8/12/2013 2:38 P.M. ET
Profar could be catalyst for Texas down stretch
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- What was the Rangers' problem in 2012?
"The stretch run killed us," manager Ron Washington said.
The success on the Rangers' current road trip, which concluded on Monday, suggests Texas is in better shape to withstand the rigors of this stretch run. Jurickson Profar may be the difference.
Profar started at second base on Monday as he continued his rotation around the infield. Ian Kinsler started at designated hitter as Washington continued his rotation of using his starting infielders -- Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre -- in that role. Profar's adjustment to handling the different positions has made Washington more comfortable about getting his starters time at DH.
"They get a chance to get off their feet, and it's even more beneficial because Profar is doing the job," Washington said. "When we kept him, we did so because we felt he had earned credibility in the clubhouse and could help us win games. That allows the other players to get off their feet and still be in the ballgame. We look refreshed down the stretch."
Profar has made highlight-worthy plays at three positions on this trip. He played shortstop on Sunday and made a terrific backhanded play on Brett Wallace's seventh-inning grounder. Switching positions regularly has not bothered Profar.
"You just catch the ball and throw it," Profar said. "It's all the same thing."
Offensively, he went into Monday's game hitting .266 in his past 18 games, including a two-run single in the ninth inning on Sunday. It's not a meteoric rise, but still impressive considering Profar has to play multiple positions.
"That's his job, and he's doing it," Washington said.
The Rangers have been able to rotate designated hitters, because Lance Berkman has been on the disabled list since July 7. He could come off on Friday, so Washington may not be able to use his infielders in that role as much.
"We'll deal with that when Berkman comes back," Washington said.
When Berkman was active, Washington got Profar playing time by using him in left field. That's not going to happen anymore this season. The skipper watched Profar enough in left and decided he's not ready to play out there.
"Maybe we'll start that trial in Spring Training next year and allow him to make mistakes," Washington said. "We can't afford to do it now."
Feliz shut down for now; Berkman feels OK
HOUSTON -- Pitcher Neftali Feliz has been temporarily shut down on his rehabilitation assignment because of inflammation in his right triceps. Feliz, who underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1, 2012, had pitched in three games on his assignment.
The 25-year-old was supposed to pitch on Saturday, but he was scratched because of the inflammation. He tried to warm up and pitch the ninth inning on Sunday, but couldn't get loose. He is listed as day to day.
Lance Berkman, who is on the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip, played on Sunday and went 1-for-4 in his second game. He is 3-for-7 in two games since joining Triple-A Round Rock.
"I feel OK," Berkman told the Austin American-Statesman. "All my physical ailments can be managed, and my swing feels pretty good. That's the main thing right now is to just get back in the batter's box and see some pitches and try to get back in a rhythm at the plate."
Utilityman Rosales reclaimed by Rangers
HOUSTON -- The Rangers, having traded infielder Leury Garcia to the White Sox and acquired outfielder Alex Rios in return, have reclaimed infielder Adam Rosales off waivers from the Athletics on Monday.
The Rangers originally claimed Rosales from the A's on Aug. 2 during the first three games of the current road trip. He was in uniform for three games against the Athletics, but did not play. Texas then designated him for assignment last Monday when Nelson Cruz accepted his 50-game suspension. At the time, the Rangers felt they needed extra outfielders, so they called up Joey Butler and Engel Beltre from Triple-A Round Rock.
The Athletics claimed him on Thursday, and he played in one game for them on Friday as a pinch-runner and shortstop. He was designated for assignment on Saturday. That same day, the Rangers sent Butler back to Triple-A, leaving Beltre on the roster as a reserve left-handed-hitting outfielder.
The Rangers decided they needed another utility infielder instead, especially since they don't have an obvious one in the Minor Leagues who can be called up in September. Beltre will be sent down on Tuesday, when Rosales is added to the roster.
"Adam is a quality big league infielder," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We've always liked the way he goes about the game and the energy he brings. As our circumstances have changed over the past week or so, it changed our ability to carry him. We're glad to get a second chance at it."
Rosales played in 51 games for the Athletics this season and was hitting .191 with four home runs and eight RBIs. He can play all four infield spots and left field if needed.
Rangers want to get Baker playing time at first
HOUSTON -- Jeff Baker was in the lineup against the Astros at first base on Monday for the third time in four games with a left-hander -- Brett Oberholtzer -- on the mound. Baker and Mitch Moreland could end up in a platoon situation down the stretch.
"I have to play Baker somewhere against left-handers," manager Ron Washington said.
Baker went into Monday's game hitting .361 with a .444 on-base percentage and an .836 slugging percentage against left-handers. He also had eight home runs in 61 at-bats against them. Moreland was hitting .245 with two home runs, a .298 on-base percentage and a .409 slugging percentage against southpaws.
Baker also went into Monday's game 5-for-17 (.294) against left-handers since coming off the disabled list on July 19. He missed a month with a sprained right thumb.
"When you're out for that long, you can't replicate game situations and game at-bats," Baker said. "I'm 100 percent healthy. It's just a matter of getting my timing back and going out there and competing."
Odor's rise makes Garcia expendable
HOUSTON -- The emergence of infielder Rougned Odor allowed the Rangers to send Leury Garcia to the White Sox for Alex Rios.
Odor, signed two years ago out of Venezuela, is only 19, but he was promoted to Double-A Frisco a couple of weeks ago and is hitting .326 (14-for-43) with four doubles and three home runs in 10 games for the RoughRiders. He was promoted from Class A Myrtle Beach, where he was hitting .303 with 33 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 58 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in 99 games.
He's the No. 3-ranked prospect in the Rangers' farm system behind catcher Jorge Alfaro and infielder Luis Sardinas, according to MLB.com. But with Jurickson Profar in the big leagues and Mike Olt having been traded to the Cubs, some Rangers officials believe Odor is the top position-player prospect in the farm system. He was brought up by other clubs in multiple trade talks, including by the Cubs during the Matt Garza discussions.
Garcia had split the season between Triple-A Round Rock and the Rangers, hitting .192 in 25 games at the big league level and .264 in the Minors. But he emerged as a top prospect last season after hitting .292 with 31 stolen bases at Frisco.
"Leury is a big league player," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's got a unique skill set you just don't see very much -- plus run, plus arm, switch-hit, and can play shortstop, second base and center field. Given our depth in those spots, he's probably got a better opportunity now with Chicago, and I wish him well. A great job by our international program."
• The Rangers will honor manager Ron Washington before Tuesday's game with the Brewers. During the current road trip, he passed Bobby Valentine for the most victories by a Rangers manager.
• Adrian Beltre went into Monday's finale against the Astros with four multihit games in five days. He has 45 multihit games this season, second most in the league behind the Angels' Mike Trout with 46. He was also second in the American League with 149 hits, one behind the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.
• Alex Rios recorded his first outfield assist for the Rangers on Sunday. He has nine for the season, one behind the league leaders.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.