Jeff Baker, Feb. 22 against the Royals.
The Texas Rangers have long been in need of a power bat from the right-hand side, and on Friday they'll get the return of someone who can provide just that, at least against left-handed pitching.
Jeff Baker, who was acquired in the off-season as a lefty-crushing utility man, has been on the disabled list since June 13 after being on the receiving end of an ill-advised high-five in the dugout dished out by an unnamed teammate that bent his thumb back too far and sprained his hand.
Baker went 2-for-11 with both hits of the singles variety in a brief rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco, but as he told The Dallas Morning News, it wasn't the results Baker was concerned with as much as the comfort level of his right thumb.
“I wasn’t really concerned with results,” Baker said. “I just wanted to test [the thumb] out and see some pitches. It went well.”
Baker had eight home runs in just 44 at-bats against left-handed pitching before hitting the DL, a pretty remarkable clip. In 82 at-bats this season, Baker is hitting .317 with nine homers and 16 RBIs and will give the Rangers some more pop if he can continue his HR:AB ratio.