Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers received some good news regarding one of their injured players when second baseman Jurickson Profar threw from 45 feet on Tuesday.

This was the week Profar was to start a throwing program after missing the 2014 season with a torn muscle in his shoulder.

“The initial reports were very positive,” assistant general manager Thad Levine said Wednesday. “We’re trying not to get too geeked up on any one throwing session. He’s on pace. We’re expecting him to go into spring training full go offensively and a little bit behind from a position standpoint defensively with the expectation by the end of spring he should be completely full-go.”

At that pace, Profar most likely will start the season at Triple-A, which doesn’t bother the Rangers that much considering they have Rougned Odor as the starting second baseman.

The price to get Corporan: The Rangers wanted a backup catcher for Robinson Chirinos and traded right-handed starter Akeem Bostick to the Houston Astros for Carlos Corporan on Wednesday morning.

Corporan was designated for assignment by Houston on Tuesday so it could proceed with a potential deal with Texas.

It came at a price for Texas.

The Rangers trade a talented pitcher, Bostick, who was a second-round draft pick in the 2013 First Year Player Draft. Bostick, 19, went 5-6 with a 5.17 ERA pitching for Low-A Hickory last season. He pitched into the sixth inning four times last season out of 20 starts.

“He was a player we definitely wanted to retain,” Levine said. “We feel [Houston's] scouts did a very good job of coming up with a guy who wasn’t one of our higher-profile players but who has a high ceiling. Needless to say, in these negotiations we turned down a lot of names that we didn’t want to part with. At some point, our opinion of Corporan and the value he could bring to the organization, we knew we were going to have to give up something.”

Contract extension for Gallardo: When the Rangers made the trade to acquire right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo on Monday, one thing of note was the Fort Worth native enters the final year of his contract. Gallardo is scheduled to make $13 million this season and is open to signing a long-term deal with his hometown team.
"I think that would be even better, to be honest. That would be great,” Gallardo said at a news conference with the local media on Wednesday. “Obviously, that's something to think about, something that I'm open for, but the main thing right now is focus on this year and preparing for the season. If I do what I have to do, I think everything will fall into place the way it should."

The Rangers haven’t opened talks with Gallardo’s agent, Bobby Witt.
The Texas Rangers' allowing infielder Luis Sardinas to go in the Yovani Gallardo trade Monday explains a lot about the franchise's farm system.

It’s deep in the middle infield.

Elvis Andrus (shortstop) and Rougned Odor (second baseman) are mainstays at the major league level; Jurickson Profar, recovering from shoulder surgery, might start the season at Triple-A Round Rock.

A deeper look at the Rangers' farm system reveals at least four middle infielders with the talent to move up the system over time.

It starts with second baseman/shortstop Josh Morgan, who will start in High-A ball this season with the objective of reaching Double-A Frisco. Shortstops Yeyson Yrizarri and Ti'Quan Forbes are due to play rookie ball this season at short, and there’s Travis Demeritte, a second baseman/third baseman at High-A who will also move to Double-A eventually.

So when the Rangers moved Sardinas, it wasn’t met with much sadness.

Morgan, Yrizarri, Forbes and Demeritte are ranked among the top 20 players in the team's farm system by MLB.com.

“This deal was possible because of the depth of our system,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “We've certainly got some guys we were reluctant to include [in a trade]. It doesn’t deplete our system, but addresses a major league need.”

The need was starting pitching, which is what the Rangers did in sending a pair of right-handers along with Sardinas to the Milwaukee Brewers to obtain Gallardo.

One of the things the Rangers have done is stock the farm system with players other teams want.

Daniels isn’t letting any of the top prospects -- such as Joey Gallo, Alex Gonzalez and Jorge Alfaro -- go. Moving Sardinas doesn’t affect what’s left on the farm -- one of the positives of what Daniels did Monday.

Profar scheduled to start throwing today

January, 19, 2015
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Today is supposed to be the start of another comeback for Jurickson Profar.

Again.

[+] EnlargeJurickson Profar
AP Photo/Darron CummingsJurickson Profar is hoping to stay healthy and make an impact on the Rangers this season.
The Texas Rangers second baseman is recovering from a torn muscle in his right throwing shoulder that cost him the entire 2014 season. Profar is expected to throw in front of the Rangers front office and medical staff on Monday and let them know he’s on the road to recovery.

Again.

“No I feel good, the best I felt,” Profar said recently. “Right now I feel very good. It’s not a big deal, it’s just, I know I’m going to make it.”

Profar first injured the shoulder last year playing winter ball and it never got better. It was so bad that he woke up one morning in Surprise, Ariz. and had to text the trainer because of the discomfort.

The Rangers medical staff tried all sorts of methods to help him return in 2014. Flexibility training, weightlifting to build more strength in the shoulder, rest and light throwing all helped in the long-term but not in the short-term.

Profar just needed a year of recovery.

Surgery was an option, but he elected to bypass it and continue the rehab by building strength in the shoulder area, throwing a medicine ball, lifting weights, simulating throwing and resting.

In an offseason that’s been more about players recovering from injuries than about signing free agents or making major trades, Profar is almost at the top of the list of players the Rangers need to see something from.

“I just want to play,” he said. “Last year was a terrible year. I don’t know how I made it, but I did.”

The business of baseball moved on without Profar. He was the projected starting second baseman and his injury enabled Rougned Odor to take the gig.
During the year, Odor produced a slash line of .259/.297/.402 over 114 games and was named the Rangers’ Rookie of the Year.

Profar had to sit and watch and wait it out while he lost his season.

This offseason, there were rumors the Rangers wanted to trade veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus but Profar’s injury prevented that because he wasn’t ready to play. Rangers officials put the rumors to rest with strong statements committing themselves to Andrus. It’s almost silly to mention Profar’s name in trade talks with the man being unable to throw a baseball, and with team officials knowing when spring training starts next month, he’ll be behind the rest of the group.

The last time Profar played full-time was 2013, hitting .234 in 85 games.

“A lot of my teammates tell me it’s hard to come back in the beginning,” Profar said. “It’s the big leagues so you have to prepare yourself, but I’m ready for anything.”

Today it starts.

Matt Harrison progressing from injury

January, 9, 2015
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Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, who is recovering from back surgery, has started playing catch.

Harrison has undergone three surgical procedures in an attempt to pitch again, and playing catch this week is a positive sign. He started just four games in 2014 before undergoing spinal fusion surgery on two disks in his lower back.

GM Jon Daniels said Harrison is on target in his rehab and has received good reports from the medical staff regarding his recovery. Harrison was once one of the more durable pitchers for the Rangers, having started 62 games during a two-year span.

Health issues forced him to start just six games over the last two seasons.

Also, Rangers officials said second baseman Jurickson Profar (torn shoulder muscle) is scheduled to begin a throwing program, starting from 45 feet the week of Jan. 19.

Profar missed the entire 2014 season and had several rehab sessions halted due to shoulder problems.


Jurickson Profar working to get healthy

December, 19, 2014
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DALLAS -- Jurickson Profar, who turns 22 in February, doesn’t want to miss another year of baseball. He just can’t do it.

Profar missed the 2014 season with the Texas Rangers as the flexibility in his shoulders grew unstable. He tried rehab last season and was shut down three times and won’t throw again until next month. There would be times you would see Profar early in the afternoon at the ballpark, before the ushers were in place, fielding ground balls, throwing lightly and talking about how he felt.

[+] EnlargeJurickson Profar
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsJurickson Profar is working hard to be able to play this season for the Rangers.
Rangers President/GM, Jon Daniels said the club rushed Profar back and that it was a mistake. Nobody is rushing him back now.

“We have more time,” Profar said. “We don’t have any baseball to play right now. I’m working hard everyday and I’m feeling good.”

A doctor said surgery would help solve the problem quicker than lifting weights and doing flexibility training.

“I don’t want to do that,” Profar said of the surgery. “I don’t want to lose another year of baseball.”

The Rangers have a surplus of talent in the middle infield at the minor league and big league level. According to Baseball America, the Rangers have two middle infielders, Josh Morgan and Luis Sardinas, listed among the top 10 prospects in the organization.

On the big club, veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus, who has been the subject of trade rumors since the season ended, seems like a logical choice to trade. Though it also seems insane to trade such a talented player.

The Rangers are committed to Andrus playing everyday at short.

(Read full post)

Jurickson Profar doubtful for Opening Day

December, 11, 2014
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SAN DIEGO -- Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Thursday that several injured players' outlooks for spring training looks good, with the possible exception of one: Jurickson Profar.

The injured second baseman had his rehab stints shut down three times last season because of a lack of flexibility in his right shoulder, and now, Daniels said Profar, who is slated to start a throwing program in January, most likely will miss Opening Day.

"Probably not," Daniels said of Profar playing in the opener. "We’re not going to keep him as a utility player, he needs to play. He's missed a season of baseball and he's going to play everyday somewhere."

Profar missed the 2014 season with his shoulder injury and with that lost the starting job to Rougned Odor. Daniels admitted the Rangers made a mistake in Profar's rehab schedule last year.

"We probably were a little aggressive on it," Daniels said. "Looking back on it, being more conservative would have been more prudent."

There are still hopes for Profar, a highly-regarded prospect, to play at some point for the Rangers. Along with left-handed starter Matt Harrison (back), Profar will be behind the other players at his position when spring training starts.

The objective is to allow the rehab process help him get back on the field. If Profar undergoes surgery, he will miss the entire 2015 season, and that's something nobody wants.

"The doctors feel like he's on his way," Daniels said. "He just hasn’t picked up a ball yet but can't say with a certainty but it appears he's on his way to being healthy. "

Harrison hoping to return: Harrison, who has underwent three surgeries in a two-year span, most likely will miss the start of the season too. Daniels said team doctors say Harrison is recovering nicely and doing some rehab work, but he's suffered setbacks in the past himself.

So the Rangers are cautious when it comes to expectations for him.

"He feels great right now, working out and doing all his stuff," Daniels said. "Getting up on a mound, five day routine, spring training, we’ll have a better sense. If he comes back and he’s Matt Harrison (a 200-inning starter), it's a great spot."

Base Hits: Daniels said the club is hopeful it can finalize a deal for a reliever early next week. ... The team signed RHP Anthony Bass, OF Antoan Richardson and RHP Ross Wolf to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training. ...Daniels also said he's open to bringing utility infielder Adam Rosales back to the team.

Daniels: Rangers committed to Elvis Andrus

November, 14, 2014
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There is plenty of trade speculation surrounding Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

Rumors about potential trades to big market clubs in need of a shortstop, such as the New York Yankees, heated up at the just completed GM meetings in Phoenix.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels, fresh of a receiving a three-year contract extension, said the club is committed to Andrus.

"Yeah, there's going to be speculation, that's the nature of the business and the nature of our side of the business and (the media's) side of the business," Daniels said Friday. "Nothing you can really do about that. We are obviously committed to Elvis both figuratively and literally. He's 25, 26 years old, and this guy's best baseball is ahead of him."

Will that stop the potential trade talk?

Here are some factors in play if Andrus were moved:

1. Contract. He starts an eight-year, $120 million contract extension in 2015 and he'll receive $15 million in salary for the next six seasons. Is a team willing to pay that?

2. Prospects/veterans. If the Rangers trade Andrus you want a veteran pitcher and maybe one or two prospects. The pitcher has to be somebody ready to become the No. 3 man in the rotation now and the prospects should be at worst a year away from joining the big club.

3. Replacement. Who would take over at shortstop? Rougned Odor was the starting second baseman in 2014 and the club envisions him at that position only. Jurickson Profar, who missed the season due to shoulder problems, can play short, but there's no guarantee he can return from his health issues. He was shut down twice rehabbing his shoulder, and although he's doing range of motion exercises his status to make the Opening Day roster is uncertain. Luis Sardinas, another shortstop, is a year away from playing in the big leagues.

4. Andrus' poor 2014 season. Andrus had career-lows in batting average (.263) and on-base percentage (.314) and had just 163 hits last season after producing 180 in 2012. Is this the sign of things to come for such a young player?

"He's very much focused, motivated, whatever the word is to put last year behind him and out to prove he's one of the best shortstops in the game, which I believe he is," Daniels said.

Trading Elvis Andrus won't be easy

November, 11, 2014
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PHOENIX -- There was a report from the New York Post talking about the New York Yankees' interest in Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

A rumor came flying last week about the Los Angeles Dodgers shopping Carl Crawford for Andrus.

It’s amazing how many rumors and reports are focusing on Andrus, the 26-year old No. 2 hitter. He’s coming off a bad season where he produced career-lows in batting average (.263) and on-base percentage (.314) and hit into a career-high 21 double plays. After accumulating 180 hits in 2012, Andrus’ numbers dipped the next two seasons, 168 hits in 2013 and 163 last year.

There are positives in Andrus’ game. He still has good range at shortstop, emerged into more of a leader in 2014 and his speed helped him to a career-high 35 doubles. Andrus has said he’s getting in better shape this offseason with the objective to become faster on the base paths so those double plays turn into infield hits and his discipline at the plate will improve so his OBP can reach the .330 range.

Why should the Rangers trade such a player, especially one who is signed through 2022?

"It’s not a secret we have depth there," GM Jon Daniels said at the GM Meetings this week. "It’s an area of strength and we've got some areas we need to upgrade. I think at some point we’ve talked about it for a period of time and maybe it’s an area we consider dealing from."

The Rangers are stocked in the middle infield with Andrus at shortstop and Rougned Odor at second.

(Read full post)

Notes: Trades, Profar and Michael Young

November, 5, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels said the offseason will be spent improving a club that lost 95 games in 2014. Whether that means the club will be active in free agency is uncertain.

Daniels said finding the right trade partners, as always, will be key.

"I think just by nature free agents will cost more money," Daniels said Wednesday after Michael Young was introduced as a special assistant go the GM. "I think we have some areas of depth and have a chance to get some players with a little bit more cost control."

When Daniels goes to Phoenix for the GM meetings next week, making a trade is a much stronger possibility than signing a free agent, at least right now. The cost of signing a free agent, specifically a pitcher, could skyrocket at the top-tier, which includes Jon Lester and Max Scherzer.

"I feel pretty good about our (minor) league system just based on the players we've been asked about, and other teams feel about it the same way," Daniels said. "It's a pretty unique market, there's quite a few pitchers who might be on the market, and that's probably the strength of the marketplace in free agent and trade standpoints. I don't know how quick it will be, but I think we'll be able to address our needs."

Profar progressing: Second baseman Jurickson Profar, who missed the 2014 season with a shoulder injury only to have his rehab shutdown, has begun a range-of-motion routine.

"Arrow is up, reports are good," Daniels said. "See it to believe it, but we've seen it before, but things are good."

Profar was the projected starting second baseman, but injuries derailed him and Rougned Odor took over the job. Until Profar proves he's fully recovered from his shoulder injury, Odor is the starting second baseman for 2015.

Young's impact: One of Young's strengths is his ability to work with younger players at spring training. Young most likely will be in uniform during spring training to mentor some of the young players.

"We got some things he'll definitely be a part of," Daniels said. "But I think over time that will evolve where his impact is more valuable to us, where he's got the greater degree of interest, he wants to give back to the game. And I think at the top of his priority list is to give back to the kids in the system and the coaches in the system and the different ideas there."
We continue our Five Burning Questions for the Texas Rangers' 2015 season by looking at the starting second baseman's job.

The starting second baseman for the Rangers will be Rougned Odor, unless Jurickson Profar rebounds from the shoulder problems that forced him to shut down his rehab this summer.

[+] EnlargeOdor
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsRougned Odor says he welcomes the competition for the starting job in 2015.
Odor wasn’t supposed to be the starting second baseman, but Profar's shoulder injury has delayed his development.

Odor said he welcomes the competition for the starting job in 2015. Profar said he wasn't too concerned with his setback in his recovery from his shoulder problems. He said rehab should strengthen the area of the shoulder that's affected the most. If it doesn't work, surgery is a possibility though there are no guarantees it will solve the problem.

If you compare the two players, Odor’s 114 games played this season and the 94 total games Profar has played over two seasons, the numbers are similar.

Numbers aside, Odor seems like the better player.

Odor’s slash line of .259/.297/.402 is impressive for a rookie who wasn’t supposed to be with the big club in 2014. Odor also displayed a little more power than what the club thought he had, hitting nine home runs last season.

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Report card: Grading the 2014 Rangers

October, 6, 2014
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The Texas Rangers went 67-95 in 2014, but they did at least finish on a high note by winning 13 of their last 16 games. With the season over, it's time to hand out report cards for each player. Feel free to visit the comments section and give your favorite Rangers a grade.

Without further ado:

Robinson Chirinos, C: He found a spot on the roster because of Geovany Soto's injury woes and started 88 games. Now, he's the projected Opening Day starter for 2015. GRADE: C

Prince Fielder, 1B: The Rangers' big offseason acquisition lasted just 42 games and 150 at-bats before he had neck surgery that sidelined him for the rest of the year. He had been a very durable player up until now, but is this beginning the of a decline? His RBI, home run and slugging numbers have dipped in each of the past five seasons. GRADE: INC

[+] EnlargeRougned Odor
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezRougned Odor may have earned himself a permanent spot at second base in 2015.
Rougned Odor, 2B: Took over the second-base job and finished with a slash line of .259/.297/.402 in 114 games played. He showed some pop with nine homers in 386 at-bats, and, despite some growing pains on defense, he got better as the season progressed. GRADE: B

Elvis Andrus, SS: His overall numbers took a hit across the board. He scored 19 fewer runs than in the previous season and had five fewer hits, 26 fewer RBIs and 15 fewer stolen bases while hitting just .263 with two home runs. He hit into 21 double plays, tied for eighth most in the baseball. He did increase his doubles from 17 to 35. GRADE: C

Adrian Beltre, 3B: The team MVP led the Rangers in hits (178), batting average (.324), home runs (19) and runs batted in (77). He was forced to the carry the load on offense, but he could get some relief next season if Fielder can return to form. GRADE: A

Shin-Soo Choo, OF: He battled ankle and elbow injuries all season and said he probably should have taken more time off to heal the ankle. He hit .255 as the leadoff man and most will likely move down in the order in 2015. Choo could also shift from left field to right. GRADE: C

Leonys Martin, OF: Improved defensively in center field as the season moved along and is likely to be the leadoff man next season after logging 151 at-bats in the spot this year. His 31 stolen bases tied for ninth in MLB. GRADE: B

[+] EnlargeRios
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsThe Rangers don't seem likely to pick up Alex Rios' option for next season.
Alex Rios, OF: Hit .224 in his last 66 games and battled ankle and thumb issues in the second half. The Rangers have a $13 million club option they are not likely to pick up. GRADE: D

Mitch Moreland, 1B/DH: He lasted only 52 games before left ankle surgery ended his season. In 2013, he had 23 home runs and 202 total bases. The Rangers need more of that in 2015 if Moreland can return healthy. GRADE: INC

Michael Choice, OF: A strong spring training didn't carry over into the regular season for Choice, who was demoted to Triple-A. He returned to the majors but didn't show much improvement. GRADE: D

J.P. Arencibia, C/1B: He was supposed to be the No. 2 catcher, but he hit just .177 and battled health issues and inconsistency. He had a hot stretch in the second half, during which he led the majors in homers and RBIs over a short period, but he is unlikely to be back. GRADE: D

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ARLINGTON, Texas – Jurickson Profar, who hasn’t played this season because of shoulder surgery and had his rehab shut down last week, doesn’t use the word disappointment or frustrated when it comes to his health.

Profar underwent a platelet rich plasma injection in the shoulder with the hopes of strengthening it. He’s not going to have surgery because there’s no guarantee that will work either, so rehab and the injection will do for now.

“It is what it is,” Profar said. “You just have to work and get that thing right, that’s it. I will never be frustrated. That’s not who I am.”

Profar was examined by three doctors last week, including Texas Rangers team doctor Keith Meister, and all advised the young second baseman to rehab the injury. If the rehab doesn’t work, surgery is a possibility.

Profar’s plans to participate in winter ball are over now, thanks to this setback, so the only thing he’ll prepare for is spring training in 2015.

As for his plan?

“Just to get the shoulder stronger and concentrate on a lot more things,” he said.

Bogar doesn’t want to see celebration: The Oakland Athletics are tied with the Kansas City Royals for the top AL wild-card spot with the Seattle Mariners three games behind. The Mariners have to win out and have the Athletics or Royals lose their remaining four games to reach the postseason.

So, Oakland most likely will clinch a playoff berth at Globe Life Park.

“It’s never fun to watch,” interim manager Tim Bogar said. “I don’t want it to happen, but if it does happen I hope these young guys stay out there and watch it because that’s what I want us to be doing someday.”

Base Hits: OF Jim Adduci (concussion) was scheduled to take batting practice Thursday. If that goes well, he could play this weekend. … The voice of the Rangers, Eric Nadel will miss games Thursday and Friday and return for the final two games of the season. … Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine said pitchers Martin Perez (Tommy John surgery) and Matt Harrison will start throwing programs in mid-November.

Pregame notes: Profar's rehab shut down

September, 23, 2014
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ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers have shut down projected starting second baseman Jurickson Profar from throwing after three doctors confirmed he’s got instability in his right shoulder.

Profar, who has not played this season, visited with Rangers team physician Keith Meister, Dodgers team doctor Neal ElAttrache and renowned orthopedic surgery James Andrews.

When Profar returns is uncertain. Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels said that Profar will undergo a MRI exam at some point in the near future.

“It’s not like a cut-and-dry deal that any type of surgery solves the problem,” Daniels said Tuesday before the Rangers faced the Houston Astros. “Jurickson’s preference, and we support him in that, is to put all of his efforts into rehabbing the shoulder and looking to strengthen all of the muscles around the shoulder to stabilize it.”

Daniels said doctors haven’t broached the subject that this latest setback could be career-threatening, however, there isn’t any known position player to endure this type of problem.

Profar is on the 60-day DL because of surgery to repair a torn teres major muscle. He started a throwing program last month, and just before the Rangers left for a West Coast trip on Sept. 15 was throwing from 90 feet.

Now his status for 2015 in unclear, and it gives current starting second baseman Rougned Odor the upper hand as the starter for next season.

“I feel for him,” Daniels said of Profar. “More than anything, I’m frustrated from a club standpoint that we haven’t been able to get him to where he needs to be. That’s not a good feeling. But my bigger concern is having a 21-year old kid that has a bright future and a ton of talent, [that] it’s been a lost season. That’s not a good feeling."

Base hits: CF Leonys Martin is sitting out Tuesday’s game because of a bruised right shin suffered when he fouled a pitch off his leg late in Monday’s game. … OF Jim Adduci (concussion) has been cleared to play but most likely won’t play the field until the weekend. … 2B Guilder Rodriguez, who had his first big league hits of his career Monday night, was back in the lineup batting ninth and playing second.

Rangers react to losing Yu Darvish

August, 13, 2014
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Yu Darvish AP Photo/Brandon WadeThe Rangers hope Yu Darvish misses only a couple starts; Thursday's MRI may decide.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The news is quite stunning, but the Texas Rangers almost have a calmness about them right now.

The reaction to losing ace Yu Darvish to right-elbow inflammation Wednesday, the eve of a scheduled start, was just another head-shaking moment.

“You don’t get numb to that, when you get news like that,” manager Ron Washington said after the Rangers’ 10-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. “You see who else is available and keep moving on, that’s all you can do.”

Even Darvish seemed pretty calm. He walked through the clubhouse Wednesday night carrying what seemed like a heavy box.

He will undergo an MRI on Thursday, and the Rangers are hoping the results are such that he will miss just two starts and possibly return for a late-August turn in Seattle.

The Rangers have used a club-record 34 pitchers this season, and when they inserted Alex Claudio into the eighth inning Wednesday, the left-handed reliever became the 17th rookie to see the field. That leads the majors.

Washington has seen 24 players go on the DL and currently has 14 sitting there, which also leads the majors.

“It’s nothing new,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “That’s what’s been going on with this team. It sucks that happened to [Darvish]. I don’t think any kind of news is new for us.”

With injuries come young and inexperienced players. Some, who probably need more seasoning in the minors or are journeymen, get significant playing time.

The Rangers have used 56 players this season, a league high and most in franchise history.

The ups and downs started for this clubhouse when lefty starter Derek Holland suffered a knee injury while tripping over his dog and continued with surgeries for Mitch Moreland, Prince Fielder and Jurickson Profar.

Good news around here qualifies as seeing players begin rehab outings, such as Holland, scheduled to pitch Thursday at Triple-A Round Rock -- or Profar, who was fielding grounders at second base three hours before Wednesday's first pitch.

“I’ve been in that boat many times, and we just got to have to chalk it up to just a year of injuries,” said starter Colby Lewis, who has returned from hip and arm surgeries to pitch this season. “You know it sucks. You never think of this many guys going down in one year. But it happens and you got to deal with what we got -- and hopefully a lot of guys get healthy in the offseason and rehab in the offseason and be ready for spring training.”

With Darvish landing on that list, the Rangers keeping their sanity could rest on the hope that he misses just two starts and continues his season.

“It’s just been experience, really,” Washington said. “You take it on and you know for the most part this isn’t something that’s normal. So you deal with it and it’s been a necessity to make the moves we had to make with that pitching staff -- and we’ll continue to do that until there’s no more baseball to be played.”
ARLINGTON, Texas -- In another step in his recovery, projected starting second baseman Jurickson Profar started fielding grounders at Globe Life Park on Wednesday afternoon before his Texas Rangers faced the Tampa Bay Rays. Profar, who has missed the season because of right shoulder surgery, isn't throwing yet but has been cleared to start a program in a few weeks.

“He’s not doing any throwing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s able to get out there and start catching ground balls, and everything he does is underhand.”

The Rangers' plans for Profar is to have him participate in the instructional league and then move to the Arizona Fall League. Profar will not play winter ball.

“Just simulate double plays,” Washington said of Profar’s work Wednesday. “It gets some stuff working a little bit, gets his legs in some type of shape, and (he'll) start a throwing program (eventually).”

Rios back in the lineup: RF Alex Rios returned to the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since aggravating a right ankle injury on a slide into home plate Sunday in Houston.

Rios, who originally hurt the ankle July 19, pinch hit in the 13th inning of Tuesday’s 14-inning win over the Rays.

“He’s day-to-day,” Washington said, “and we’ll see what he can handle.”

The plan for now is to split DH duties between Rios and Shin-Soo Choo, who also is dealing with a sprained ankle. Washington will rotate Daniel Robertson and Jim Adduci in left field. He can also use Mike Carp in left, but Carp will be used mainly at first base, where he's started the last two games.

Rios, 33, cleared waivers last week and could still be moved before the August 31 waiver trade deadline passes. Rios is hitting .293 with four home runs and 16 stolen bases through 112 games this season.

Rotation altered: Washington said after RHP Nick Martinez pitches Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, he will be skipped a start. The Rangers have two days off next week sandwiched around a two-game set against the Miami Marlins.

Washington wants to keep Yu Darvish on his regular four days of rest schedule. So after Darvish pitches Thursday against the Rays, he’ll face the Marlins on August 19 and the Kansas City Royals on August 24.

The Rangers’ starters for the weekend series against the Angels are Martinez on Friday night, Colby Lewis on Saturday and Nick Tepesch for Sunday. After Martinez's start on Friday, he's tentatively scheduled to pitch at Seattle on August 27.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182