8/8/2014 8:54 P.M. ET
Soto activated, back in lineup at catcher
By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Geovany Soto was activated from the 15-day disabled list and was in the starting lineup at catcher on Friday, batting seventh against the Astros. To make room for Soto on the Rangers' active roster, right-hander Jerome Williams, who began the season with Houston, was designated for assignment.
Soto has played sparingly this season. He sustained a torn lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee in Spring Training, and strained his right groin on July 21 running the bases at Yankee Stadium.
Robinson Chirinos has started a team-high 65 games at catcher for the Rangers. Chirinos is hitting .333 in his last six games to raise his batting average from .227 to .237 with 11 home runs. In limited action, Soto is hitting .364.
When addressing the catching situation, Rangers manager Ron Washington said, "Let's let it play out. Soto in there tonight, he'll catch [Yu] Darvish tomorrow, he won't play on Sunday, and then we'll see where it goes.
"Let's see where he is before I say what's going to happen. But Robinson Chirinos will catch. Robinson Chirinos has earned where he is."
Soto has not played for the Rangers since suffering the groin injury. He had a successful five-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .375 (6-for-16) with one home run and two RBIs, starting four games at catcher and one as the designated hitter.
Williams struggled in his two starts for Texas after his contract was purchased from Round Rock on July 25. Williams, who was 1-1 with a 9.90 ERA, allowed 10 runs and 13 hits in a 12-2 loss at Cleveland in his last outing on Aug. 1. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release, or outright Williams to the Minor Leagues.
Rios sits with sprained ankle, but is available
HOUSTON -- Rangers right fielder Alex Rios will be out of the lineup a couple of days with a sprained right ankle that's been troubling him. But he is available to play in the three-game series at Houston, which started on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
"I can play on it, but I would rather take a couple of days," said Rios. "We decided to give it a rest to make it feel better, make it 100 percent. I would rather give it a little rest and be 100 percent.
"By Sunday, I'm going to be in the lineup. No matter what. If they need me at any point, I'm available. I'm not going to be out completely."
Shin-Soo Choo started in right field on Friday for the Rangers.
Rios, who leads the American League with eight triples, said that there is some pain in the ankle. Rios missed three games from July 20-22 with a sprained right ankle sustained on July 19 at Toronto.
The Rangers were off Thursday after winning the final two games at Chicago against the White Sox.
"We felt like we needed to give him a break," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "He's available to hit for me tonight. And if we need him to play defense, he can do that."
Smolinski in walking boot with small ankle fracture
HOUSTON -- Rangers outfielder Jake Smolinski, who is on the disabled list, is in a walking boot and is expected to be in it for the next two to three weeks, according to Rangers officials.
Smolinski has a small fracture of the left ankle and will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks. Smolinski will not come off the DL when he is eligible on Wednesday when the team is hosting Tampa Bay. His return should be late August or early September.
Smolinaski has made eight starts in left field, one in right field and one as designated hitter. Daniel Robertson made the start in left field for the Rangers on Friday against Houston.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.