Jurickson Profar having fun as Rangers keep winning
Manager Jeff Banister said that the Texas Rangers could keep Hanser Alberto and Jurickson Profar on their bench when Rougned Odor returns to the active roster Saturday after serving a seven-game suspension.
That’s one option the Rangers are considering for their bench and for their young infielders, who each have a case for staying on the roster and avoiding a demotion to Triple A Round Rock.
A final decision could come down to how comfortable the Rangers feel with Profar playing third base in his comeback season after missing two years because of a shoulder injury.
“One of the things we continue to do is we still look at all possibilities, what’s necessary and what we try to be prepared for,” Banister said. “However, we’ve got a guy that’s up here to play second base. Let’s let him continue to play second base. We’ve still got a few days left.”
Profar, who hit a solo home run in the fifth inning Tuesday and went 2 for 5 with two runs scored, is batting .348 in five games as Odor’s fill-in. He will play second base Wednesday and Friday before Odor returns. Profar is a better offensive player than Alberto.
Alberto’s case is boosted by his ability to play third, a position Profar hasn’t played since 2013. Ryan Rua also has some experience at third, most recently over three innings there May 5 in a blowout loss at Toronto and also 203 games in the minors.
Rangers utility infielder Hanser Alberto has played 14 games at third base the past two seasons, including the playoffs. Jurickson Profar last played third in 2013 before missing the next two seasons with a shoulder injury.
The Rangers could keep Profar as their utility man if they feel comfortable using Rua at third if Adrian Beltre were to need a day off. Profar said that he doesn’t like being a utility man but is willing to do it in the short term.
He’s also confident that he could handle third base.
The Rangers will have to add right-hander Shawn Tolleson to the active roster Thursday after his seven-day stint on the MLB family emergency medical list ends. Tolleson threw live batting practice Tuesday at Double A Frisco, and Odor and Shin-Soo Choo (left hamstring) faced minor leaguer Jose Monegro in a live BP session at Globe Life Park.
Wilson off again
Bryan Holaday was the Rangers’ starting catcher for the third consecutive game instead of Bobby Wilson, who said that he hopes to catch the series finale at Progressive Field after dealing with some fatigue.
I thought he needed to recover from the bulk of games. I monitor how these guys feel, their energy level and where they’re at. I don’t think he’s having a tough time. I’m just giving him an extra day to recover.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister on catcher Bobby Wilson
Wilson and Banister weren’t particularly forthcoming, but both said that there is no serious injury. Wilson, who over the weekend was named by Banister as the primary catcher, caught 15 of 25 games after being acquired May 3 from Detroit.
“Everything’s fine,” said Wilson, who took early batting practice and caught Yu Darvish’s between-starts bullpen session. “It’s nothing. Hopefully I am back in there tomorrow. Nothing to worry about.”
.282 Batting average this season by Rangers catchers, the highest in the American League
Rangers catchers have been among the most productive in the American League, batting a league-best .282 and tied for second-most RBIs (28). At. .358, Wilson has the fourth-best AL average in May among qualifying players.
Neither Wilson nor Holaday have been everyday catchers during their careers.
“I thought he needed to recover from the bulk of games,” Banister said. “I monitor how these guys feel, their energy level and where they’re at. I don’t think he’s having a tough time. I’m just giving him an extra day to recover.”
Grim All-Star voting
The initial release of fan voting for the American League All-Star team wasn’t good for the Rangers, who had no player rank in the top five (top 15 for outfielders) at any position.
The Rangers’ best candidate among position players might be rookie Nomar Mazara, who isn’t on the ballot, but hot-hitting outfielder Ian Desmond is on the ballot. Not even veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre or second baseman Rougned Odor could scratch the top five.
Voting runs through June 30. The 87th All-Star Game is scheduled for July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego. Pitchers are not selected via the fan vote.
The Rangers had only one All-Star last year. It was Prince Fielder, who delivered the game-winning RBI with a pinch single off Clayton Kershaw.