Ryan Rua is just glad to be back in the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse.
He doesn’t care where he’s put in the lineup.
After his lengthy rehab process from a fractured heel bone, Rua returned to the Rangers and started in left field in Friday night’s opener against the White Sox.
He was the Rangers’ Opening Day starter in left before the injury. He played left again Saturday but the Rangers had him also working at third base, first and second while at Triple A Round Rock.
Manager Jeff Banister wants the luxury of having players who can handle multiple positions in case of an injury.
“That’s how it’s got to be,” said Rua, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his first game back but 1 for 4 with a run scored Saturday. “Luckily, I have experience at those positions. It’s definitely something I’ll continue to work on. If it builds up my value and helps me help out the team, then that’s what I’m willing to do.”
Rua only played 12 games in the minors but his ankle was ready, and Banister wanted him up facing major league pitching sooner rather than later. Rua has plenty of infield experience in the minors, but feels most comfortable in left since working there in the off-season and in spring training.
“I’d like to have guys that can do that on our club,” Banister said. “They are invaluable.”
For Rua, just being back is enough.
“The clubhouse environment is awesome right now, everybody is having a good time,” he said. “It’s fun to be a part of and get back to.”
Backup center fielder
Joey Gallo could be an option in center field if Leonys Martin went down with an injury.
Banister said Gallo will shag balls in center in case the need arose. Gallo did not start Saturday’s game against left-hander Carlos Rodon. He struck out four times Friday against lefty Chris Sale. He pinch-hit Saturday and struck out.
“I just want him to have some time down,” Banister said. “We’ve been asking a lot of Joey.”
Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo has the most experience at center among the options and could help there, if necessary.
Martin has no clear backup with Delino DeShields on the disabled list with an injury. If Choo had to move to center, Rua would be an option in right. Mitch Moreland is not an option, Banister said, because of the fear that it would be too hard on his left ankle, which needed surgery a year ago. Gallo is the best option, Banister said.
“The most athletic guy we have out there is the big man,” he said. “It’s not optimum, but if something happened I want the most athletic guy I can get out there if we get in a pinch.”
Injured outfielder Josh Hamilton (strained left hamstring) will work out with Frisco on Sunday.
He’ll take Monday off before working out with the Rangers in Arlington on Tuesday. The club will assess his progress then and decide if he’s ready for a rehab assignment.
Right-hander Phil Klein has been placed on the Triple A Round Rock disabled list with a strained right elbow.
Klein hasn’t pitched since being sent down in late May.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760