Texas Rangers

No matter what happened to Odor’s knee, Rangers keep winning with Santana filling in

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

For the life of him, and believe him when he says he has tried, Rougned Odor still can’t figure out how he sprained his right knee Friday some 20 minutes before first pitch.

“It was like 6:40-something,” Odor said. “I went to the trainer, and it wasn’t right.”

He was stretching in the Texas Rangers’ weight room, as he does before taking the field for each game.

No crazy yoga poses. Just standard stretches for his legs.

This time, for whatever reason, there was a pop. Odor felt something. He tried to run on it and it felt OK, but he knew something wasn’t right.

“I was like, ‘Oh, crap, something happened,’” Odor said. “I knew there was something wrong.”

He was scratched from the lineup, stuffed in an MRI tube an hour later and put on the 10-day injured list the next afternoon.

The good news is that the stay on the IL isn’t expected to be a long one, and in the meantime, Danny Santana has proven to be a reliable fill-in. The Rangers were also 2-1 in the first three games Odor missed.

“That helps,” he said.

Santana played a hand in each victory and was back in the lineup at second base Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. It’s looking like he will be in there Wednesday in the series finale as the Rangers go for a three-game sweep.

Mike Minor was the star Tuesday.

The left-hander tossed his first career shutout, Joey Gallo and Asdrubal Cabrera hit two-run homers, and Santana was part of a solid defensive effort as the Rangers rolled to a 5-0 victory.

Santana is making it look like a temporary stay on the roster should be a permanent one.

“He’s doing a great job,” Odor said. “He’s a great hitter. He can play everywhere. He can run, he’s a switch hitter, he’s a great guy, a great teammates, and I love having him. He’s really good.”

Santana was one of the last players to be cut from the Opening Day roster after a big spring in which he made some changes to his swing and produced immediate results. The Rangers chose Logan Forsythe over Santana in large part because Forsythe can play first base.

Santana didn’t sulk after being assigned to Triple A Nashville, where he batted .343 in nine games with four doubles and a triple. His first Rangers hit was a pinch-hit two-run double Sunday to bring the Rangers into a 7-7 tie in the eighth.

He scored two batters later on Delino DeShields’ two-out bunt hit.

Santana followed it up by going 2 for 5 with two steals and two runs Monday in a 12-7 victory. He also made a dazzling diving stop at second base in the eighth inning.

“It shouldn’t be a crushing blow to get sent to Triple A to start the year if there’s a chance you might come up as soon as somebody gets hurt,” manager Chris Woodward said. “In Danny’s case, he was doing well at Triple A, so he’s kind of hit the ground running.”

Odor has started to do some light running and is also taking grounders on his knees and on his feet without any lateral movement.

He hasn’t hit yet, but the light running tells him that he’s going to be back sooner than later.

“I’ve been feeling much better every day,” Odor said. “I’ve jogged, maybe 40 percent, and I feel good. That’s why I don’t think it’s going to be very long.”

As for what happens to Santana when Odor returns, well, that decision won’t come due for a couple weeks. He is out of minor-league options, which could work in his favor, but he is showing with his play that he could help the Rangers off the bench.

“I’ll try to play 100 percent and help the team win as much as we can,” Santana said.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

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.