Texas Rangers

Mazara deserves same courtesy as Odor to figure out issues with Rangers in majors

Hunter Pence is back on the Texas Rangers’ active roster, reinstated Tuesday from the 10-day injured list.

His right groin, he said, feels pretty good. His swing, he said, feels great, after four rehab games at Double A Frisco.

Pence was in the Rangers’ lineup for the first time since June 15, and he went 0 for 4. He lined into an eight-inning double play that stood out as a key play against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He wasn’t the only Rangers hitters who was held in check at Globe Life Park.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 9-2 loss.

Mazara motivation?

The revelation that the Rangers at least considered using an option on Nomar Mazara to create a spot for Pence came as a surprise, though Mazara’s numbers are pretty much what they have been his first three seasons in the majors.

Manager Chris Woodward and general manager Jon Daniels expect more and believe Mazara has it in him. When asked how Mazara can get there, each suggested a problem with how Mazara prepares.

He does the work, but getting that work from the cages to the field has been the problem.

Mazara is a mature, experienced and bright player, even though he is still only 24. He is younger than Willie Calhoun, who was sent down, and Ronald Guzman, who was also under consideration.

Sometimes, Woodward said, it takes some extra time for a player to blossom.

Mazara is also younger than Rougned Odor, who continues to hit below .200.

If the Rangers are going to let Odor figure things out in the majors, they should give Mazara the same courtesy. He’s hitting around 70 points higher, after all.

The sense here is that the Rangers are looking for a new way to motivate Mazara. Woodward said he and Mazara have discussed the minors, but the Rangers haven’t used it as a threat.

Their hope, Woodward said, is Mazara, Odor and Guzman recognize that if the Rangers are willing to send down Calhoun, who was simply caught in a numbers game, they could be next.

Odor still here

The Rangers acquired second baseman Nick Solak on Saturday, shipping right-hander Pete Fairbanks to the Tampa Bay Rays in a swap of minor-leaguers.

Solak, though, is considered a top-100 prospect by Fangraphs, but the webaite says he might never be more than an average MLB player.

Thin on upper-level infielders in the minors, Solak is a good pickup. But here’s what he isn’t: Part of an immediate plan to unseat Odor.

Daniels took some wind out of that conspiracy theory, though he did say Solak could create some competition at second later in the season.

Solak also could end up playing the outfield. He has played left field and some center field in the minors, but will play primarily second base the rest of this season with Triple A Nashville and, possibly, the Rangers at some point.

Solak is eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December and must be added to the 40-man roster to avoid exposure to the draft. As is the case with many players, including three power relievers in the minors, the Rangers might as well add them in September.

In the meantime, the Rangers will continue to stick with Odor, who is starting to slide after a nice stretch before the All-Star break. He entered Tuesday batting only .222 since July 5.

The sad thing is that still rates as an improvement.

And Odor continues to play, even though Danny Santana was batting .309 entering Tuesday with only two fewer home runs than Odor’s 13 in 60 fewer at-bats.

It adds up, but something isn’t adding up.

Lynn Snake bit

Maybe Lance Lynn was due for an outing like the one he put together against Arizona, a team that had never beaten him in his career.

He was 6-0 in 12 games/10 starts. He’s now 6-1 in 13 games/11 starts.

The right-hander surrendered five runs in six innings, four in the final two after Joey Gallo had tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth. Lynn labored in the fifth, when Arizona sent seven batters to the plate.

Lynn has retired 12 straight before the Diamondbacks went single, single, walk, single to take a 3-1 lead.

Ildemaro Vargas connected for a two-run homer in the sixth that scored former TCU star Kevin Cron and effectively put the game out of reach.

The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but got only one run on an Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly.

Another TCU star, Alex Young, shut down the Rangers over 5 1/3 innings. The Gallo homer, the kind of towering shot it seems only he is capable of hitting, was one of just three hits against Young in his third career start.

Woodward said that Lynn didn’t allow much hard contact, other than the Vargas homer and another hit earlier in the game. Nevertheless, it added up to a third straight Rangers loss.

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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.