4/29/2014 12:32 A.M. ET
Fielder's first month underwhelming
By Dave Sessions / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The first month of the 2014 season has not been kind to Prince Fielder. Including Opening Day in March, his first month as a Ranger has been one of the least productive of Fielder's career since he became an everyday player in 2006.
His .209 batting average entering Monday was the second-worst monthly average he's had, barely behind the .208 mark he put up in June 2006. Fielder's .330 slugging percentage was his lowest ever in a single month; his total of eight RBIs is the second-fewest he has had in a month; and his total of two home runs in March/April was tied for the fewest he's had in a month.
Manager Ron Washington reiterated his mid-April opinion on Fielder's slow start, saying the slugger the Rangers acquired in the offseason is struggling with his timing.
"Sometimes it takes awhile," Washington said. "It's a matter of time. Timing, and it's a matter of time. I don't lack confidence in Prince Fielder one iota. I don't care about average, I don't care about two home runs … we play six months. If we knew, we'd have fixed it by now. You've just got to wait. I've got patience, so I'm going to wait."
Holland still working on leg strength
ARLINGTON -- Still recovering from offseason knee surgery, Rangers lefty Derek Holland was back in uniform Monday at Globe Life Park, working on the strength in his left leg with some drills at first base.
Manager Ron Washington tossed grounders to Holland, who threw live batting practice for the first time this season in Arizona on Saturday.
"We're just working on the range of motion, trying to get the leg going," Holland said. "Obviously I've been doing everything running-wise, it's just more of a strength issue, making sure I stay low, bending it, pushing off of it. That's what we were trying to do."
Holland will throw a bullpen session in Arlington on Tuesday, then head for Arizona to pitch to hitters again Friday. After that, Holland will need to go on a rehab assignment and make a few starts. There is no set timetable for his return, Holland said, and he acknowledged that though his arm is 100 percent, his leg is more like 80. It will likely be late June or early July before he returns.
"I definitely feel like I'm getting closer, but I know right now if I was to ask to go play, it wouldn't happen," Holland said. "My leg's not as strong as I want it to be, so that's the big thing, we're just trying to get stronger. … I'm frustrated because I want to be out there right now. But you've got to be patient, that's probably the hardest thing about it."
Choo pinch-hits in opener against A's
ARLINGTON -- Shin-Soo Choo, who had missed five games with a sprained left ankle, pinch-hit in the top of the ninth in Monday night's 4-0 loss to the A's.
Choo hurt himself stepping on first base while trying to beat out a ground ball against Oakland on April 21. He made it through pregame activities with no problems Monday and said he was ready to go.
"I can't imagine, six days ago, the first time I hurt it I thought, [I'll be out] at least two weeks," Choo said. "But every day feels much better. … I'm not ready 100 percent, but in this game nobody plays 100 percent."
While Choo was out, Michael Choice took over his spot at the top of the lineup and in left field. Choice hit .200 in the five games before Monday, going 4-for-20 with five RBIs, one in each game. He drove in the game-winning run in the first of those five starts.
"I think everybody that was asked to step up, stepped up," manager Ron Washington said of the Rangers' success during Choo's absence.
• Alex Rios was hitting .330, seventh in the American League, entering Monday's game. In the previous 10 games, Rios hit .405 (17-for-42) with three doubles, a triple and four RBIs. Rios leads the Rangers in doubles (7), total bases (45) and RBIs (tied with 11). He has hits in 12 of the past 13 games.
• Washington said he's still committed to using Alexi Ogando and lefty Neal Cotts as his setup men in the bullpen, even though they have struggled recently. Cotts blew a save and took the loss against the Mariners, while Ogando had a blown save and lost Sunday.
"I'm not running away from those guys," Washington said. "That's why they're as good as they are, because we have confidence in them."
Washington added that Jason Frasor might get some extra work late in games if Cotts and Ogando continue to have difficulty.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.