the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, though he didn’t begin to play regularly until shortstop Elvis Andrus was injured a few days later.

Kiner-Falefa had started four of the Rangers’ past five games at catcher entering Saturday’s game, which was postponed due to rain, and he continues to make significant strides there. The Rangers didn’t want to disrupt his progress there to fill in for Odor for only a few weeks.

The Rangers might have moved Kiner-Falefa had the Odor injury been more severe. Odor was injured only 20 minutes before first pitch while going through is normal pregame routine.

“We feel like he’s put in so much work right and is doing so well that we didn’t want to push pause on that when we have other options,” Daniels said.

Logan Forsythe will be an option at second base even though he is splitting time at first base with Patrick Wisdom while first baseman Ronald Guzman is on the IL with a strained right hamstring.

Guzman took batting practice for the first time Saturday and is doing strengthening exercises. He is eligible to be reinstated from the IL on Wednesday.

That might be a tad optimistic, but the infield might be shuffling again sooner than later.

On Saturday, the Rangers went with the cleanest, easiest move rather than shuffle Kiner-Falefa around.

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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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