05/20/12 12:57 AM ET
Top prospect Profar thriving at Double-A level
By T.R. Sullivan and Christian Corona / MLB.com
Profar, 19, doubled in his first at-bat in the first inning of Saturday's 13-0 win over the Missions to extend the streak. He entered Saturday batting .325 with 15 RBIs, 17 extra-base hits and 20 runs scored during the streak. Profar, ranked by MLB.com as the top prospect in the Rangers' organization, is playing his first year of Double-A ball and has reached base in 38 consecutive games.
"In the beginning of the season, the game was a little fast for me. I had to slow it down a little bit," Profar said. "There was adjustments I had to make to slow the game down."
The second-best shortstop prospect and No. 6 overall prospect, according to MLB.com, Profar is batting .296 with four home runs and 19 RBIs this year. He's stolen seven bases with about being caught yet.
"He still has a lot of work to do and a lot of things to learn," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The biggest question we ask when we challenge a guy at a new level is if he can handle failure. I wouldn't say he experienced true failure, but there was an adjustment period there early on.
"I think a combination of his talent and ability, he's obviously hot at  games. The clock he has, the feel for the game, the instincts, all the little things that usually come with experience. Certain guys have it at a different stage. [Alexi] Ogando has it. That's been encouraging. He still has a lot of work to do and a lot of things to learn."
Profar was signed as an amateur free agent out of Curacao in 2009. He was at Class A Hickory last season and was the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Year as well as the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player.
"I think there's two traits to him that stand out to me the most," Frisco manager Steve Buechele said. "One, he's not afraid to fail. And secondly, and most importantly, he's not afraid to be great. That's a rare trait to find. There's a lot of players that don't want to be great. They want to be good. And he wants to be great."
Texas unlikely to use Nathan fifth straight day
HOUSTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington told closer Joe Nathan on Friday night that he wouldn't be used on Saturday. Nathan offered a good-natured protest."I told him, 'That's not fair,'" Nathan said. "'You've got to ask me tomorrow how I feel. How do you know? How do you know if you can't play lacrosse until you play lacrosse? Let's what and see how I feel.'" The Rangers weren't planning to wait. Nathan picked up his ninth save on Friday night with a scoreless ninth in the Rangers' 4-1 victory over the Astros. It was the fourth straight day that Nathan has pitched. He has never pitched in five straight games during his 10-plus years in the Majors. He is also 37 and two years removed from Tommy John surgery. "I think they'd rather not have anybody pitch five straight days, so let's go out and win, 15-2," Nathan said. Washington said he wasn't planning on using Nathan but added, "That's not an emphatic no." The club record for consecutive games pitching in relief is 13 by Dale Mohorcic in 1986. That's also tied for the Major League record. "Wow, that's pretty good," Nathan said. "If they're not going to listen to me on five straight, they're not going to listen to me on 13 in a row."
Uehara delivers in prime setup situation
HOUSTON -- Alexi Ogando was unavailable on Friday after pitching two innings on Thursday. The Rangers also wanted to stay away from Mike Adams because he was still weak from a bronchial infection that zapped him earlier in the week. So Koji Uehara was asked to pitch the eighth inning and protect the Rangers' 4-1 lead.Uehara did so and earned just his third hold of the season. He had 22 last year, when he was a late-inning setup reliever for the Orioles and Rangers. He has not been in that role this season for the Rangers but was glad to get the opportunity again on Friday night. "When they call my name, I'm ready for any situation," Uehara said. Uehara pitched a scoreless inning and has not allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings over his last 10 appearances. His 1.26 ERA is the seventh lowest in the American League. Manager Ron Washington said he has still confidence in Uehara to use him in "winning" situations, but Ogando and Adams are still his primary setup relievers. "When they're not available, we'll use Uehara in those situations," Washington said. "I know he can pitch. He's been throwing the ball well. He has been looking for opportunities to get in those situation, that opportunity presented itself last night and he did a great job."
Washington gets message across to Feliz
HOUSTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said he had a heart-to-heart talk with pitcher Neftali Feliz during Friday's start against the Astros. They talked during the top of the fifth inning before Feliz was pulled out of the game."It was a message that's going to resonate for a while," Washington said. "I wanted him to understand there are guys here depending on him. When things aren't going right, you have to find a way. He was trying hard." Feliz took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth but walked two and was pulled with two outs. Reliever Robbie Ross ended up getting the victory. "Neftali was trying to do everything he could, he just couldn't get there," Washington said. "He wanted to ... you could see it in his eyes. You could tell he wasn't upset and wasn't happy."
Adrian Beltre, by accelerating between first and second base, was able to stretch a single into a double on Friday night, another sign that he is recovering from his left hamstring injury. Said manager Ron Washington, "He pushes it when he feels like he can push it. It's up to Beltre. He is the one who decides how his body is and his legs are. Evidently they are feeling much better." Starter Yu Darvish has six wins and reliever Robbie Ross has five. The only two Major League teammates with more combined wins are Tampa Bay's David Price and James Shields with six each. Ross has five wins in in 15 relief appearances. The last pitcher to earn his first five Major League wins that fast was Roger McDowell. He won five in his first 13 games for the Mets in 1985. The five wins for Ross are the most by a Major League reliever. The club record for wins by a reliever is 13, set by Jim Kern in 1979. The Rangers went into Saturday with a home run in 12 straight games. The club record is 14, set in 2006.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.