09/09/12 2:51 PM ET
Fearless Profar already having impact on Rangers
By Greg Zeck / MLB.com
Profar cranked a homer in the first game, against the Indians on Sept. 2, to open the scoring, and he kept the strong play going with a game-winning double against the Rays on Saturday night.
After striking out, grounding into a double play and flying out in his first three at-bats, the 19-year-old came up with two outs and a man on second in the 10th inning against Kyle Farnsworth.
Profar stepped out of the batter's box while facing the veteran pitcher in an attempt to manipulate the situation.
Manager Ron Washington said that it's unusual for a player so young to try that, but Profar, baseball's top prospect, isn't like most players his age.
"When you're talking about Profar, he's special," Washington said. "The game does not scare him. I keep saying it -- it doesn't scare him."
Profar said after the game, with a smile, that he didn't feel any fear.
"That was an experienced move by a young puppy," Washington said. "A talented young puppy."
Cooperstown apparently agrees, having requested the bat Profar used to hit his first Major League homer.
Mental strength behind Hamilton's reversal
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Josh Hamilton of late is day-and-night different from the one the Rangers saw earlier this summer.
Hamilton has crushed four homers in the last seven games and five in the previous 10, a far cry from the combined eight he hit in June and July.
His most recent long ball, his 40th of the season, came on Saturday at Tropicana Field off the Rays' Chris Archer. He is just the fifth player in club history to reach the 40 mark, joining Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
How many could he have had over a full, healthy season?
"He doesn't have a limit," manager Ron Washington said. "Josh is learning how to be a good hitter, even through all the frustrations. ... As his manager, I'm really proud of how he's gotten back focused and how he's stayed that way, and he's having fun again."
Washington said that slumps are a part of the game but added that if Hamilton can stay healthy and focused, "[he] could do some magical stuff."
"If he can stay out of the valley he went in this year -- he went way down in there, he touched the bottom and then climbed his way back out -- if he could go halfway down in that valley and climb back out, you'll certainly see better numbers than he has right now."
Most of the adjustments Hamilton made, according to Washington, were mental. At no point did Hamilton have any physical problems, but once he was dropped to fifth in the lineup for two games, he started being more patient at the plate.
"He slowed everything down," Washington said. "He knows now why he was doing what he was doing, and he's trying not to let it happen again."
September not being kind to Kinsler thus far
ST. PETERSBURG -- It's only been a little more than a week, but September already hasn't been very kind to second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler has gone just 6-for-29 at the plate, including a three-strikeout outing against the Rays on Saturday night. Though the club has an off-day on Monday, manager Ron Washington doesn't believe that Kinsler needs it.
"He's just out of rhythm right now," Washington said. "It happens. You can get out of defensive rhythm, you can get out of rhythm on the basepaths, you can get out of rhythm hitting. Everything is rhythm."
As much as Kinsler has struggled at the dish, his biggest issue may have been illustrated with a defensive matchup in the eighth inning on Saturday. With a shift against him, Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena hit a sharp grounder right at Kinsler, who was playing past the edge of the infield and couldn't handle it.
Washington, a former infielder himself, said that it appeared Kinsler was thinking about throwing the ball instead of handling it.
Even so, Washington maintains his confidence in his 30-year-old veteran.
"This guy's a quality baseball player," he said. "He's going to fight through whatever issues he's having. I know he helps us win more games than he helps us lose."
Reliever Robbie Ross, on the disabled list with a strained left forearm, will throw for the first time on Sunday. He had been scheduled to throw on Thursday or Friday, but he and team physician Keith Meister decided to push back the session a few days.
In back-to-back starts on Friday and Saturday, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish each went eight innings and allowed two runs or fewer and two hits or fewer. Texas pitchers haven't seen such consecutive successes since May 3-4, 1996 (Ken Hill and Roger Pavlik).
The Rangers announced on Sunday that pitcher Miguel De Los Santos, who was placed on waivers on Sept. 6, was claimed by the Brewers.
Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.