Texas Rangers: Leury Garcia

Garcia is player to be named later

August, 11, 2013
8/11/13
3:02
PM CT
HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers made it official during the eighth inning of Sunday's game in Houston -- Triple-A Round Rock infielder Leury Garcia is the player to be named later in the Alex Rios deal.

The Astros didn't put in a claim on Garcia, so he was awarded to the Chicago White Sox to complete Friday's trade.

Rios, who played in his first game for Texas on Saturday night, has RBI hits in each of his first two games.

Price was right for Alex Rios

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
2:35
PM CT


The Texas Rangers got a bat Friday, and they got it at a discount. It's a great move by general manager Jon Daniels and his staff, who picked up some offensive help at the price of a player to be named later, likely Leury Garcia, according to reports.

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ESPN Dallas' Todd Wills joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to react to the Rangers' trade for Alex Rios and discuss how it impacts the team down the stretch.

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Alex Rios is now a Ranger. The right-handed-hitting outfielder from the White Sox has a .277 average. He's not the power hitter that Nelson Cruz is, but he has a solid track record at the plate and has added 26 stolen bases this season. The Rangers, who have done a nice job this week of attacking more on the bases and becoming more versatile on offense, get a guy who can fit right into that pattern.

Reports had the White Sox asking for two of the Rangers' top prospects back near July 31. Some reports said those two were Martin Perez and Luke Jackson, a ridiculous price for Rios. The Rangers, rightly, said no. But once the White Sox put Rios on waivers, the Rangers put in a claim and -- as the team with the worst record of those that put in the claim -- got the right to negotiate with the White Sox for 72 hours on a deal.

Chicago must have decided it didn't want Rios' long-term salary on the books and chose to at least get a player back in the process. Garcia showed he could play multiple positions and certainly has upside, but it's a deal that makes great sense for the Rangers to get an outfielder who isn't a rental.

With Cruz, who is suspended for the remainder of the regular season, and David Murphy set to be free agents at the end of the season, the Rangers are able to address an immediate need and think big-picture. Rios can slide right into an outfield spot next season, and the club has an option for 2015. A trade clause in his contract boosted his 2014 and 2015 salary, as well as the 2015 buyout, so he is owed $13 million next season and the remaining portion of his $12 million salary this season with a $2 million buyout for 2015. Still, I like this deal.

One scout described Rios as a 5-tool player, but with inconsistent use of those tools. He doesn't have the power of Cruz, but he does have speed and should be highly motivated coming to a winner in the midst of a pennant race. Yes, he isn't hitting home runs lately. But he's still getting hits and driving in some runs. Rios is not a guy you'll find working counts deep. But we've seen manager Ron Washington do a terrific job in finding the strengths of his players and utilizing them. He'll get the most that he can out of Rios. And it won't hurt to have former teammate A.J. Pierzynski in the Rangers' clubhouse too.

With Cruz out, I like this move. Do you?

Buzz: Magadan still confident in his guys

June, 15, 2013
6/15/13
2:37
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan said Saturday that he has confidence in all of his hitters and that he expects the club's beleaguered offense to get going.

The Rangers have scored five runs in four games. They had been held scoreless for 16 innings since Nelson Cruz's solo home run in the second inning on Thursday night entering Saturday's game against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Rangers have gone 13 straight games with 10 or fewer hits, the longest streak for the club since 15 in a row in 1988. They are batting .167 with runners in scoring position.

It's gotten that bad.

"It's definitely a bump in the road," Magadan said. "Everyone goes through it. We have to keep it at a minimum."

The Rangers can start by putting some hits together. They have had back-to-back hits once in each of the past three games. Twice the first hit has been a solo home run. The last time the Rangers had consecutive hits when one wasn't a home run was in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Cleveland when Leonys Martin had a single and Jurickson Profar a double in the bottom of the eighth.

The last time they had three straight hits was in the top of the fifth of Sunday's 6-4 victory at Toronto.

"It's a matter of stringing some good at-bats together," Magadan said. "We haven't done that the last week, week and a half."

Magadan said the solution to the Rangers' woes is simple -- stay selective and, as a hitter, swing at your pitch.

"It begins and ends with getting good pitches to hit," Magadan said. "We have to be ready the first pitch or the fifth pitch. If it's the first pitch, you have to be ready to hit it."

Leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, who was batting .302 before a rib cage injury sidelined him on May 19, returned to the lineup Saturday. First baseman Mitch Moreland, who has 12 home runs, is on schedule to return Friday in St. Louis.

The reinforcements will help, Magadan said, but this needs to be a group effort.

"We can't depend on one of those guys to get us out of this," Magadan said. "It has to be a concerted effort on everyone's part."

Moreland ready: First baseman Moreland ran the bases for the first time as he gets closer to coming off the 15-day disabled list on Friday in St. Louis.

Moreland, rehabbing a strained right hamstring, will begin a rehab assignment soon.

"I'm ready to go," Moreland said.

Baker won't need DL: Rangers manager Ron Washington said Jeff Baker won't need to go on the 15-day disabled list for his sprained right thumb.

Baker suffered the injury during a poorly executed high five during Thursday's pregame ceremonies. The Rangers had a sign posted in their dugout Saturday that "no pre-game hand shakes today."

McGuiness new to knuckler: Rangers first baseman Chris McGuiness has never faced a knuckleball pitcher in a game, so he said he had a plan for his first at-bat Saturday against Toronto's R.A. Dickey.

"See one for sure," McGuiness said.

Garcia needs to play: Washington said that utilityman Leury Garcia will benefit from getting to play every day at Triple-A Round Rock. He was the odd man out with Profar staying on the team after Ian Kinsler was activated.

"Leury needs to play," Washington said. "His game has been going backwards."

Lineups: Jurickson Profar gets night off

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
5:18
PM CT

Texas Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar is not in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Cleveland Indians. Leury Garcia is starting at second in his place and batting ninth. Chris McGuiness is playing first base and Craig Gentry is manning center field. Here are the lineups:

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RANGERS
SS Elvis Andrus
LF David Murphy
DH Lance Berkman
3B Adrian Beltre
C A.J. Pierzynski
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Chris McGuiness
CF Craig Gentry
2B Leury Garcia

INDIANS
CF Drew Stubbs
2B Jason Kipnis
1B Nick Swisher
RF Ryan Raburn
DH Carlos Santana
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Michael Brantley
C Yan Gomes
SS Mike Aviles

How might Cruz situation affect Profar?

June, 5, 2013
6/05/13
12:45
PM CT


The ESPN "Outside the Lines" story about MLB and possible suspensions has certainly sent shockwaves throughout the baseball world. What does it mean for Nelson Cruz? Well, we'll see.

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Randy Galloway says that it's in Nelson Cruz's best interest to waive his appeal and start serving any possible suspension as soon as it comes down.

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The report says MLB is getting cooperation from the owner of the Miami-area clinic where performance-enhancing drugs were allegedly sold to a bunch of players. Cruz, whose name has been mentioned in the report, could face a 50-game suspension for a first offense. When that might happen is another question because appeals could drag things out, so this might not be something that happens as soon as you would think.

ESPN.com's Pedro Gomez told "Fitzsimmons and Durrett" on Wednesday that the likely timeline is that an appeal could take six to eight weeks. If suspensions are handed out in the next two weeks or so, it could be late August before a suspension takes effect, following any appeals.

If that's the case, the Rangers would have an interesting decision to make on Jurickson Profar. The immediate call of whether to send him to Triple-A Round Rock or leave him here is still on the table. And as we've discussed, there are a variety of options the club could consider. But depending on what happens with Cruz, here are a few options for the Rangers (in no particular order):

  • Send Profar to Triple-A Round Rock when Ian Kinsler returns and have Profar learn to play the outfield. Who knows how long it might be until -- or even whether -- this suspension occurs? In the meantime, have Profar learn the position in the minors and then come up and get in the mix when Cruz is out.

  • Move Jeff Baker to right field and play him in most of the games. If the club wants to keep Profar up here (and, as you know, I'm all for keeping him in the big leagues), the team could send Leury Garcia to the minors and keep Profar as the utility guy. It would allow Profar to get more at-bats depending on how you shift with the open spot in right field.

  • Move Mitch Moreland to right field and play Kinsler at first with Profar sliding to second base. Could Kinsler adjust to first base quicker than he could the outfield? I think so. And it would create chances for Profar. The Rangers would have to decide whether Moreland was the most viable option in right field while Cruz was out.

  • What about Mike Olt? Don't forget about him. He's headed to Triple-A, and he could ramp up in the outfield as well, possibly giving the club another option out there.

  • Tell Kinsler to try out the outfield during his rehab games and see how he picks it up. It seems unlikely the Rangers would do this with Kinsler midseason, but it's an option. He's an athlete, and you never know how quickly he might pick it up. If he does, he could play right field (or left), and Profar could slide in at second.

    Now, if Cruz appeals any suspension, it could be September before he sits out. By then, rosters expand and the options increase. But you can bet the Rangers are working on contingency plans.
  • How can Jurickson Profar go back to minors?

    June, 3, 2013
    6/03/13
    9:30
    AM CT

    Jurickson Profar's name has been a hot topic since the youngster came up to take the place of Ian Kinsler and has played well. He had a huge solo home run in the eighth inning Sunday, giving the Rangers the lead in a tie game. He's been a huge spark for this club. Isn't it tough to imagine he's got to go back to the minors when Kinsler comes back? He's convinced me that he should stay, even in a utility role.

    PODCAST
    Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss Jurickson Profar and how he should be handled when Ian Kinsler returns to the Rangers' lineup, Yu Darvish's pitch count and his plans with Pudge Rodriguez tonight.

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    We talked on Friday's Fitzsimmons and Durrett Show (quick plug: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM) about whether Profar's value was actually increasing to the point where he was becoming untradeable. Honestly, I'm not sure anyone deserves that label. But it would have to be a special deal for me to include him in a trade, and the two names that might have made the most sense -- David Price and Giancarlo Stanton -- have dealt with injuries that may make it more likely they won't be available until the offseason. But stay tuned. At this point, I don't think Profar is going anywhere. And that's the right call.

    The more immediate question is what the Rangers will do with Profar once Kinsler returns from the disabled list. Profar isn't making the decision easy right now, is he? He certainly looks like a guy ready to stay in the big leagues for good. Is there any way he could end up getting an extended stay in Arlington?

    [+] EnlargeJurickson Profar
    Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT/Getty ImagesJurickson Profar's solo home run in the eighth put the Rangers ahead.
    Before the season, I was in favor of the Rangers sending Profar down so he could get every day at-bats. After all, he hadn't even played in Triple-A until this year. But after a slow start, he figured out Triple-A pitching and has come up and been a terrific addition for this Rangers team. How can this club send him back to the minors after what he's done?

    The biggest argument for shipping Profar back is playing time. If he stays as a utility infielder -- and it's not as if Leury Garcia hasn't done well in that role, by the way -- how often does he play? It certainly couldn't be every day. He plays the middle infield positions and not the outfield, so manager Ron Washington would be limited in how he could use him. But he could use the opportunity to sit Elvis Andrus and Kinsler to get them breaks and play Profar. He could put Lance Berkman at first base at times, slide others over for a half-day off their feet as the DH and insert Profar. It would mean Washington sitting Adrian Beltre here and there, something he understandably would be reluctant to do.

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    But let's say Profar plays four out of every 10 games or so. After what we've seen the last few weeks and even the past month in Triple-A, is that the worst thing for his development? He talked after Sunday's game about how much he's learning by simply being around big leaguers like Beltre and Andrus. That won't stop just because he isn't playing as much. Having Profar's youth and energy isn't a bad thing for the Rangers' vets, either. And for years we've talked about Washington not having all the pieces he would want or need on his bench. Having Profar there would be a boost. Plus, it would give Washington a great reason to rest more of his regulars, making sure they're fresh for the stretch run.

    I say leave him here and do everything you can to get him at-bats as often as possible without altering the regular lineup. But there are other options. Let's take a look at a few (some more realistic than others):

    PODCAST
    Steve Busby joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Yu Darvish's ability to pitch well even when he doesn't have his best stuff, why he thinks the pitch count talk is overblown and how he would handle Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler returns from the DL.

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  • Send him back to Triple-A, but tell him to play the outfield. The Rangers know Profar can play the middle infield positions. The rest of the league knows he's one of the top middle-infield prospects in the country. What no one is sure of is whether he can play the outfield. Why not find out now? Play him out there and have him learn on the job. How quickly could he pick it up? I don't know. But if he does, he could return and become a more versatile piece that could get more playing time in the big leagues, justifying a way to keep him here. Here's the other thing: What if Nelson Cruz gets suspended? It would be nice if Profar was in position to play out there. The other issue there is that you've already got a bunch of outfielders that Washington is trying to get out on the field.

  • Tell Kinsler to start adjusting to the outfield now. This is an extreme long shot, but I'll throw it out there. The Rangers are in contention and asking the second baseman to play a new position in the middle of the season isn't something contending teams do. But he has two more weeks at least until he gets back. What if he played outfield in some rehab games? I'd be curious to see how he'd do out there. He's athletic and I think he could do it, but that's probably something to be considered in the offseason. Kinsler expressed a reluctance to play the outfield before the season started and the club went along with it. But if they want him to play outfield at some point, I bet he does it and doesn't complain much. After all, he's seeing what Profar can do too.

  • Make a trade. I've heard from many of you who think the Rangers should trade Kinsler. I'm not in that camp. While you consider anything and everything as a front office, I don't see why this trio (Profar, Kinsler and Andrus) can't play together for a long time, starting next season, for sure. Kinsler has played well this season, and if you took his importance for granted, check out how average this offense has become with him out. He's got a good contract from a team perspective too. I'm keeping him.

    And no, I don't think the Rangers should trade Profar to take care of this logjam. Again, it would have to be a special deal and I'm not sure I see that deal out there on July 31. This guy is special. He could be in the infield with Texas for the next decade or more. It's a challenge to find a way to get all three in this lineup. But instead of simply waiting until 2014 to do it, Profar is forcing the Rangers to try to find a way to do it now.

    It's tough to imagine Profar back in the minors right now, isn't it? Why not leave him in the big leagues, even in a utility role, and have him continue to learn from those around him and provide a spark to this lineup? The Rangers still have a little bit of time to decide. But Profar is making a strong case to stay.
  • Jurickson Profar making most of playing time

    May, 30, 2013
    5/30/13
    5:12
    PM CT
    PODCAST
    Galloway & Company discuss the idea of the Rangers trading Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee and also compare Profar to Ian Kinsler.

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    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jurickson Profar will be back in the starting lineup Friday against the Kansas City Royals. And probably the next day, too.

    Profar extended his hitting streak to six games in Thursday's 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, rapping out a season-high three hits. The 20-year-old phenom is batting .370 in 27 at-bats since being called up 12 days ago.

    He had five assists, started a double play and stayed with a ground ball that he bobbled. He also almost threw out a runner from his back in the final inning.

    If it looks like baseball's top prospect is getting more comfortable every day, it's because he is.

    PODCAST
    ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss former Ranger Chris Davis' hot streak, Ian Kinsler's injury, Jurickson Profar's performance and some trade possibilities for the Rangers.

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    "Sure, I'm getting more comfortable," Profar said after going 3-for-4 on Thursday with a run scored. "I'm trying to be myself. We have a good team here, so I'm confident."

    When Profar was called up, he split his first four games with Leury Garcia. Profar has started five of the Rangers' last six games. There is no platoon with Garcia, and Rangers manager Ron Washington said earlier this week that Profar would play most of the games while Ian Kinsler is on the 15-day disabled list, likely for three or four more weeks.

    Washington was emphatic when asked if Profar would keeping playing as he keeps hitting.

    "He's in the lineup tomorrow," Washington said. "Profar's going to play, and Leury is going to play also."

    Buzz: Profar, Garcia will split time

    May, 20, 2013
    5/20/13
    6:07
    PM CT


    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said 20-year-old Jurickson Profar and utility man Leury Garcia will split time at second base while subbing for the injured Ian Kinsler.

    PODCAST
    ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss whether the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and whether he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.

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    Profar was in the starting lineup for Monday's game against Oakland, his first game since being called up Sunday.

    Washington touched again on wanting Profar to come in and not put pressure on himself to live up to being baseball's top prospect.

    "I just want him to play baseball," Washington said. "He can be in the moment. I don't think he lets the hype get to him."

    The fans will want to see Profar every day, but Washington said he wants to get Garcia starts to keep him fresh as the club's utility man.

    "Leury's going to get some time there," Washington said. "So when you see Profar sitting, don't be surprised."

    Bullpen restructuring: The Rangers restructured their bullpen before Monday's game, keeping right-hander Cory Burns and designating long reliever Derek Lowe for assignment.

    The Rangers needed another right-hander to turn to in the later innings, and Burns had impressed in two outings, retiring all five batters he faced. Lowe had struggled in his past four games, allowing 11 runs in 5 1/3 innings. He was 1-0 overall with an 8.03 ERA.

    Left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman, who has primarily started in the minor leagues, will slide into Lowe's spot as the long man out of the bullpen.

    Washington said it wasn't easy to tell Lowe he was out, but there were no other choices. The Rangers weren't ready to send out lefty Joseph Ortiz, who has handled left-handed hitters. And they want to see more of righty Jason Frasor.

    "It came down to numbers," Washington said. "This game doesn't work for you sometimes."

    Burns stayed because he has an out pitch -- his changeup.

    "We need right-handed help down there," Washington said. "[Burns] has out pitches right now."

    Lindblom, young pitchers will miss Lowe: Monday starter Josh Lindblom, who is transitioning from being a reliever to being a starter, said he has had several conversations with Lowe, who also made the switch in Boston after the 2001 season. Lowe won 167 of his games after the move to being a starter.

    That was one of the big values of having Lowe around, Washington said, for the young pitchers. The Rangers have two rookies and Lindblom currently in the starting rotation, plus another rookie, Ortiz, in the bullpen.

    "It hurts because he had a presence," Washington said. "He brings value. It's something you can't buy. We had to make decisions. Not all are cut and dry."

    Pierzynski still the No. 1 guy: Washington said he won't adjust the way he uses his catchers, with A.J. Pierzynski getting most of the starts and Geovany Soto playing one or two times a week.

    Soto has been getting hot with regular playing time. He has five hits in 12 at-bats on the homestand with two home runs and four RBIs.

    Pierzynski will start Tuesday when he's eligible to come off the disabled list.

    Hickory pitchers dominate: The Low-A Hickory Crawdads allowed only one hit in 14 innings in a doubleheader sweep Sunday.

    Right-hander C.J. Edwards went the distance in the first game, a 4-1 victory, allowing the lone hit. Four pitchers -- Luis Parra, Keone Kela, Ryan Bores and Alex Claudio -- combined for a no-hitter in the second game. Third baseman Joey Gallo hit his 12th home run in the first game.

    Center fielder Lewis Brinson won the first game with a three-run homer in the seventh inning, his 10th of the year.

    Quarterly report: Rangers measure up well

    May, 20, 2013
    5/20/13
    9:00
    AM CT


    Yes, it's only May. But now that the season is a quarter of the way finished, it's a great time to figure out how teams measure up to one another. The Texas Rangers have the best record in the majors at 29-15. And they just completed taking three of four from the Detroit Tigers, the team that I believe is their stiffest competition in the American League. So what did we learn -- positives and negatives -- about this Rangers team? Here are a few:

    PODCAST
    Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.

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  • The "no-quit" attitude of this team the past few years extends to this year's bunch. It would have been easy to eventually succumb to the power of Miguel Cabrera last night. He kept mashing homers and when he didn't, Prince Fielder hurt this team. Yet they kept battling. Cabrera was 4-for-4 with three homers and his team lost. That says a lot about the character of this Rangers team.

  • Lost in the fact that Texas fell to the Tigers on Friday was that Nick Tepesch hung in despite some ups and downs and that the bullpen held the best lineup in baseball to nothing in the final four innings. The Ranger bats couldn't do anything in the one-run loss. But it was the only loss in the series.

  • David Murphy seems to save his best at-bats for the biggest moments. His three-run homer on Sunday night came with two outs, his club down by two runs and after he fell behind in the count 0-2. He worked it back to 3-2 and then hit the home run to right to put the Rangers on top for good.

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  • Depth has saved the Rangers so far. You would think a team that has lost an 18-game winner, just put its No. 4 starter on the disabled list (Alexi Ogando), has been without its starting catcher the past few weeks and now must deal with its leadoff hitter on the DL would suffer greatly. And maybe they will. But so far, they haven't. Young players have stepped up. And those that have dealt with slumps have battled back, like Geovany Soto. The catcher has had some key hits in the past few series after not getting many opportunities in playing behind A.J. Pierzynski.

  • Right now, the biggest priority for this team at the trade deadline is not starting pitching. It's some more relief help. Manager Ron Washington's decision to pitch Yu Darvish an extra inning on Thursday, not to mention bringing in Michael Kirkman into the sixth with the bases loaded in a two-run game show he doesn't have a whole ton of options in the pen he trusts. I think he wanted to save Robbie Ross for the later innings (we can debate that decision) and felt like he had no other choices. Right now, outside of Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan, who do you trust? I know for some of you Nathan doesn't even go in that category, but I think that's an overreaction to his velocity decline. He's still getting the job done.

  • Jurickson Profar is here and the timing, for him, might be good. After a slow start, Profar has been quietly picking up his game. His average may be a bit down, but it's up from where it was even a few weeks ago. He's shown some power, speed and defensive work. Now he'll get a chance to show that in the big leagues.

  • How about Leury Garcia? He's had to stay ready despite limited playing time, but seems to take advantage of any and every opportunity.

  • That was a fun series between two good teams. The Rangers, as they seem to do, took advantage of a Tigers weakness when they needed it most last night. Detroit has a decent rotation and a great lineup. But the bullpen is a big question mark and the Rangers managed to grab the lead late and hold it. By the way, Texas has still not lost a game in which it's led by two runs or more from the seventh inning on.
  • Lineups: Kinsler to DL, Garcia gets start

    May, 19, 2013
    5/19/13
    6:00
    PM CT
    Here is the Texas Rangers' lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Detroit Tigers:

    Second baseman Ian Kinsler has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain, and the Rangers have called up top prospect Jurickson Profar. Profar is not in the starting lineup tonight but Texas manager Ron Washington said he will split time with utility man Leury Garcia, who gets the start at second for the third straight game.

    RANGERS
    SS Elvis Andrus
    LF David Murphy
    DH Lance Berkman
    3B Adrian Beltre
    RF Nelson Cruz
    1B Mitch Moreland
    C Geovany Soto
    CF Craig Gentry
    2B Leury Garcia
    P Derek Holland

    Lineups: Leury Garcia replaces Ian Kinsler

    May, 17, 2013
    5/17/13
    6:14
    PM CT
    Ian Kinsler has been scratched from Friday's lineup because of bruised ribs. Leury Garcia will play second base in his place and bat second against the Tigers. Elvis Andrus is leading off for the Rangers. The lineups:

    RANGERS
    SS Elvis Andrus
    2B Leury Garcia
    DH Lance Berkman
    3B Adrian Beltre
    RF Nelson Cruz
    1B Mitch Moreland
    C Geovany Soto
    LF David Murphy
    CF Leonys Martin

    TIGERS
    LF Andy Dirks
    RF Torii Hunter
    3B Miguel Cabrera
    1B Prince Fielder
    DH Victor Martinez
    C Alex Avila
    SS Jhonny Peralta
    CF Don Kelly
    2B Ramon Santiago

    Wash's Wisdom: Days off all about feel

    May, 14, 2013
    5/14/13
    1:00
    PM CT
    video

    Ron Washington goes off of feel when it comes to giving his players a day off.

    So far this season the Rangers' manager has been more liberal giving his regulars games off. A tough travel schedule has had a lot to do with it. The Rangers are currently on a four-city, 10-day road trip.

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    Twice he's given two regulars that hit regularly in the top six spots of the lineup the day off together. It's been Elvis Andrus and Lance Berkman one time. And on Sunday it was Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, who led the Rangers in RBIs entering the game against Houston, which the Rangers won 12-7.

    "It's a feel," Washington said Tuesday on his weekly radio appearance on Fitzsimmons & Durrett on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "My coaches, we look at the amount of games we've played, the travel that we've had. This year I'm trying to do the right thing."

    Washington is more comfortable giving regulars time off because his bench is better and more productive. He's been able to keep players in a groove with 28 pinch-hit appearances.

    In Sunday's game, Washington played Leury Garcia at second base and Leonys Martin in left field and they combined for five hits and six runs scored. Martin had a home run.

    PODCAST
    Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Oakland for his weekly visit.

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    Washington, who was criticized for not resting his regulars more as the team was fading at the end of the last season, has said repeatedly in the last few weeks that this year's club is more versatile.

    "We've put some pieces on this team this year," Washington said. "Now when we feel like we need to give these guys days, I'm going to go on and do it."

    More of Wash's Widsom:

    Skidding in Oakland: Washington, a coach for 11 years in Oakland before becoming the Rangers' manager, was intense when talking about ending a bad streak at O.com Coliseum, where the Rangers have lost eight of their last 10 games and are on a five-game losing streak.

    "I want to end that streak badly," Washington said on Fitzsimmons & Durrett. "I know we were losing here, but I didn't know it was that bad.

    "It's not a situation where they are so dominant. It's a situation where we're the reason. We're not doing what we're capable of doing in this place, so we have to turn that around. We're in control of that. I'm not going to put it to where Oakland is in control of that."

    Grimm's struggles: Washington said that struggling rookie starter Justin Grimm will be fine. He needs to work on keeping his fastball and curveball down in the strike zone.

    "He has to work harder," Washington said on Fitzsimmons & Durrett. "And once he gets two outs, putting that third one away. That's where he gets in trouble, getting that third out."

    Extra Bases: Rangers return to Oakland

    May, 13, 2013
    5/13/13
    8:05
    AM CT
    HOUSTON -- The Rangers return to the place where their season came crashing down last year -- Oakland's O.com Coliseum.

    PODCAST
    Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss his role with the Rangers. Ryan says that he has not been in contact with the Astros about a possible opening and he doesn't think that he would be interested anyway.

    Listen Listen
    They bring with them baseball's best record at 24-13, but also the memory of the final three games of the regular season in 2012. Needing one win to clinch their third consecutive American League West title, the Rangers were swept by the A's to complete a late-season collapse after leading the division by five games with nine to go.

    The Rangers downplayed their return.

    "It's just a series in Oakland," third baseman Adrian Beltre said.

    Things will be different. Josh Hamilton won't be with the team to discuss the last memory of the series, his dropped fly ball in the final game. And the A's aren't hot like they were at the end of last season. Oakland has a losing record at 19-20 and has lost six of its last seven games.

    The Rangers have a six-game lead on second-place Oakland in the AL West standings. The A's have key injuries to center fielder Coco Crisp and ace Brett Anderson.

    "I just hope we go up there for the next three days and they don't find themselves," manager Ron Washington said. "They can find themselves after we leave there. The last few years, they've played us tougher than any team."

    Washington, who coached in Oakland for 11 years before being hired as Rangers manager, also reiterated before Sunday's game in Houston that he doesn't have any lingering bitterness about last year's final series in Oakland.

    The Rangers were in each game, losing 4-3 and 3-1 in the first two games. They had an early lead in the final game before the A's exploded with a big inning, with Hamilton's casual trip to that fly ball in center field tying the score at 5. Oakland won 12-5.

    Washington is more upset knowing that the Rangers didn't close out the season, ultimately losing in the first AL wild-card game at home to Baltimore.

    "That series itself didn't bother me, because we had a chance to win each game," Washington said. "The thing that bothered me was we didn't take care of business before we got there. It was the games we gave away in a year in which one game made a difference."

    Other notes:

    1. Leury, Leury: Leury Garcia scored four runs in Sunday's 12-7 victory, prompting Beltre to joke that second baseman Ian Kinsler hadn't scored that many runs in a game this season. Garcia became the first Rangers rookie to score four runs in a game since Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Aug. 22, 2007.

    2. Murphy gets going: Left-fielder David Murphy, who will start every game in Oakland with three right-handers slated to pitch for Oakland, rides in with a seven-hitting streak. Murphy is batting .350 with two home runs and four RBIs during the streak.

    3. Best record: The Rangers start Monday with baseball's best record at 24-13, a half-game ahead of St. Louis and the injury-depleted New York Yankees, who have put together a 23-13 start without Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.

    Umpires get the review right for Beltre

    May, 12, 2013
    5/12/13
    6:10
    PM CT
    HOUSTON -- This time, the umpires got it right.

    That made Adrian Beltre's three-run home run in Sunday's 12-7 victory over Houston at Minute Maid Park the most memorable moment in a win that clinched a three-game sweep of the struggling Houston Astros. The Rangers start a new week with the best record in baseball at 24-13.

    Beltre's fifth-inning homer gave the Rangers a 12-1 lead. Big deal, right?

    Well, it was because the umpiring crew had to go to instant replay to get the call right. And that's noteworthy because a video review didn't work Wednesday when Oakland's Adam Rosales hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning that was incorrectly ruled a double on the field and was curiously upheld by umpire Angel Hernandez after he saw it on TV.

    Beltre, batting with two runners on and one out in the fifth, belted a long drive to left-center field that hit off the wall in front of Crawford Street. The ball hit a pillar between the archways and was ruled in play by third-base umpire Jeff Kellogg.

    With the naked eye, and in Kellogg's defense, it was difficult to see. Rangers manager Ron Washington made the right decision in asking for a review, saying that the ball hit above the yellow line in left-center field. The umpires reviewed the play -- Kellogg is the crew chief -- and awarded Beltre his eighth home run.

    "I thought the ball was high enough," Washington said. "I wasn't sure because, for some reason, you lost it with the background. But it was worth a try. And when I came back, [Nelson]Cruz came down [from the clubhouse] and said it was a home run."

    Beltre said he had no idea what was going on when he stopped at second base, but he was glad to see his manager come racing out of the dugout to argue.

    "I knew I hit it good and where I hit it, it had a chance to go, but I didn't see it where it hit the wall," Beltre said. "I saw the ball ricochet and whatever it did and I stopped at second. Ron got out there and argued and got me a home run. It's not nice to hit a home run and get a double."

    It turned out the Rangers didn't need the extra runs. That's because the Rangers, playing without regulars Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, already had a 9-1 lead on the Astros when Beltre hit his blast.

    Every Ranger that started had a hit, and there were heroes aplenty. David Murphy had a two-run home run for a 5-0 lead in the top of the third. Leonys Martin, starting for Cruz in right field, had his second home run. Lance Berkman had a ringing double in the first inning that got the bats going and the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

    But it was utility man Leury Garcia who stole the show. He scored four runs, had three singles, stole a base and made a splendid defensive play to end the game.

    "It's nice to know when Ian gets a day off that Leury can contribute and score four runs," Beltre said. "I don't think Ian has scored four runs in a game this season."

    The Rangers have moved closer to being a complete team because of their bench. There were two pinch-hit extra-base hits in Saturday's 8-7 victory. Garcia, Murphy and Martin, who didn't start Saturday, combined for six of the Rangers' 17 hits on Sunday.

    "The type of team we have the guys are getting more of a chance to get to play than they have in the past," Washington said. "They're more prepared and more ready to go up there and ready when the opportunity is there to do the job.

    "Leury Garcia was the one guy today I didn't expect to make a whole lot of contact because he's the one guy in the lineup who hasn't been playing a lot. He had a good day. That's what you like to have in extra guys."

    You also like to have your cleanup hitter producing in a big way. Beltre had four hits and four more RBIs on Sunday. He has 16 hits and 12 RBIS in his past 43 at-bats after going through a stretch during which he couldn't get hits with runners in scoring position.

    The video review and result made the numbers look even better.

    "His average is climbing, and the RBIs are starting to pile up," Washington said. "He's my RBI guy."

    Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Astros 7

    May, 12, 2013
    5/12/13
    4:22
    PM CT


    HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers finished off a three-game sweep of the struggling Houston Astros with an authoritative 12-7 victory on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

    Offensive onslaught: Manager Ron Washington gave his top two RBI men entering Sunday, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, the day off, and the Rangers still pounded out 17 hits and walloped three home runs. Every Ranger in the starting lineup had a base hit. They put up crooked numbers in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The bottom third of the order was 4-for-10 with two home runs and three RBIs.

    Murphy getting hot: Left fielder David Murphy saw the training staff an hour before the game to make sure he was good to go after crashing into the left-field fence Saturday night. Murphy was clearly hobbled, but he swung his way through Sunday, going 1-for-4 with a two-run home run. Murphy has a seven-game hitting streak and has homers in two of the past three games. He raised his batting average to .202. He also had a fine running catch on a sinking line drove in the first inning.

    Umpires get review correct: Adrian Beltre crushed an apparent three-run home run to left-center field in the fifth inning for a 12-1 lead. But it was first ruled a double by the umpiring crew. Washington asked for a review, and, unlike earlier this week when Angel Hernandez and his crew robbed Oakland of a clear game-tying homer, Sunday's umpires got the call right. Crew chief Jeff Kellogg returned from a video review and awarded Beltre his eighth home run of the season.

    Tepesch is solid: Starter Nick Tepesch came back from two rocky outings to allow just a run in six innings. He had a career-high eight strikeouts and only one walk. Tepesch won for the first time since April 25 against Minnesota.

    Martin homers: Leonys Martin made it three straight games with a home run for the Rangers' starting right fielder. Martin started Sunday for Cruz, who had a planned day off after hitting game-tying home runs in Friday and Saturday's wins over the Astros. Martin went 2-for-4 and belted his second home run of the season to lead off the Rangers' four-run fifth inning.

    Garcia with a big day: Utility man Leury Garcia started for Ian Kinsler at second base and was 3-for-5 with three consecutive singles and four runs scored. Garcia had an RBI single in the fourth inning and also had a stolen base in the third.

    Berkman's streak alive for next time: Lance Berkman extended his Minute Maid hitting streak to 18 games with an RBI double in the first inning. He also had an RBI with a groundout with no outs and Garcia at third in the third inning for a 2-0 lead.

    Kirkman rebounds: Left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman had a perfect seventh inning. It was a nice bounce back for Kirkman, who allowed two hits to the only two Astros he faced in Saturday night's game, forcing closer Joe Nathan into the game with a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers survived for an 8-7 victory.

    Up Next: The Rangers head to the West Coast for a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. The last time the Rangers were in Oakland, they got swept and lost the American League West on the last day of the 2012 regular season. Right-hander Justin Grimm (2-2, 3.45 ERA) will pitch Monday night's series opener against Oakland right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-3, 3.83 ERA) at 9:07 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. The rest of the pitching matchups are: LHP Derek Holland (3-2, 2.54 ERA) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (3-2, 4.57 ERA) for Tuesday night and RHP Alexi Ogando (3-2, 3.09 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 7.06 ERA) for Wednesday afternoon.

    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