Ryan Rua is not exactly where he’d like to be in his career, but at the midway point of the 2016 season, he’s content with his position on the Texas Rangers’ roster.
The outfielder/first baseman, who earned the left-field starting spot out of spring training in 2015, was forced to prove himself all over again when his season was derailed by an injury. He never made it back into the everyday lineup and spent most of the rest of 2015 struggling with Triple A Round Rock.
This past spring training, Rua showed again that he deserved space on the major league roster. This time, however, with Ian Desmond in the mix, it was off the bench. That is, until right fielder Shin-Soo Choo was injured the first week and center fielder Delino DeShields struggled at the plate before being sent down to the minors.
That helped open the door for Rua, who has played in 57 games, including 44 starts. The right-handed hitter has been especially effective against left-handed pitchers, which the Rangers will face in the Twins’ Tommy Milone (1-2, 5.45 ERA) Sunday.
Ryan Rua is hitting .278 with seven homers and 19 RBIs. Against lefties, he’s hitting .348 with a .421 on-base percentage and .545 slugging percentage.
Rua wasn’t in the lineup Saturday night against the Twins. The game, which was scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m., was delayed until 9:15 because of persistent rain.
Rua is hitting .278 with seven homers and 19 RBIs. Against lefties, he’s hitting .348 with a .421 on-base percentage and .545 slugging percentage.
“He’s swung the bat very well for us and he’s been exceptionally good against left-handers,” manager Jeff Banister said. “It doesn’t seem to have affected him much when he’s had some days down. He’s been able to respond after that. He’s quietly putting together a real nice year for himself.”
I just need to keep it going. It’s been a long first half. I’ve always had the confidence in myself. I think that was one of the things coming back this year and trying to put last year behind me.
Ryan Rua on his solid season
Rua knows his success against left-handers not only gives Banister more options to platoon him in both the outfield and at first base, but it makes him more valuable off the bench, too.
“I just need to keep it going. It’s been a long first half,” he said. “I’ve always had the confidence in myself. I think that was one of the things coming back this year and trying to put last year behind me.”
Rua was first called up for 28 games in September 2014. That success was a boon to his confidence.
“I knew I could do it at this level,” he said.
Now that he’s had more time in the outfield, he’s more confident defensively, too.
“Defensively, I got more comfortable in the outfield and at first base. I think that helped a lot, took some pressure off me a little bit.”
He’d like to earn the every day starting job again, but he’ll take what he’s getting, for now.
“That’s everyone’s goal. Once you get up here it’s to stay up here,” he said. “Eventually [you hope to] fight and push your way into a starting role and be an everyday player.”
Rangers vs. Twins
2:05 p.m. Sunday, FSSW