Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar is playing a baseball version of Around the World.
He worked out at first base for the first time before Monday’s game. He’s never played the position at any level.
Manager Jeff Banister thinks Profar, who played second base Monday night, is athletic enough to handle multiple spots in the infield. His main position is shortstop, but Profar also played 10 games at third for the Rangers in 2013.
The 23-year-old has hit safely in all 10 games, including multiple hits in eight of those, since his call-up from the minors, and the Rangers would like to keep him in the lineup wherever possible.
He was the designated hitter Saturday and Sunday with Rougned Odor back from a seven-game suspension and Prince Fielder getting a couple of games off.
“I feel like he could handle it if we ask him to play [first],” Banister said. “I feel like he has the capability, the instincts, athleticism to play there. Does he understand some of the subtleties of playing first base? Playing first base will draw that out.”
Banister doesn’t think Profar needs a full week of prep at first to play there in a game. At third base he would need even less prep time, but if an emergency situation arose soon, Ryan Rua would probably play third before Profar.
Profar said the main thing he needed help with at first base was knowing where to be for cut-off throws.
“I’ve never played there before, so I have to make sure I’m in the right position,” he said. “I told them to remind me, if I play there, remind me every time.”
Bobby Wilson and Bryan Holaday have combined to give the Rangers some of the best offensive numbers in the league, but a tough decision looms.
Robinson Chirinos has begun a rehab assignment at Triple A Round Rock and is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list from a right forearm fracture, if he’s physically ready. Unless the team decides to do the unusual move of carrying three catchers, the Rangers will be forced to designate one of them for assignment.
“You just go out and play and whatever happens is going to happen,” Wilson said. “There have been times when I thought I was in and I was out, and there were times where I thought I was out and I was in.”
Wilson joined the team last season and, along with Chris Gimenez, helped the Rangers win the division. Wilson was traded to Detroit at the end of spring training along with pitcher Myles Jaye. The Rangers reacquired Wilson on May 3 for minor league pitcher Chad Bell.
“If I worry about what’s going to happen when Robbie comes back, then I’ll drive myself crazy going over all the scenarios,” Wilson said. “I just want to go play and make the decisions tough on the people that have to make them.”
Right-hander A.J. Griffin is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session before Monday’s game. Griffin is expected to spend at least a couple of weeks building up strength in the minors before being available to return to the roster.
Outfielder Zach Cone, who was a supplemental first-round pick (No. 37 overall) by the Rangers in 2011, has been released from Double A Frisco. Cone was hitting .208 with five homers and 26 RBI. He had never moved above Double A.