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Chirinos, Gimenez Locking Up Playing Time

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's not really realistic to believe that the Texas Rangers are going to have Geovany Soto riding the pine, or worse yet, playing in the minors upon his return from knee surgery next month.

    The guy that was slated to be the Rangers' Opening Day starter at catcher hasn't played a big-league game yet this year after the club brought him back and let veteran A.J. Pierzynski go following the 2013 season, seemingly handing the reins over to Soto.

    He'll still get his starts, but the Rangers will have to find a way to get his backups, Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez in the lineup as well, and that's a good problem to have.

    As MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan pointed out, the two have combined to play in just 231 major league games while playing in 1,826 games in the minors. Yet, they're both excelling while sharing time behind the plate — a role Chirinos has basically locked up, possibly even when Soto does return.

    Chirinos, a converted infielder who didn't catch until he was 29 years old, is leading the league in caught-stealing percentage, throwing out 42.9 percent of would-be base-stealers — a rate reminiscent of the catching greats such as Pudge Rodriguez.

    "I'll tell you what, they are both playing well and both doing a good job with the pitching staff," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Both are throwing well. Robbie's throwing has been the defensive highlight of the team. But both have been making offensive contributions as well. They are not trying to do too much, and both have had big hits. They have steadied us at a position we were obviously having some inconsistencies."

    The fact that both have experience elsewhere in the field — both at first base and Gimenez in the outfield — could lead to the three sharing time and possibly even all being on the field together at times, but the Rangers will cross that road when they get there, as Soto is set to return after the all-star break.

    The Rangers are a mess at first base, resorting to career minor-leaguer Brad Snyder, and have had some big-time growing pains in the outfield with Michael Choice. There could be possibilities there, but Gimenez said he isn't concerning himself with the future at the moment.

    "That's out of my control," Gimenez told MLB.com. "I will do whatever they ask me to do. Hopefully, I can do enough to stick around for awhile. This has been a great club, it would be fun to stick it out."