Buzz: Mike Olt to play mostly 1B and DH

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
5:39
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Mike Olt was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the supplemental round of the 2010 draft, C.J. Wilson was a critical piece that helped the Rangers reach their first World Series. Just two years later, Olt will make his major league debut against Wilson in Thursday's series finale with the Los Angeles Angels.

"It was great to walk in here and see the jersey," Olt said. "It's definitely very exciting to be a part of this team. I'm excited for what's to come."

Olt was called up from Double-A Frisco -- where he hit .288 with 28 home runs, 17 doubles and 82 RBIs in 95 games -- and was immediately put into the lineup at first base with the left-handed Wilson on the mound for the Angels.

Texas manager Ron Washington said he will play Olt mainly against lefties at first base or designated hitter, but he also will give him opportunities to play third and face right-handers on days that Adrian Beltre serves as the DH. Olt doesn't have a ton of experience at first base but has progressed at the position since the start of the season.

"I saw him in spring training and I thought he handled it well," Washington said. "I certainly told him he's going to have to work because he's going to be out of his natural position more than he'll be in his natural position. He's a good kid and he works. We'll just see what he can do for us."

The power-hitting righty said he's been working hard on making the adjustment to first base, and he has seen himself make big improvements.

"I feel more comfortable over there," Olt said. "The footwork is there, and that helps me just kind of relax."

Olt has the ability to play in the outfield, as well, but Washington said that would only be in emergency situations.

"We know that he can do that," Washington said. "But I think we have the outfield covered."

There's been excitement in the Rangers' fan base surrounding Olt for a while now. It's going to be an anxious moment for the fans in attendance Thursday to see how Olt does in his big league debut. Everyone wants and hopes he can provide a big spark for the Rangers, but Washington wants to wait and see what happens before anointing Olt as a game-changer.

"He's a kid that just came from Double-A," Washington said. "We've got to see what he can do. We'll make adjustments depending on his progress. I'm going on reports that people tell me. I want to see it with my eyes because I believe my instincts."

Washington will have a front row seat to see what Olt is made of Thursday. As for Olt, he just wants to do the best he can.

"I just want to come in here and contribute," Olt said. "I want to come in here and get comfortable. Once I get comfortable, I feel like I can keep doing what I've been doing."

Other notes:

* Following Wednesday's thrilling comeback win in extra innings, the Rangers' clubhouse was visibly upbeat. Some players admitted it was an energy boost, but they don't think that will give them an advantage heading into Thursday's game.

* Ian Kinsler noted that going against a former teammate and friend in Wilson in Thursday's series finale get some of the guys a little more amped up.

"Maybe a little bit," Kinsler said. "Competitively, just knowing who he is and wanting that bragging right or whatever you want to call it. It's always fun to go against someone you know."

* It was announced earlier this week that Roy Oswalt would be moving to the bullpen. The veteran will be available tonight after starting Monday.

* Mark Lowe will make his third rehab outing with Frisco tonight. Lowe hopes to bounce back after a disappointing appearance Monday when he gave up three runs on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts in one inning of work. Lowe has given up a home run in each of his two previous rehab outings.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
4 1.42 23 38
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rios .318
HRS. Choo 2
RBIA. Rios 11
RE. Andrus 14
OPSS. Choo .932
ERAM. Perez 1.42
SOY. Darvish 29